The Nation's Health + vegetables

Health Tips: Migraine? Avoid These Foods

  • Foods to Avoid Certain foods are believed to be responsible for up to 30 percent of all migraines. Here, a list of potential migraine-triggering foods you might want to avoid—and what’s in them that can cause migraines.

  • Pickled Foods Foods that have been pickled, fermented, or otherwise marinated sometimes contain monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. MSG is a flavor enhancer that has been shown to trigger migraines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that MSG is safe, but it remains controversial.

  • Chinese Food MSG is commonly added to Asian foods, particularly Chinese food, as a flavor enhancer. Other foods that may contain MSG: canned soup, frozen foods, processed foods, seasonings, and canned vegetables. Because of the controversy surrounding MSG, food manufacturers list it on the label

  • Chocolate contains caffeine, as in sodas, tea, coffee, and energy drinks. In small doses, the caffeine in these foods and drinks can increase alertness. Plus, caffeine can actually help the body absorb pain-relief medication more quickly when migraines do occur. But high doses of it (like the levels found in some energy drinks in particular) can cause irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and migraines. Additionally, long-term uses of caffeinated products can result in a chemical tolerance in your body. If you abruptly stop consuming caffeine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms that trigger a migraine.

  • Aged Cheese Tyramine, a monoamine found naturally in many foods, has been identified as a migraine trigger. Aged cheeses, such as blue cheese, Parmesan, and cheddar, contain tyramine, as do dried and cured sausages and smoked fish

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