Migraines affect up to 15% of adults worldwide (1).
They differ from an average headache in severity and symptoms, and can tremendously reduce the top quality of life of men and women who suffer from them.
Regardless of decades of study, the exact cause of migraines is nevertheless unknown.
It is clear that diet program won’t cause a person to start experiencing migraines.
Nevertheless, for the people who do endure from migraines, diet program is one of several elements that may possibly trigger a single.
In truth, 10–60% of migraine sufferers claim particular foods trigger their migraines (1, two).
This is a list of the foods most typically reported as migraine triggers.
1. Aged Cheeses
Cheese is usually identified as a migraine trigger.
Researchers have hypothesized that this is simply because aged cheeses contain high levels of tyramine, an amino acid that can have an effect on blood vessels and trigger a headache (1).
Other foods high in tyramine incorporate these that are aged, cured, dried, smoked or pickled, which includes cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, salami, sauerkraut and tofu.
However, the evidence on tyramine and migraines is mixed. However, much more than half of the research seeking for a relationship in between tyramine and migraines located that tyramine could act as a trigger in some folks (3).
High-top quality research are required to confirm this link, though it is estimated that approximately 5% of men and women who suffer from migraines are sensitive to tyramine (3).
If you really feel your migraines are triggered by difficult cheeses, this might be the reason why.
Summary: Aged cheeses and other foods high in tyramine are usually regarded as migraine triggers. The evidence is mixed, but there may be a hyperlink.
Chocolate is a generally reported migraine trigger.
It has been recommended that either phenylethylamine or flavonoids, two substances discovered in chocolate, might be the explanation why (three, four).
Nonetheless, the proof is conflicting.
A handful of studies have located chocolate can provoke migraines in sensitive people (5, six).
For instance, one small study in migraine sufferers located that five of 12 participants got migraine attacks within one day of consuming chocolate (five).
Interestingly, none of them got an attack after ingesting the placebo.
Nevertheless, numerous other research have not found a link among chocolate consumption and migraines (7, 8, 9).
As a result, it’s probably that chocolate is not a key aspect in migraines for most men and women. Regardless of this, those who feel that chocolate is a trigger may possibly want to stay away from it.
Summary: Chocolate is a single of the most commonly reported migraine triggers. This may be associated to some of the plant compounds discovered in chocolate.
3. Cured or Processed Meats
Cured or processed meats, such as hot dogs or some lunch meats, include preservatives known as nitrates or nitrites.
In fact, in the 1970s when folks 1st reported headaches after consuming nitrites, they had been usually referred to as “hot dog headaches” (1).
Today, cured and processed meats are nonetheless often reported as migraine triggers.
Nitrites may possibly provoke migraines by causing the expansion of blood vessels.
Even so, additional analysis is required to say how relevant this is for migraine sufferers (three).
Summary: Processed or cured meats often contain nitrates or nitrites, which might trigger headaches in susceptible people.
4. Fatty and Fried Foods
Fat might also affect susceptibility to migraines.
This may be since high levels of certain fats in the blood lead to the production of prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins can lead to your blood vessels to dilate, potentially major to migraines and improved pain (ten).
One particular study on this association discovered that at the beginning of the study, participants eating a higher-fat diet regime containing much more than 69 grams of fat day-to-day had practically twice as numerous headaches at those who ate significantly less fat (ten).
They also identified that following decreasing their fat intake, the participants’ headache frequency and intensity decreased. Practically 95% of the participants reported a 40% improvement in their headaches (ten).
One more study on a low-fat vegan diet program located similar results, with reductions in headache pain and frequency (11).
However, in both studies, other elements besides fat intake were changed, such as weight loss or excluding animal items.
Therefore, it is not attainable to say for positive that lowering fat intake alone was responsible for the improvements.
Summary: Consuming a diet regime high in fat may enhance the frequency of migraines. Consequently, lowering fat intake has been shown to improve migraine intensity and frequency.
5. Some Chinese Food
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a controversial flavor enhancer added to some Chinese and processed foods to improve their savory taste (1).
Reports of headaches in response to consuming MSG have been prevalent for numerous decades.
But proof of this effect is controversial, and no effectively-created studies have shown a hyperlink between MSG intake and migraines (1, 12).
Alternatively, these foods’ normally higher fat or salt contents could be to blame.
