Seven Foods That Trigger Migraines

I like food, if left unchecked; I might eat all the time!

Imagine my surprise when I learned that there were foods that might trigger my migraines.

Talk about a letdown!

To help you figure out if your favorite foods are triggering migraines, here is a list of possible foods that trigger migraines:

  1. Caffeine – such as tea, chocolate or coffee.  This one made me scratch my head because so many over the counter migraine medicines have caffeine in them.  How can it help them and trigger them?  The key here is if you have a caffeine sensitivity, if your body does not like caffeine it can cause a migraine.
  2. Tyramine – is a chemical that is produced when the protein in a food breaks down.  Foods that may have tyramine include:  ripe bananas, nuts, avocados, soy sauce, chocolate, raisins and red wine.  Because this occurs as the food ages, you will often hear that a migraineur should not eat left overs.
  3. Aspartame – these artificial sweeteners can also trigger a migraine.  Be cautious of low calorie foods and these will typically have real sugar substituted with aspartame to reduce the calories.
  4. Monosodium Glucmate (MSG) – this food additive can be found in Chinese food, seasonings, soups, and more.  Look for it on the label and ask at restaurants if they use it!
  5. Nitrates – salami, hot dogs, spinach, radishes, cabbage, and lettuce can all have nitrates.
  6. Sulfites – these are naturally occurring in many foods and drinks.  Especially items that might go through a fermenting process.  These might include: wine, black tea, and peanuts.  Additionally sulfites are added to many foods because it is a preservative.  These include wine (yes they add more), dairy products, gelatin and popcorn.
  7. Simple Sugars – while I saw many arguments why sugar can cause a headache, the main one is because of the drops in blood sugar.  So watch how much sugar you are consuming and see if there is a connection.

Unfortunately there are many more than I have listed.  The key to figuring out which ones are your triggers is to keep a migraine diary, so you can narrow down which foods are your specific triggers.