At Wellness Plus Clinic, one of the health disorders we treat is migraine headaches. Although we have medical solutions to offer, we also spread as much information as possible on various techniques migraines can use to ward off devastating migraine pain. One of the best ways to reduce the number of migraines you have, and amount of pain delivered by the attacks, is to avoid food triggers with a migraine diet.
Migraine and food: it’s complicated
It’s not easy to understand the connection between migraine and food. The science linking the two is not very strong, so it’s difficult to pinpoint objective solutions (1). Also, there’s not really a set list of foods that can be avoided to get rid of migraine attacks. Certain foods might be triggers for some migraineurs but not others.
Foods are also difficult to isolate. It can often be unclear whether something a person ate was the trigger or stress was the catalyst instead. Even if you feel you have identified a personal food trigger, it may not always give you a migraine. Finally, it’s possible for triggers to occur hours or even days prior to onset of migraine headaches. Because that’s the case, it can be difficult to rewind and locate the exact trigger.
Although there’s no across-the-board list of foods to avoid, there are several common foods and beverages many of those with migraines consider off-limits. A reasonable migraine diet will reduce consumption of the following four categories:
1. Alcohol – Many of those who suffer from migraine point to drinking, especially that of red wine, as a trigger.
2. Caffeine – Unlike alcohol, caffeine is a confusing substance related to migraines. It can increase accessibility to the active ingredients in some medications used to treat migraines. However, an excessive quantity can trigger an attack.
3. Chocolate – Caffeine can go either way, but chocolate is even more problematic as a link between migraine and food. Especially for women, chocolate is often craved during specific periods of the menstrual cycle; hormonal imbalance may actually be triggering the migraines, not the chocolate.
4. Tyramine/Tannins – These two naturally occurring compounds tend to be found in many of the foods that serve as triggers for migraines.
Tyramine foods include:
- aged cheeses
- processed meats
- excessively ripe bananas
Tannin foods include:
- apple juice
- red wine
Also be sure to generally avoid food additives. Switching from processed foods to “whole” foods is a healthy choice that also strengthens a migraine diet.
At Wellness Plus Clinic, we know that every migraine patient is unique. That’s why our treatment methods explore such a diverse array of techniques. We believe firmly in preventative and natural methods, such as changes in lifestyle, diet, and supplements. Medical modalities including physical therapy and medications can also be effective, as can acupuncture. We offer free consultations at 404-522-5552.
This Article was contributed to by our north Atlanta affiliate Medprime Clinic.