Nevertheless, MSG continues to be often reported as a headache and migraine trigger.
Summary: Monosodium glutamate, which is present in many Chinese and processed foods, is typically reported to provoke headaches.
six. Coffee, Tea and Sodas
Caffeine is typically utilised to treat headaches.
But interestingly, some evidence suggests that it can indirectly provoke migraines.
A “caffeine withdrawal headache” is a properly-recognized phenomenon in which a headache occurs as the effects of caffeine wear off.
This happens when blood vessels commence to expand once again following contracting in response to caffeine consumption (3).
This impact could trigger migraines in those who are susceptible.
However, caffeine withdrawal appears to more frequently cause the typical, non-migraine headache (1).
Summary: Caffeine may indirectly trigger headaches by means of withdrawal effects. This happens when the effects of caffeine wear off and certain blood vessels expand.
7. Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame is a variety of artificial sweetener that is frequently added to foods and beverages to make them taste sweet without adding sugar.
Some men and women complain that they develop a headache following consuming aspartame, but most research have shown either a minimal or nonexistent impact (13, 14).
A couple of little studies have investigated no matter whether aspartame negatively impacts individuals who endure from migraines.
Regrettably, the studies had been either tiny or had design flaws, but they did locate that aspartame impacted headaches in some migraine sufferers.
One of these studies found that a lot more than half of 11 participants experienced elevated migraine frequency after consuming huge amounts of aspartame (15).
For that reason, it is feasible that a portion of migraine sufferers may be sensitive to aspartame.
Summary: Aspartame is a widespread artificial sweetener that might enhance migraine frequency in some people.
eight. Alcoholic Drinks
Alcoholic drinks are one particular of the oldest-recognized triggers for headaches and migraines alike. Regrettably, the cause why is not so clear.
Men and women who get migraines tend to drink significantly less alcohol than people who don’t get migraines, and they look far more likely than other people to expertise migraine symptoms as element of a hangover (16).
Nevertheless, alcohol itself may possibly not be to blame.
Men and women often point to red wine, rather than alcohol in basic, as a migraine trigger.
Evidence appears to assistance the concept that compounds specifically present in red wine, such as histamine, sulfites or flavonoids, could trigger headaches (4, 17).
As proof, one study located that drinking red wine, but not vodka, provoked headaches (18).
Even so, the precise cause of this is still unknown.
Regardless, it’s estimated that alcoholic drinks can trigger migraines in roughly 10% of folks who get migraines.
Although there isn’t a want for most migraine sufferers to stay away from alcohol totally, these who are susceptible should limit their consumption (four).
Summary: Alcoholic drinks are one particular of the most well-known migraine triggers. Nonetheless, alcohol is not a issue for absolutely everyone who gets migraines, and the cause why is unclear.
9. Cold Food and Drinks
Most men and women have heard of the “ice cream” headaches that cold or frozen foods and beverages can trigger.
Even so, these foods and beverages might also provoke migraines in susceptible people.
One study asked participants to hold an ice cube amongst their tongues and the roofs of their mouths for 90 seconds in order to study cold-induced headaches (19).
They located that this test triggered headaches in 74% of the 76 migraine sufferers who participated. On the other hand, it triggered pain in only 32% of these who suffered from non-migraine headaches (19).
An additional study discovered that girls who had seasoned a migraine within the preceding year were twice as probably to develop a headache right after drinking ice-cold water, compared to females who never ever suffered from migraines (20).
As a result, migraine sufferers who notice that their headaches are triggered by cold foods could want to steer clear of ice-cold or frozen foods and drinks, including frozen yogurt, ice cream or slushies.
Summary: Folks who suffer from migraines might be a lot more probably to experience a cold-induced headache than the typical individual. Therefore, it may be a good concept to steer clear of quite cold foods and drinks.
The Bottom Line
Although diet plan will not lead to an individual to begin getting migraines, it is 1 of a lot of aspects that can trigger a migraine in somebody who often experiences them.
Consequently, migraine sufferers who have dietary triggers might discover relief by avoiding any foods they are sensitive to.
The ideal way to determine if particular foods trigger migraines for you is to generate a meals and symptom diary and check to see if any patterns emerge.
Moreover, make confident to spend particular focus to the foods and drinks in the list above.
Limiting common meals triggers is a excellent place to start off minimizing the frequency and severity of your migranes.