Food and Other Factors That May Trigger Migraine Headaches
Many studies have
linked migraines to magnesium deficiency. Not surprisingly, many of the
common triggers listed below are also factors that are known to lower
Mold - I've noticed
with my son who gets headaches from mold
allergies that many of the same foods people are told to avoid because
of mold are many of the same foods that trigger migraine headaches.
Nitrites - My son used
to get bad headaches mostly on Mondays, and we eventually realized it
was because we would usually go out for brunch on Sunday and he would
order bacon that in all probability was preserved with nitrites. For meals
at home now I buy nitrite free bacon, which I can find at Safeway, Trader
Joe's, and Whole Foods). Now when we go out to eat, he skips the bacon
and sausage. For his lunches at school he takes a sack lunch with peanut
butter and jelly, cream cheese or nitrite free lunch meat from Whole Foods.
Beside helping his headaches, it also helped with his chemical
Some common food triggers for people seem to be:
- Nitrites - most lunch meat,
hot dogs, corn dogs, sausage and bacon.
- Red wine
- Monosodium glutamate
- Products containing yeast
such as bread and rolls
- A couple of the people I know who suffer from migraines drink a lot
of beverages with caffeine during the day, especially coffee, tea or Coke,
and I suspect that is a major trigger for their headaches. Caffeine is
known for depleting magnesium levels. Coffee and tea also can give people
an acid stomach, another condition that may be linked to migraine headaches.
- Migraines often happen to people whenever they are under a lot of stress.
- Many women report migraines right before
they get their period.
Noises - My father-in law got a migraine headache when we took
him to a crowded children's museum with lots of hands on exhibits. There
was a general din that was quite loud everywhere we went. I've had other
family members and even a pet guinea pig recover from noise sensitivity
just by eating foods high in magnesium. One of my children used to get
episodes of noise sensitivity, especially when we were on vacation and
he wasn't eating as many fruits and vegetables as he normally does at
home. When we were on vacation and loud noises would start to bother him,
we would go out to a Mexican restaurant and have him eat a magnesium rich
bean burrito and this would help his hearing return to normal.
- I've only had one "white out" migraine headache in my life,
and that occurred when I used a new shampoo my hair dresser recommended.
My vision returned to normal as soon as I washed my hair with a different
- Some people report getting headaches when they stop drinking coffee
or other beverages with caffeine.
Helpful Bacteria in Your Gut - read an
interesting article from Aetna's
InteliHealth Inc. site - "...friendly bacteria Lactobacillus
seemed to work even better, leaving most people migraine-free for a year
and lessening the intensity and frequency of recurring headaches in the
others, the lead researcher said."
- While migraine headaches do tend to run in families, I think a part
of this may be because families tend to eat similar food. In my experience
migraines can be mitigated
quite a bit by diet and alternative treatments such as trigger point therapy.
My husband's parents both suffer from migraine headaches, and he used
to get them when he was younger. But he has not had any in over 20 years.
I think this is because he eats a very different diet now that he is married
to me than he ate when he was younger. We make it a point to eat a lot
of magnesium rich foods, especially a lot of vegetables. He also does
take probiotics as needed for optimum intestinal bacteria, as noted below.