Diet can trigger or reduce migraines attacks

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Diet can trigger or reduce migraines attacks

Weather changes, strong fragnace, tension, lack of sleep, and certain foods and drinks can cause migraine. Avoiding the foods that trigger migraines, prevent or may reduce the number and frequency of headaches. Common foods associated with migrain trigger include Joe, processed foods high in nitrites, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and excess alcohol.

Migraine researcher and expert, Dr. Vincent Martin assessed different approaches to preventing headaches with diet. The first approach would be an elimination diet that avoids foods and beverages known to trigger headaches. The second approach would be follow a comprehensive diet whose very composition may prevent headaches.

"One of the most important triggers for headache is the withdrawal of caffeine," said Martin, who also sees patients at UC Health. "Let's say you regularly pound down three or four cups of coffee every morning and you decide to skip your morning routine one day, you will likely have full-fledged caffeine withdrawal headache that day.", he added.

"Too much coffee may also present a risk, no more than 400 mg daily–one cup is 125 milligrams–is probably the maximum, for migraine patients“, says Martin. “Large amounts of caffeine can bring on anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as headaches,” he explains. Martin reported that drinking more than 400 mg/d (one cup is 125 milligrams), can even activate symptoms beyond migraines. "Large amounts of caffeine can bring on anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as headaches," he explained.

The other migraine trigger, MSG, is often a central part of diet as a flavor enhancer in processed foods, frozen foods, canned foods, soups, international foods, snacks, salad dressing, seasoning salts, ketchup, barbeque sauce, and heavy Chinese cooking. According to Martin, "You eliminate it by eating fewer processed foods. You eat more natural things such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and fresh meats. MSG is most provocative when consumed in liquids such as soups."

Nitrites are the preservatives are found in processed meats (bacon, sausage, ham, and lunch meat) to preserve color as well as flavor. Research indicated that approximately 5% of migraine patients were likely to experience an attack on days they eat nitrite-filled foods. However, stronger government regulations on labels have reduced the use of nitrites. Alcohol is one of the most commonly reported dietary trigger for migraine. Martin says that studies show vodka and red wine to be the biggest troublemakers as they contain high levels of histamine.

Low fat diets restrict the amount of fat in the diet to less than 20 percent of your daily energy requirements as per  Vij , a UC Health physician. "The beauty of these diets is that they not only reduce headaches, but may produce weight loss and prevent heart disease," He added.

Researchers have recommended a promising diet option for those suffering more frequent migraine attacks. Researchers suggest boosting omega-3 fats while decreasing omega-6 levels, replacing polyunsaturated vegetable oils – corn, sunflower, safflower, canola, and soy – with flaxseed oil. Additionally, Martin suggested consuming flaxseed, salmon, halibut, cod, and scallops, while avoiding peanuts and cashews.

"Persons with headache and migraine have more dietary options than ever. Ultimately a healthy headache diet excludes processed foods, minimizes caffeine and includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats," Martin says.


University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center

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Original title of article:

Diet can impact migraines


Vincent Martin, Brinder Vij

University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Exploratory, Caffeine, MSG, Nitrites, Alcohol, Migraine, Head
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