Have you set some goals or resolutions for yourself in 2018? My hope is that you can get some relief from your migraines this year. I know first-hand that it doesn’t happen overnight, but I also know that when you make a few daily changes, bit-by-bit you will feel some changes and begin to feel relief.
This week, I wanted to briefly share with you some of the foods that can definitely be a trigger for your migraines. Of course, everyone is different, and while one or two of these foods may definitely be a trigger for me, they may not be for you. Maybe you are not fully aware of all of your migraine triggers, and this short list may help you evaluate more fully what your food triggers are.
Are you one of those people who purchase foods such as lunch meats? Many people believe they are being proactive with their health and saving money when they slap together a quick sandwich for lunch. However, if the lunch meat you buy is processed, then it probably contains tyramine and preservatives — known migraine triggers. These pain-inducing ingredients can be found in bacon, sausages, and hotdogs as well, and should be avoided by those with chronic migraines, especially if you know these types of processed foods are a trigger for you.
Sad news for migraine sufferers who love bananas! For some of us, they can indeed trigger a migraine. While they are the perfect compact snack because they are high in potassium and energy, and they can be a delicious topper for your morning cereal or an addition to your morning smoothie, bananas are high in two migraine culprits—tyramine and histamine. If you are sensitive, watch out for the banana peel, which is the main tyramine source. Make sure none of the stringy bits remain on the fruit.
[Note: What is a trigger for one person is not a food trigger for another, so check out how you feel migraine-wise, after you have eaten bananas.]
If you are one of those people who reaches for the phone on a Friday night after a long week at work to order that delicious-sounding pizza, you might want to reassess your take-out urges! Most pizza dough (and yeast-based breads) contains coumarin, a naturally occurring chemical that triggers migraines. I found out the hard way many years ago that pizza was one of those things I had to avoid. Sadly, the coumarin contained in the pizza dough exists in yeast and, of course, yeast makes that pizza crust.
When you feel that urge to call in for the pizza, think about how you will feel after you eat the pizza, and decide if the great taste is worth the “hang-over migraine” the next day.
As a migraine sufferer, you may use a moderate amount of caffeine to alleviate your migraines. I know if I have one, very often I go for the carbs and coffee together as the combination tends to ease my migraines. However, too much caffeine can actually have the opposite effect and leave you with a killer headache once you come off your caffeine high. The “moral of the story?” Well, if you do like your morning coffee, then your goal should be to drink no more than two to three cups per day.
For migraine sufferers, it’s a hard thing to swallow sometimes when we think of the many good food sources that we actually have to stop and think about eating before we indulge. My thought process now is to always think, “Is it worth eating this _______ now, and running the risk of waking up with a killer migraine tomorrow?” To me, the answer is unequivocally, “No, it’s just not worth it.”
I spent many years not knowing what my triggers were, but once I became fully aware of them, it made life so much easier. Although I’ve hard to learn to forego some of my favorite foods (one of which is cheese), in the long-run, I am very thankful that I know my triggers and can choose not incorporate those food sources in my diet. Dietary change, as I have shared before, is one of the most dramatic change-inducing methods I have incorporated into my life to give me many more pain-free days.
Now 2018 is here, wouldn’t you love this to be YOUR year when you can change your migraine patterns—decrease both the severity and frequency?