7 Food Migraine Triggers Worth Avoiding

For those of us who’ve had migraines, the pain is unforgettable.

The throbbing pain… blurry vision… and light and sound sensitivity can keep you locked up in a dark room for hours hoping sleep will take the pain away.   And medications can be little or no help.  Tylenol or ibuprofen are of limited help with migraines. And the triptan drugs like Imitrex, Maxalt and Zomig can be helpful, but have common side effects including severe chest pain, nausea, tingling and burning sensation and even a strange spacey feeling called depersonalization.   Plus, there can be a rebound headache, which is like putting off the inevitable.

Prevention is the best solution for migraine sufferers.  Fortunately, there are things you can avoid which are known to trigger migraines.  Here are seven of the most common migraine triggers.

 1.) Chocolate

Chocolate contains beta-phenylethylamine a known migraine trigger.  In fact, people who are low in phenylethylamine tend to crave chocolate, in my experience.  Chocolate also contains caffeine and tyramine which might worsen the pain of migraines.


 2.) Aged cheese

This is a well known migraine trigger. It contains a high amount of tyramine, which causes your blood vessels to expand and headache pain to increase.


 3.) Processed meats

Food additives are often to blame for food-related migraines. The high levels of sodium nitrates and nitrites found in processed meats have been shown to cause migraines. So  foods like hot dogs, bacon, salami and lunch meats are no-nos when it comes to migraines.


 4.) Alcohol

Not all alcohol is bad for migraine sufferers. However, studies show that red wine and beer seem to trigger migraines. Fermented beverages, such as beer and wine,  contain tyramine (similarly to aged cheese).


5.) Coffee and tea

Many people drink caffeinated beverages, like tea and coffee, for migraine relief. That’s because caffeine constricts blood vessels and can reduce headache pain. But the problem is when you drink too much, and then cut back. If you happen to skip your morning latte, this will lead to caffeine withdrawal. Withdrawal sends too much blood rushing to your head – triggering a migraine.


6.) Diet sodas

Diet Sodas generally aren’t good for you, but here’s another reason to avoid them. They contain both caffeine and aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in many foods, and it is a known migraine trigger.


7.) Chinese food

One of the worst food additivities for migraines is monosodium glutamate (MSG). Chinese food is well-known for containing it, as are  as other broths, soups, processed and packaged foods, salad dressings and frozen foods. Look for food labels that don’t contain MSG, and ask at your local Chinese restaurant whether the food contains MSG.