Although nutrition cannot be considered one of the primary causes of migraine headaches, it has been established that some foods are more likely to cause headaches than others. Although the choice of a specific diet cannot replace therapy, knowing what foods to avoid when you have headaches will help you to cope better with pain and keep the disorder under control.
Foods to avoid
Among the foods that contribute to the pain of headache, therefore, we find nuts, cocoa, chocolate, ice cream and, in general, cold foods, seafood and herring, fried and fatty foods, bananas, plums, figs and avocados. In addition, foods containing monosodium glutamate should also be avoided, a flavor enhancer used especially in Chinese cuisine, which is also found in stock cubes, numerous salty snacks, soy sauce and soups and soups.
Limit cheeses and canned meat
It would be preferable to limit the consumption of cheeses, especially those that are very fermented or seasoned, canned meats, mature meats, processed or preserved such as cold cuts and sausages, hot dogs and canned fish. Raspberries, sauerkraut, tomatoes, citrus fruits, sour cream and yoghurt must also be avoided, as well as all those foods that contain sulphites, i. e. additives that are found above all in wines, nitrites, preservatives present in canned meats and cold cuts, and aspartame, a sweetener present in sweets and chewing gum.
Alcoholic beverages, in particular beer and red wine, and those containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola, contribute to headache.
All the foods listed delay the disappearance of headache because they are characterized by vasoactive and psychoactive effects, which are translated into the brain. The main headache-causing substances are histamine, tyramine and phenylethylamine.
The tyramine is found in red wine, beer, seasoned meat, canned fish, yoghurt, soy sauce and all preserved foods. It is a vasoconstrictor that causes an increase in migraine headache, as well as blood sugar, promoting an increase in heartbeat, salivation and tearing.
Phenylethylamine, on the other hand, is found mainly in red wine, berries, chocolate, citrus fruit and cocoa. It contributes to the release of noradrenaline, which has the effect of increasing blood pressure and, consequently, migraine.
Histotamine, on the other hand, is mainly present in cold cuts, beer, beef, sauerkraut, molluscs, chicken liver, pork meat, red wine, mature cheeses, spinach, tomatoes, including pastes and sauces, tofu, yeast, then also in pizza, focacce, cakes and bread, bananas, pineapple Its effect is to liberate noradrenaline and adrenaline, which stimulate sensory and motor neurons, as well as cause pseudo-allergic reactions.
Be carried out in moderation
It is not a good idea to be too worried and deprived of food just because they are believed to play a role in the development of headaches. As always, the important thing is to behave in moderation. The problem of migraine headaches may not be solved at the table, but avoiding consumption or limiting the intake of certain foods can limit it.
Consultancy of a specialist
How to relieve migraine headaches with nutritionHe who frequently suffer from headaches, therefore, can establish a diet that progressively reduces the intake of certain foods with the help of a specialist. Clearly, not eating all the products listed would be impossible and perhaps even harmful: not only because it would probably not be possible to understand if they play a role in the appearance and development of headaches, but also because they contain substances useful for other functions of our body.
As a result, four or five foods can be eliminated as part of a diet, and whether or not they are involved in the onset of migraine. If their exclusion does not lead to visible benefits within a few weeks, they can easily be reintegrated.
Beware of sudden changes in blood sugar levels
However, an inducer element is hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, i. e. changes in blood glucose concentration. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid lasting fasting by eating small meals with a certain frequency.
Listening to your body
Generally speaking, it is essential to know how to listen to one’s own body and its reactions, and to proceed by hypothesis. For example, if we just wake up to a noticeable headache, it could be caused by the fact that we have not been eating for too many hours, and that we had dinner too early in the day we went to bed.
It is curious to note that in the so-called prodromal phase, i. e. when the pre-warning symptoms of headache appear, there is often a very strong desire for certain foods, such as chocolate, for example. Sometimes, one can blame the consumption of a certain food without realising that it had already begun beforehand for a migraine attack. Being able to make a distinction of this kind is important, not least because it makes it possible to act effectively in treatment.
In the onset of migraine headaches, behaviours are also involved that have to do only indirectly with diet: an example is stress, which can lead to dehydration and the absence of hunger, with inappropriate fasting and deprivation of calories that would serve the human body. For example, subjects who do not have breakfast in the morning are more sensitive to migraine attacks around noon.