For many sufferers of migraine, knowing if certain foods play a part in the migraine attacks they experience is a difficult job.
“There are a lot of food triggers that can cause headaches,” says Mark W. Green, MD, the head of the World Headache Society and a professor of neurology, anesthesiology and rehabilitation medicine in the Icahn School for Medicine of Mount Sinai in New York City. For added complexity as per the Dr. Green, “one day they could trigger headaches however, the next day they might not.”
Dietary changes for migraine typically can be classified into two groups -eliminating food items that can play a part in the triggering of your headaches or causing headaches, as well as making broad adjustments to how you eat to lessen the frequency or severity that you experience headaches. However, neither method can be guaranteed to be effective for every person.
Diet is just one aspect of migraine triggers that could be a possibility. “In the majority of individuals, eating habits aren’t really that crucial,” says Green. “But it is important to be aware in instances when other triggers arise such as a stressful period.”
Vincent T. Martin, MD is a specialist in headaches and instructor of internal medicine clinical within the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio It is an anti-inflammatory diet that is a combination of foods known to decrease swelling in your body and avoids foods that promote inflammation.
In actual practice, this is eating an array of colorful fruits and vegetables , particularly green leafy veggies and berries, as well as meats and fish that aren’t raised on farms, such as grass-fed cattle as often as is possible, and excluding high-processed foods.
A few studies have shown that eating foods rich in omega-3 acid fatty acids, particularly they reduce the frequency of days with headaches in those suffering from migraine. They include cold-water fish that are fatty like cod, salmon and lake trout and plant-based sources like flaxseed, walnuts, and chia seeds.
There’s also evidence to suggest that a high-fat ketogenic, low-carbohydrate (keto) diet could assist migraine sufferers According To Dr. Martin. However, he adds, “Not everyone can actually adhere to these diets. It’s just that people don’t stay with them for long.” Due to the health risks associated with certain diets, Martin recommends a keto diet only when under the supervision of Dietitians.
Not fasting, but grazing. A crucial, yet often ignored, aspect of diet that can impact migraine is timing your food intake According to Green. “We are trying to encourage people to avoid the habit of fasting” Green says. “Particularly when people awake with headaches or experience it at dawn, and we need them to eat at night, or have a snack.”
A smaller meal spread throughout your day can help to avoid the headache-triggering effects of not eating for extended durations. “I believe that we were designed to be snackers,” says Green. “So having a few small meals throughout the day is better than three big meals. You do not wish for your blood sugar to decrease.”
Hydration Hydration is essential as dehydration can lead to headaches. Martin advises following as a general rule 8-8 ounces (oz) drinking glasses throughout the day.
Alcohol and Caffeine: The usual Migraine Suspects
Even when you’re living an exercise routine, certain beverages and foods can frighten you up.
Alcoholic drinks — specifically wine and beer are proven to be migraine triggers however the function they play can be a bit ambiguous in every individual.
For instance, Green says, a person might realize that she could drink a glass of wine and not get headaches. However, when menstrual cycles are in full swing the wine may cause migraines. “It’s typically more than one thing,” he notes, which can trigger the development of migraines.
A powerful migraine trigger won’t create a headache each time. “If 40% of the times you consume alcohol, you get headaches, that may be the cause for your migraine,” Martin shares. Martin. If you think that alcohol in general or a specific drink triggers migraines or trigger, keeping the food and symptom journal will help you determine whether cutting out alcohol leads to an improvement.
Caffeine is, in contrast could play a more intricate role. “When people inquire about whether caffeine is beneficial or harmful for headaches and migraines, my solution is yes” claims Green. It’s because excessive caffeine may be a migraine trigger, you shouldn’t skip the coffee you drink regularly.
It can also serve as a remedy for migraines. “If you suffer from a severe headache and then take a rapid dose in caffeine, it may be an effective cure,” says Martin.
Each Green and Martin advise limit your daily intake of caffeine at under 200 milligrams (mg) which is about the equivalent of two 8-ounce standard cupsand also to drink caffeine at approximately the same time and in the same amounts throughout the every day.
Fermented Foods MSG And Nitrites Possible Migraine Triggers
The three most commonly talked about food ingredients or components that could trigger migraines include tyramine — an organic chemical found in fermented and preserved food items — and monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrites the two of which can be frequently found in processed foods.
