Top Foods that Trigger Migraines

A migraine is a neurological condition that causes headaches of varying intensity. Migraine symptoms typically present with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, difficulty speaking, and numbness. Migraines may be triggered by certain foods, hormonal changes, stress, exercise, and excessive drinking. The occurrence of migraines is genetically related and is more common in women than men. Migraines can either begin in childhood or wait until adulthood.

Natural foods that don’t have preservatives reduce incidences of migraines. Some of the foods known to reduce the frequency of migraines include fish, fresh meat, poultry, and vitamin B12. Some other foods are known to trigger incidences of migraines include:

1. Eggs

Eggs and especially egg whites are known to have high amounts of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is one of the primary triggers of migraines. Eggs also contain high amounts of aspartic acid and phenylalanine that may cause inflammation in the brain triggering migraines

2. Onions

Onions and garlic have a smell that can trigger migraines. The scent can cause changes in emotion and stimulate the trigeminal nerve leading to inflammation and shrinking of blood vessels

3. Dairy products

Milk and other dairy products trigger the production of IgG which is a top allergen and causes migraines. Milk also increases acne-causing inflammation triggering migraines. Most people lose their ability to breakdown lactose leading to rotting of milk in the stomach causing inflammation and migraines.

4. Nitrates found in foods

Nitrates usually are contained in food additives and trigger migraines by increasing nitric oxide levels. High nitric oxide levels encourage vasodilation of blood vessels

5. Caffeine

Migraines can be triggered by either too much caffeine or if a person used to caffeine withdraws from its use. Caffeine can also block migraines. Caffeine is contained in coffee, tea, and chocolate

6. Food additives containing MSG

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a naturally occurring glutamic acid found in human bodies. It is usually considered safe and is perceived as a food additive. It is believed to trigger migraines in about 15 % of the patients. Other food preservatives also trigger migraines

7. Chocolate

Chocolate is the second most prevalent cause of migraines after alcohol. Chocolate contains caffeine and beta-phenylethylamine both of which trigger migraines. Chocolate cause about 22 % of the total migraine cases

8. Aged cheese

Cheese that has overstayed normally goes through a breakdown of proteins leading to the release of tyramine. Cheese that has stayed the longest has the highest amounts of tyramine, increasing incidences of migraines

9. Pickled and fermented foods

Pickled and fermented foods usually experience a breakdown of proteins that releases high amounts of tyramine. Tyramine triggers migraines

10. Cured meats

Cured meats include sausages, hot dogs, ham and deli meats. The products contain nitrates that are added to preserve color and flavor. These nitrates can cause the release of nitric oxide into the blood leading to dilation of blood vessels triggering migraines.

11. Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most frequent triggers of migraines. Red wine and beer account for about 25% of all cases of regular migraines. Alcohol causes loss of water leading to dehydration, and this triggers migraines.

12. Frozen foods

Frozen processed foods and drinks have the potential of triggering severe stabbing pains in the head. People who eat frozen foods quickly or immediately after strenuous exercise likely to experience migraines.


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