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To determine what triggers your migraines, keep a food log and look for patterns. That’s how you start to eliminate food triggers.
Migraine triggers are very individualized. Certain factors can trigger a migraine, but remember, everyone is different, with a range of sensitivities. That’s especially true when it comes to food and drink, where different products and recipes can trigger severe headaches. Therefore, meals and beverages require an extra dose of self-awareness. A long don’t-eat-this list is not recommended.
Many attacks of migraine have identifiable triggers, although many won’t. Often a migraine occurs during a “perfect storm,” like missing a meal during the time of menstruation. It is also important to recognize that the triggers are not the cause of the headache; therefore if one had an attack following a glass of red wine, and another time had wine without producing a headache, it does not mean that the wine was irrelevant the first time.
It is important to remember that most patients never identify a specific trigger. Also, if you find a trigger, it may not always be consistent. A particular food may only trigger an attack once in awhile, which can make it even more difficult to manage. Common triggers include alcohol, aged cheeses, sausage meats, organ meats, heavily processed foods containing MSG, chocolate, and NutraSweet. Other triggers include stress, weather changes, alteration in sleep patterns, missing meals, and the menstrual cycle.
Keep a diary. Every time you have a headache, record it on a calendar. Think back over the past 24 hours and record what you ate or anything that stands out as unusual. Over time you may find a pattern.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.