Food and Health: Migraine headaches and food triggers
A recent bout with Migraine headaches that lasted for days sent me to the doctor. My doctor discussed why this came about. When you don’t stop the headache at the very start with medication, the headache can continue for days. We discussed medication choices. I am cautious about taking pills. But this is too much pain for me. A nurse gave me a shot and had me wait lying down in a darkened room. After a while, I felt some relief and went on my way. Three days later, I am able to focus better and have no pain today. Yay!
I mentioned food to my doctor, who was deep into the computer documentation and she scowled.
Some of the major recognized foods that can trigger migraines that I know about are chocolate, MSG – a food additive, coffee, cheese, and wine. For me bananas are a also a trigger, which is too bad because I really like bananas. I have pretty much quit eating cheeses. (And I love cheese!)
At first, when this migraine thing was getting out of hand, I looked up foods that cause migraine. Once again I was flooded with long lists of what not to eat. One list was so long that it excluded beans, veggies, citrus fruits, pickles, pickled herring, anything pickled, deli meats – nitrates, olive oil and so many things, I felt defeated. What to eat?
Again I was confronted with TMI – too much generic information and then too much specificity.
Why Does Food Cause Headaches?
“The exact cause for migraines isn’t yet known. But doctors agree that brief changes in your brain activity bring them on. These affect your blood vessels and nerve signals as well. The result: throbbing head pain that can sometimes last for days.
Many things can cause migraines, like medicine you take, changes in your hormones, and a lack of sleep. Your diet plays a part, too. In about 10% of people with these headaches, food is a trigger.”
WEBMD suggests keeping a food/headache diary after each meal with what is eaten, what time. If a food is a trigger a headache can happen in 12 -24 hours. Drinking water is also very important as is exercise. (I forget to do both, when I get busy.)
Another of the the food practices is eating whole fresh foods. Don’t skip meals. Drink lots of water! (Oh, I can’t say that enough.)
Also: “Go slow when trying to ID food triggers. Don’t cut out everything that might cause a headache at once. That’ll only make it harder to figure out which ones really do affect you…” WebMD
There’s my answer on how going slow to figure out what foods trigger my migraines is less confusing. To anyone who has migraines, good information and self care is a place to start relieving migraine headaches. For me eating whole foods is not a problem.
Update from when I wrote this post. I have slowly put trigger foods back in my diet and so far so good. I have not tried any pickled foods yet.
Also, it is well known that barometric changes due to weather bring on migraines. Yes, my brain tells me when a summer or winter storm is coming. That effect has nothing to do with food, obviously. Changes in the barometric pressure result in changes in pressure on the body-brain. It is well known effect and not anecdotal. Anyway, if you have ever been in a classroom on a rainy or stormy day, the kids energy gets really kinetic! A knowing teacher will understand that the cause is the weather!
Suggestions: See your doctor if you are having migraines. Ask questions about medications and side effects of your doctor and pharmacist. I am not a medical person and make no claims about medical advice.
Have a healthy and happy day!
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.
Many thanks to Angie the Fiesta Friday leader and the fine cooks who contribute each week to the party. I hope to be back on track with food experiments again in the near future!