It’s sometimes difficult to recognize these ingredients, since in many instances, you don’t find these ingredients on ingredient lists.
In the case of MSG, “food manufacturers often cover up the ingredient,” Green says. Green. “You’ll find terms such as natural flavor and hydrolyzed protein from vegetables.” What’s more confusing is the fact that MSG is naturally present in certain food items, including hydrogenlyzed autolyzed yeast soy extracts, yeast extracts and protein isolate along with tomatoes, seaweed, and cheeses. Products with naturally found MSG do not have to mention the ingredients as a component on their labels.
The ingredient isn’t in foods however, it’s present in many foods such as aged cheeses as well as preserved or processed meats, and fermented or pickled foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and tofu, as per the Mayo Clinic.
Nitrites can be found in processed meats or cured ones and other processed food items.
The best method to determine potential food triggers particularly when the ingredients could be unclear, is to keep an account of your food intake and symptoms according to both Green Martin and Green. Martin. “If you find a food that has been linked to more than twice the frequency of your usual headache It’s likely to be an trigger,” says Martin.
If you’re experiencing difficulty recognizing patterns in the food you eat and headaches The doctor you see may be able helphowever, it’s also possible that there’s not much of a connection between two.
Sweets, Chocolate and Sweeteners: No Evidence of a Migraine-related Connection
The most frequently misinterpreted foods that cause migraine is chocolate, or cocoa According to Green. “There’s no evidence to suggest that chocolate actually acts as triggers migraine,” he says.
However, many people are aware of the connection between chocolate consumption and the beginning of migraine-related symptoms. This could be due to migraine prodrome, symptoms that begin within a few days prior to the migraine phase. These symptoms could include a shivering face and cold feet or hands and food cravings According to Green.
“I inform my patients, If you’re craving chocolate, have your medicine prepared,” says Green. “It’s practically irrelevant whether you consume it or don’t because there’s an excellent chance that you’re likely to develop a migraine.”
The research has also revealed that chocolate is not likely to trigger migraine symptoms. A review of research on this subject revealed that, while only a tiny percentage of people believed that chocolate was migraine triggers however, all studies that were provocativewhere participants took chocolate or a similar flavored alternative, but did not know the flavor they chose did not find any link between chocolate consumption and migraine symptoms.
In the case of both artificial sweeteners and sugar the evidence for the connection between migraines is insignificant or is merely anecdotal. “Really food items that contain sugar can trigger headaches,” says Martin However, many people consume sugar in such a way that it’s hard to discern the connection.
Artificial sweetener, aspartame could cause headaches for some people, but there’s no evidence to suggest a link with sucralose, a sweetener, in the opinion of Green. Stevia, a sweetener, is not believed to be associated with migraine.
However, like any other possible sensitive trigger, sweetness could play a small role in the occurrence of migraine. “In my experiences, when I’m at risk like on rainy days — it’s probably not an ideal time to drink diet sodas,” says Martin.
IgG Antibody Testing for Food Triggers of Migraine
One tool that could be useful to detect migraine causes is the IgG antibody test. It analyzes a particular immune response of the body to tiny amounts of various food ingredients. A particular version of this test examines around 300 different food items as per Green.
The results of the IgG test can be used to help guide the creation of an eliminating diet Martin suggests, in addition to examine whether symptoms improve. The food items can then be gradually returned to your diet, and you’ll also be able to track any increase in headaches which occurs due to.
In a research study published on the 5th of August, 2021 by the Journal of Pain Research of 89 migraine sufferers and 67 with one or more specific food-related IgG antibodies had more frequent and more severe headaches and were more likely to suffer from digestive symptoms and anxiety.
In a different study, 21 people suffering from migraine as well as IBS (IBS) were subjected to IgG food tests. Of 270 possible food sensitivities, the mean number of positive tests was 23.1. A diet that was based on the results resulted in significant decreases in the frequency of attacks of migraine and IBS and IBS, as well as an elongated duration and less intensity of the attacks that did happen.
Diet Is Just 1 Part of a Migraine Preventive Plan
It’s important to remember how your eating habits are just one aspect of a healthy lifestylein addition to regular physical exercise, maintaining an appropriate body weight and reducing stress as far as you can, and getting enough and regular sleeping.
“There’s chances that you’ll lower the frequency of your headaches through how you live your life,” says Martin. “A healthy diet , in general and having a healthy life style, is likely to be beneficial in treating migraines.”
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