Which Foods Cause Migraines and How to Avoid Them

Which Foods Cause Migraines and How to Avoid ThemWhich foods cause migraines – and how do I avoid them?

As well as a debilitating headache, often centered in one point of the head, migraines can cause temporary loss of vision, distortions to senses like taste and smell, ringing in the ears, light sensitivity and floaters in the vision.

Medication can reduce, or even stop, symptoms – but many who suffer regularly from headaches don’t realize that they can reduce the regularity and severity of a migraine by changing their diet.

What foods cause migraines?

1: tyramine or phenylethylamine.

Found in chocolate, aged cheeses, vinegar and citrus fruits. Particularly prevalent in foods stored poorly or for extended lengths.

How to avoid:

Opt for fresh options over anything that has been stored for any period of time and eat in small quantities.

2: Alcohol.

Alcohol is a diuretic and causing dehydration. Even a small amount of alcohol can be enough to cause migraines, even if you are not drunk.

How to avoid:

Alternate every alcoholic drink with a soft drink; water is best.

3: Nitrites.

Used as additives in meat products – nitrites are found in hot dogs, jerky, deli meats and sausages as well as cured foods and pickled or canned foods.

How to avoid:

Look for labels which state the foods are nitrite free – there are alternatives available if you shop carefully.

4: Tannins.

Found in most varieties of green and black, apples pears, and grapes –also found in apple juices, ciders and wines.

How to avoid:

Choose to drink herbal teas and water.

5: Sulfites

Found in many dried fruits, dried apricots, figs and prunes, and wines, as well as many processed foods.

How to avoid:

Choose fresh fruit over dried fruit, and prepare meals from fresh ingredients.

6: MSG

An additive used for flavoring, often found in Asian foods. Many other food additives have also been linked to migraines.

How to avoid:

Often menu’s state whether they use MSG– ask if you’re unsure, and choose meals without this additive or cook fresh meals at home.

7: Aspartame

An artificial sweetener found in many ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ foods and drinks – particularly diet soda.

How to avoid:

Either choose the full fat version of your soda – or, better, avoid soda drinks altogether. Opt for smaller quantities of full fat versions of the foods rather than the ‘diet’ version.

8: Caffeine

Found in coffee, tea, soda and a wide range of other beverages.

How to avoid:

Choose decaff or herbal teas in place of caffeinated versions, and drink water in place of your usual soda.

9: Pâté

Pâté – or other foods made with liver or other organs – can lead to migraines in some cases.

How to avoid:

Don’t eat any food that is made from organ meat or offal.

10: Dairy products

Soured cream, buttermilk and a range of other dairy products can lead to migraine.

How to avoid this trigger:

Look for dairy alternatives in your supermarket.

About the Author:Dr. Michael Tuchman