The Link Between Food and Migraines: How to Identify and Avoid Your Triggers

You are what you eat is both a common and truthful statement. What you’re putting into your body directly affects your health and how you feel. For some with migraines, certain foods and ingredients in foods may be playing a bigger role in their life and the frequency of headaches then they realize.

Jose De La Torre, MD, specializes in relieving the chronic, debilitating pain of migraines. Dr. De La Torre also works closely with each migraine sufferer to uncover the triggers of their recurrent migraine headaches.

An overview of migraines

Migraines are a type of headache that cause a severe, throbbing pain on one side of your head. Migraine pain can also cause additional health issues, including:

Many people with migraines also see flashing lights or spots because of the severity of the pain.

Though your risk factors for migraines may be increased by your genetic history or due to underlying neurological conditions, what you’re eating may be aggravating the situation.

How food factors into migraines

There are several notable foods and beverages that are known to trigger migraines. These products include:

Preservatives like nitrates and nitrites are found in a variety of processed foods are also known to contribute to migraine pain.

It isn’t always easy to determine which foods are triggering your migraines, especially because your environment plays a role in migraine pain. Your lifestyle, activities, and your genetic makeup may all combine with certain food triggers to stimulate recurrent, painful migraines.

Finding out which foods influence your migraine pain can be a good first step to finding long-term relief of your painful headaches.

Learning to avoid food-related triggers

Becoming more diligent about what you eat can help you identify what foods you should avoid. Dr. De La Torre offers some advice for identifying which foods influence the frequency and severity of your migraines.

Keep a food diary

Keeping a food diary involves writing down all of the foods and drinks you consume throughout a day. Be sure to note the times you eat, what you eat, and how much you eat. When you develop the first pangs of a migraine, you can easily cross-reference the foods you ate prior to the start of your headache.

Pay attention to your head

Some foods can trigger a migraine within minutes of eating them, while others can take up to 24 hours to stimulate your headache. Pay attention to how you feel after meals throughout the day to better identify which foods may be responsible for your migraines.

Start eliminating triggers

If you can identify through your diary one or more foods that you ate before the start of a migraine, try eliminating them one at a time from your diet for at least a month. Continue to track your eating habits to determine if removing a certain food helps prevent new migraines.

Boost your overall diet

While you work through your food diary and take out potential migraine triggers, it’s also important that you eat healthy to maintain and improve your health.

Cut down on the amount of processed foods you eat, opting instead for more fresh vegetables and fruits. Limit sugars, salt, and caffeine to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

You also need to commit to eating five small meals a day, as skipping meals can also trigger a migraine and can deprive your body of the nutrition it needs to function properly.

If you need help identifying food-related migraine triggers or can’t find relief from migraines through dietary changes, schedule a consultation at New Tampa Interventional Pain & Sports Medicine today by calling the office or by requesting an appointment through the online booking system now.

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