If you suffer from migraines, you may recognise a pattern of how the food and drink you consume affects your body, how you feel and the likelihood of getting a migraine. However, different food items affect different people in different ways. For instance, consuming salty foods may trigger a migraine in one sufferer, but not in another. There is a pattern and here I am going to share with you the potential threats and give you some idea of a diet that may be more suitable.
Food and Drink to Avoid
I always like to save the best for last, so I will start off here with food that you need to avoid to lessen the risk of an attack.
1. Citrus Fruits, Bananas, Apples, Peaches, Tomatoes – Believe it or not, even certain kinds of fruit are more likely to have an adverse affect. These include citrus fruits, but also include bananas, apples, peaches and tomatoes. It is the contents of the skins that cause the issues. Bananas, for one, include an amino acid called tyramine which reduces serotonin levels in the brain.
2. Beverages That Contain Caffeine or Alcohol – You may have heard it mentioned many times before, but drinks that include caffeine or alcohol in the ingredients should be avoided and not just because they give you a headache. They are both depressants and they both increase your levels of anxiety. Alcohol also includes tyramine and coffee should only be consumed at least 8 hours before bed time – otherwise it can cause insomnia.
3. Soy Sauce – The problem with Soy Sauce is that it contains far too much salt. It is also wise to avoid Chinese food for the reason that a lot of it also contains Soy Sauce. Salt is not only a trigger for migraines and headaches in many people. It also builds up too much cholesterol in your arteries and can lead to diseases like Heart Disease and Strokes.
4. Ice Cream -Have you ever had a big chunk of ice cream in one go? From personal experience, this is almost always to blame for triggering headaches and migraines. It is not the cream or other ingredients, but the fact that it is ice, which is too cold for the body to be able to cope with. Therefore, it triggers a migraine or a headache.
5. Processed Meats: Hot Dogs, Bacon, Salami, Luncheon Meat, Pepperoni – These processed meats also include tyramine and some may include sodium nitrate, which some migraine sufferers experience as a trigger.
6. Pickled Food – You may love the taste of pickled onions, pickled beetroot, pickled eggs, or pickled olives, but these are particularly potent in their ability to trigger headaches and migraines. They contain MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG enhances the flavour of the food, but is also known to trigger migraines.
7. Diet Soda – Diet Soda contains aspartame (also known as Equal or NutraSweet). Many of you may be aware of aspartame as it can also induce cancer. It can also cause headaches and migraines, especially if consumed in large amounts and over a long period of time.
8. Chocolate – Sorry to disappoint you, but chocolate is also known to induce headaches and migraines. For starters, chocolate contains caffeine (now you know why you love it so much!) Just like coffee, chocolate can cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, headaches and migraines.
Safe Food For Migraine Sufferers
There is plenty of food that you can enjoy as a migraine sufferer. You now know the things to avoid. Namely, food and drink containing caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame and tyramine. Now is the time to talk about the good food that does not cause migraines or headaches.
1. Rice: Especially Brown Rice – You can have this with curry, chilli con carne, risottos – even as a dessert (lovely) – so you see it is not all bad news.
2. Cooked Green, Yellow and Orange Vegetables – Although raw vegetables certainly are not a bad choice, research has shown that for migraine sufferers, cooked vegetables are better still. These vegetables include spinach (one of the best foods for migraine sufferers), broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and squash are among the better foods that will not cause a migraine.
3. Fresh or Dried Non-Citrus Fruits – Most non-citrus fruits are great for migraine sufferers. As I mentioned above, you should avoid apples, bananas, peaches and tomatoes, but you should always look out for cherries, cranberries, pears and prunes as these are excellent in a number of ways.
4. Still or Carbonated Water – Water has a multitude of benefits and it is important to drink it several times, every day. It is the most pure drink you can have and you should always either filter it from the tap, or buy it bottled. Water has many benefits. If you have to have a drink that contains caffeine or alcohol, you should always follow it up with a glass of cold water so that it can neutralise the effects of the caffeine or alcohol.
5. Cold and Fresh Water Fish – Cold and fresh water fish contain a high amount of omega three which not only guards against headaches and migraines, but it is also excellent for building intelligence and should be consumed on a daily basis. The fish that need to be consumed include halibut, sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna. Eggs also include a high amount of omega three.