There are many common triggers for migraines, with diet playing a major role for many people that suffer from migraine headaches. Some of the most common foods that can trigger a migraine are:
- Citrus fruits
- Alcohol (especially red wine or beer)
- Meats preserved with nitrates (ham, bologna, luncheon meats, etc.)
- Aged cheese
- Caffeine (especially while cutting back or eliminating), including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, over-the-counter and prescription medications that contain caffeine (consult with your physician before changing or discontinuing any medications)
- Fermented, pickled, cured or marinated foods
- Foods prepared with monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Foods high in tyramine, including aged meats, avocados, bananas, beer, cabbage, canned fish, dairy products, eggplant, hard cheeses, potatoes, raspberries, red plums, tomatoes, wine, and yeast
This is a long (and by no means all-inclusive) list of foods for a person to try and avoid. However, keeping a food journal and completing food hypersensitivity testing can help each person determine their exact triggers to make avoidance more manageable.
In addition to avoiding foods that can trigger a migraine, there are a number of foods that can help improve the production of key neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Eating these foods daily can help maintain proper neurotransmitter function.
The pesticides, herbicides and insecticides used on many foods can also disrupt proper neurotransmitter function. Buying these foods organically or substituting them with foods that are lower in chemical exposure can be a great help. To learn more about dietary solutions for migraines, click here.