Did you know that certain foods can trigger a migraine? Here’s a list of what you should and shouldn’t eat during an attack.
If you suffer from frequent migraines, you know all too well how excruciating the pain is. Some people describe it as a feeling of one side of their brain being hammered constantly. Some people say they feel like they are being poked with a million needles. A migraine is defined as a headache of varying intensity, accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
According to Migrainetrust, migraines are the third most common disease in the world, after stress, where the prevalence of the condition is estimated to be 14.75%. Several factors such as loud noise, bright lights, hectic lifestyle. stress, heat, etc. are known to be triggers for people. But did you know that certain foods aside from conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety, can also be potential triggers? Here’s what you should and should not eat during an attack.
Food that triggers migraines
Migraine.com reports that 20% of people are prone to migraines, mainly due to the food they eat that triggers the pain. Between 7%- 44% of people blame certain food items as causes for the condition, over stress, and other mental health ailments.
Sometimes it’s not the food item itself but the additive or the color it contains that can trigger migraines and make your head pain, sometimes also causing nausea and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. Here are foods that you should avoid for preventing a migraine attack:
- Chocolate: There are 75% chances that your migraines are triggered by the chocolate that you’re consuming. It has several ingredients, one of them being phenylethylamine, that may change the blood flow in the brain, thus causing excruciating pain. Yes, it’s bad news for chocoholics, but no chocolate is better than having the feeling of a truck running over your brain, right?
- Cheese: Aged cheese especially can be a trigger, and this food item has a 45% chance of doing so.
- Citrus fruits: Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, grapefruits have a 30% chance of triggering migraines.
- Alcohol: Red wine, as well as white wine, beer, and some other kinds of alcohol can act as catalysts and have a 25 % chance of doing so. They can also cause extreme nausea.
- Meat: If you are a meat-eater, stick to eating white meat such as chicken or fish. Red meat such as ham, sausage, and bacon can cause the condition.
- Chinese food: This cuisine usually has ingredients such as Monosodium Glutamate ( Ajinomoto), soy sauce, etc. who effects can increase your migraine.
- Packaged food: Steer clear from frozen food, packaged snacks, etc. as these contain several harmful chemicals that can result in a painful headache, by affecting your blood flow to the brain.
- Artificial sweeteners: You may be substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, for a healthier lifestyle, but we warned of their effects on your brain.
- Frozen food: Food items such as ice-creams or yogurt should be had with caution.
- Caffeinated drinks: Coffee, coca-cola, red bull, etc. among many other caffeinated drinks should be avoided.
- Dairy products: Consume milk, yogurt, tofu, etc. in lesser amounts, as these can cause migraines as well as nausea. You can substitute these with almond or coconut milk and vegan food.
- Nuts: Walnuts, cashew nuts, etc. can trigger migraines.
Foods you should consume during an attack
While there are certain food items that you should avoid, there are some foods that can reduce your migraine. Here’s a list:
- Carrots and sweet potatoes: These vegetables contain beta-carotene and other nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing pain. Sweet potatoes contain a generous amount of Vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, phosphorous among others.
- Dark chocolate: While chocolate can be a trigger for migraines, dark chocolate is different as it contains rich sources of magnesium, mainly 70% cacao. However, it is advisable to still proceed with caution. If you experience nausea while having dark chocolate, set it aside immediately.
- Seafood: Having shrimp and salmon can be beneficial. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties. It also has Vitamin B and Riboflavin, which is known to reduce migraines. Shrimp, on the other hand, has an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which helps the body fight inflammation, thus helping migraines.
- Kale: This is a nutrient-rich food high in Omega 3, magnesium and fiber, that helps fight migraines effectively and reduce the pain and nausea drastically.
- Quinoa: This is a neutral food that has a balance of proteins and carbohydrates. It is a critical item that you should take during a headache as it proves to be highly effective.
- Figs: Figs are high on potassium and help the body fight inflammation. Migraines cause mild dehydration and nausea, but figs act as a hydrating agent as well.
On a side note, you should also consume lots of water during a headache as it helps with dehydration and helps the body calm down.
So now that you know what to eat and what not to eat during a migraine attack, are you all set? We hope so!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice but suggested techniques that you can try. If none of these seem to work, you may need an advanced form of treatment.
Here’s a long-lasting solution to get rid of your migraines
Neurofeedback: With this treatment, you can help your loved ones, overcome their migraine and headache troubles completely. To learn more, watch this video.
In addition to these tips, Brain & Co. offers med-free treatment that could help you overcome some of the challenges that come with depression/anxiety/sleep issues, stress, etc. Visit our website or give us a call to learn more.