More research is needed to determine how foods trigger migraines. But some research has shown that the contents of food can stimulate the release of immunoglobulins in the blood, which starts the domino movement of migraine headaches.
Other reasons include some foods that stimulate the imbalance of some hormones in the brain such as serotonin and epinephrine, or food can only affect the brain.
If a food triggers a migraine, the migraine will show itself 12 to 24 hours after eating it.
Although certain foods can be triggers for each person, the most common triggers for migraines are: alcohol, caffeine, food additives, citrus fruits, and processed meats.
In addition to the harm it has on the body, alcohol also triggers migraines in most people. But researchers are still researching why and how alcohol can trigger migraines. The reason can be due to the presence of histamine and tyramine in alcohol, or it may be because alcohol dehydrates the body.
Food additives: monosodium glutamate, artificial colors and flavors
Monosodium glutamate is used as a flavor enhancer in restaurants and some processed foods. Monosodium glutamate can affect up to 15% of people with migraines.
Monosodium glutamate is mostly used in Chinese restaurants, but it is also hidden in most processed foods.
You can look for the name monosodium glutamate on food packaging, of course, this substance can also be found with names such as maltodextrin or hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.
Artificial colors, sweeteners, and artificial flavors can also trigger headaches in people with migraines. Unfortunately, artificial additives go by many names, so the only way to avoid them is to look for whole foods. Stay away from processed foods as much as you can.
The relationship between caffeine and migraine headaches is somewhat complicated. When you have a headache, caffeine can reduce some of the pain. In fact, some pain relievers have some caffeine in them. However, consuming too much caffeine itself can cause headaches.
There are different types of headaches due to caffeine, some people get headaches because they haven’t had as much tea or coffee as they need.
If you feel a headache after reducing your caffeine intake, it is recommended to gradually reduce the daily caffeine level to minimize the risk of headaches.
If you drastically reduce your caffeine intake, you may experience headaches or migraines for a few days.
Most experts recommend stopping caffeine if you identify it as a migraine trigger.
Remember, caffeine is found in tea and coffee, but it can also be in other foods, drinks, medications, or supplements.
Citrus or chocolate
What do citrus fruits and chocolate have in common? Although both foods can be beneficial for health, for some people it is considered as a trigger for migraine headaches.
Citrus fruits and chocolate are both foods that are a source of a substance called teramine. Thiamine is known as one of the substances that may trigger migraines.
Some cheeses and processed meats
Some cheeses, such as blue cheese and cheddar, are sources of tyramine. Processed meats contain nitrites and sulfides, which can be irritating to some people.
Although there is no scientific proof that these foods are irritants, some patients have experienced migraine headaches after eating foods with this content.
Keep a food diary
If you have migraines and don’t know why, talk to a professional for advice. If you think your migraines are related to what you eat, keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat and drink, and note when a migraine strikes. According to the notebook, look for a pattern for migraine attacks, remember that the foods you ate the other day can also trigger a migraine attack.
Skipping meals or dehydration
Skipping promises or fasting can be irritating for some people. To prevent this, make sure you eat your meals regularly. Dehydration can also be a problem for some, so drinking enough water throughout the day can help prevent this.
Unfortunately, many questions related to migraine remain unanswered for people. The main reason why we get migraines is different. There are many triggers for migraines, including certain foods.
In general, foods containing tyramine, such as citrus fruits, chocolate, and some cheeses, can have the potential to be irritants. Alcohol and caffeine are other things that trigger migraines in some people.
Foods with added flavors such as monosodium glutamate can affect more than 15 percent of migraine sufferers. Other artificial colors and sweeteners are also known as stimulants.
Since trigger foods can be different for each person, keeping a food diary is the best thing to do. If you can’t find the cause of your migraine, be sure to consult a specialist doctor.