A migraine is a form of headache that is caused by the enlargement of the blood vessels, causing chemicals to be released that coil around the brain’s large arteries. These chemicals are what cause inflammation and pain, as well as the further enlarging of the arteries. As the arteries enlarge more, the pain becomes more intense. Only a small percentage of people in the world are migraine sufferers and migraine headaches are triggered either by environmental factors, stress or food.
What in Food Causes Migraine
Sufferers of migraine often have specific factors that trigger a migraine attack. For some, it may be stress and for some it may be a specific food. In food, compounds found in MSG, caffeine and artificial sweeteners are what commonly cause migraines.
The substance tyramine, which is found in aged foods like pepperoni, cheese and aged meat, has also been shown to trigger migraines.
Foods That Cause Migraine
Although there are definitely foods that cause a migraine attack, it is important to take note that stress and other factors also contribute to a migraine attack. Thus, it is important not to put all the blame on food.
Other common foods that can trigger a migraine attack include peanuts (and its forms), dairy products, beans (lima, lentil, peas and Italian), dried meats, pickled herring, chicken liver, benzoic acid, nuts, cheeses, anchovies, caffeine, yeast, avocados, sauerkraut, canned soups, ripe banana, sodium nitrate, MSG, sourdough bread, red wines and chocolate.
There are still more foods that trigger migraine, but the ones mentioned are the most common foods that trigger an attack.
How is Migraine Prevented or Treated?
Migraines can be prevented in two ways, by avoiding the triggers or the factors that cause it, or by medication.
As for treatment, migraine can be treated with or without medications. Non-medication treatments include relaxation techniques or using ice to stop the attack from getting worse. Sleep is also a very effective non-medication treatment. Avoiding triggers, as well as not smoking, can also prevent migraines from getting worse. Basically, a healthy lifestyle, with adequate fluid intake, good nutrition, enough sleep and enough exercise are good preventive measures to avoid the occurrence of a migraine.
As for medications, mild migraines can be treated with over-the-counter medicines. Non-prescription analgesics (those that are used to treat muscle aches or menstrual cramps) are usually safe and effective for treating migraines that are not severe. It is important to take note that even if these are over-the-counter medicines, they should still be used according to the instructions on the label.