Many may have already experienced headaches on one side of the head – a condition known as “migraine.” It is often found in people regardless of gender or age, particularly among members of the family and working people.Its symptoms can arise as a result of various triggers both from internal and external to the body.Avoiding these triggers is a method that we can treat the conditions ourselves without having to spend any money, and it does not have any side-effect either.
Such triggers are commonly found in foods and drinks. Noting the types of food and drink that cause your migraine goes a long way to help you avoid the headache. Generally, foods and drinks can prompt a headache through blood vessels of the cerebral cortex or the tip of the fifth cranial nerves, as certain substances can provoke the headache directly inside the brain.
It should be noted that punctual meal times are important, because fasting is a factor that causes a headache. Studies have shown that fasting is the trigger of a migraine by 40 – 57%. So, it you wish to prevent a migraine at home, knowing what types of food can instigate a headache is vital; as it will help you avoid the cause of the condition in the first place.
Ingredients That Can Trigger Migraine
Ingredients that have been found to prompt a headache in migraine patients include:
This is a natural component in foods such as cheese, smoked fish, processed meat whose expiry has been prolonged, fermented foods, food that contains yeast, beer, etc. For people who are sensitive to tyramine, after consuming any of these foods, they will experience a severe headache.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 180 – 200 times sweeter than normal sugar. Though there is no official recognition that it causes a headache, it has been documented that some patients experience a headache after consuming aspartame.
3) MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
This is a widely used ingredient, often to enhance food flavor. It is also used in canned and ready-to-eat foods. The mechanism that triggers a headache may be some types of nervous response or by prompting cells on blood vessels’ wall to produce nitric oxide which causes the blood vessels to swell and, ultimately, leads to the headache.
4) Nitrate and Nitrite
These are ingredients used in preserving food as well as in fermented or smoked products – such as sausages, smoked meat or fish. Consuming any of these foods, can lead to a headache instantly or after a little while – in minutes or, possibly, hours. Nitrate and nitrite prompt the body to produce nitric oxide or other chemicals that can cause blood vessels to swell, thus triggering a headache. Patients who are sensitive to these substances should avoid any food containing sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, potassium nitrite or potassium nitrate.
5) Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages, especially red wine, are often found to trigger migraine headaches. The headache can arise within 3 hours or thereafter. This is because wine contains tyramine, sulfites, histamine, and flavonoids – all of which can trigger a headache. Symptoms can also include nausea, vomiting, heart palpitation, moodiness, and shorten concentration span. The headache may occur the morning after alcohol consumption when blood alcohol level starts to decrease, and can last as long as 24 hours – until alcohol has dissipated from the blood stream.
Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, soda as well as chocolate and some types of medication for headaches. It can affect the body’s central nervous system, depending on the quantity consumed. Normally, a carbonated drink contains about 115 mg of caffeine. 50 – 300 mg of caffeine causes the body to be alert, but more than 300 mg can cause anxiety, agitation, insomnia, and moodiness. Though caffeine can trigger a headache, it has been used to help reduce the symptom also – depending on the quantity and frequency of consumption. If you are prone to headaches, it is best to avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine.
It is not difficult to look after yourself and keep migraine headache far away. Firstly, you should be aware of your migraine’s triggers and avoid them. You also need sufficient amount of rest and sleep every day. In addition, regular but not too strenuous exercises are recommended. Quit smoking, as smoking exposes you to the risk of ischemic stroke. Avoid beverages that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, carbonated and energy drinks. If you experience more severe headaches or the conditions have changed, you should consult a doctor promptly.