Healthy Living

Do you suffer from food related headaches often?

Do you suffer from food related headaches often?

Pounding headache can make you seek refuge in a dark, quiet room and hide from the world. If you suffer with chronic headache pain, you are not alone. A large number of citizens have chronic headache pains from migraine, tension, or cluster headaches or food related. Women suffer headaches more frequently than men, perhaps because of variations in the brain chemical called serotonin, which plays a role in pain and depression. When levels of the hormone estrogen plummet, levels of serotonin change as well. Whether you suffer with migraines, tension or sinus headaches, or headaches from arthritis or jaw pain, all headaches have one central thread that weaves them together: inner or outer triggers cause the body to react with pain that’s felt in the head. These triggers may stem from foods, tobacco, chemicals, stress, environment, or your hormones, among other things, and may vary from one person to the next.

Certain foods, such as alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine, have been identified as common triggers. Migraine or vascular headaches are often caused by dietary triggers. The following foods may trigger headaches: Ripened cheese, such as cheddar, Pickles, Chocolate, fermented, or marinated foods, Nuts and peanut butter, Broad beans, lima beans, fava beans, and snow peas. Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), Figs, raisins, papayas, avocados, and red plums, citrus fruits, bananas, pizza, excessive amounts of tea, coffee, or cola beverages, sausage, bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, and hot dogs, Chicken, livers, caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages etc.

Chocolates and red wine

Chocolates are usually blamed as a trigger. However, research suggests that cocoa may actually protect the nerve cells that cause migraine headaches. Many people with migraines have increased appetite and food cravings just before their headaches start. Reaching for a chocolate bar may be the result of a migraine, rather than the cause.

Red Wine and other alcoholic Beverages are foods that can trigger Migraines.

Sulfites, used as preservatives in red wine, are included in the list of foods that trigger migraines. Alcohol in any drink causes increased blood flow to your brain and can also result in dehydration, both of which might be headache triggers. People with migraines tend to get worse hangovers from any type of alcohol.  Alcohol will also trigger a headache in someone going through a period of cluster headaches.


Coffee Is a Headache Trigger and a Pain Reliever


If you sleep later on the weekend and you wake up with a headache, you probably have a caffeine withdrawal headache. A little caffeine can actually help get rid of a migraine headache, and caffeine may be included in some migraine medicines, but too much caffeine can be a headache trigger when you come down from your caffeine "high." Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 mg of caffeine (about two to three cups of coffee) to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your "dose."


Aged Cheese Soy Sauce and MSG


It is generally agreed that aged cheese is more likely to cause a headache. The culprit may be a substance called tyramine that forms as the proteins in cheese break down over time. The longer a cheese ages, the more tyramine it has.


Monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is found in soy sauce and as a food additive in many other foods, has been found to cause cramps, diarrhea, and headache in 10 to 15 percent of people who get migraine headaches. Soy sauce as a migraine trigger is probably due to MSG, but soy sauce is also very salty, which can lead to dehydration, another possible headache trigger.


Ice Cream, Bananas and processed meats as trigger

The stabbing headache after eating ice cream is a reaction to the cold, not the ice cream itself. An ice cream headache is more likely if you are overheated. The pain peaks in about 30 to 60 seconds. "Cold foods, like ice cream, may be migraine triggers for people who suffer from migraines, but for most people, the pain goes away quickly. The solution is to eat your ice cream or drink your cold drink  slowly.Bananas could trigger a migraine for people who are sensitive to tyramine.

The nitrites used as preservatives in hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats may dilate blood vessels and trigger headaches. The best advice is to keep a food diary, avoid foods that trigger migraines or headaches, stick to a healthy diet, and don't skip meals.

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