While light sensitivity, stress, changes in wake-sleep patterns, and hormonal shifts in women are just a few factors that may be triggering your migraines. Another likely contributor may be your favorite foods.
According to the World Health Organization, the recurrent disorder is prevalent in about 50 percent of adults. Other experts report that more than 37 million people suffer from migraines — estimating that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraines suffered are chronic.
Among those suffering from migraines experience symptoms such as nausea, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and throbbing pulsating pain research reveals that the following (among others) are impacted the most:
Women (18 percent of women compared to 6 percent of men)
People between the ages of 35 and 55
Lowest income groups
So what foods are placing you at risk?
Alcohol — One out of 3 people who have migraines say alcohol is a trigger, research says.
MSG — A food additive (used to enhance flavor) contained in a wide range of processed, packaged, and restaurant foods, beverages, and condiments. Studies show it causes migraines in up to 15% of people.
Caffeine – Coffee lovers beware – while some coffee may be helpful in some cases – as it’s a key ingredient in pain relievers like Excedrin Extra Strength. Consuming more than 120 mg a day (recommended), missing that extra cup of Joe can lead to withdrawal symptoms – such as migraines.
Beans – The tannin in beans like string beans, kidney beans, lima beans and so on is thought to be a trigger, experts say.
Avocado – Believe it or not, America’s favorite fruit is also a culprit. Containing tyramine, this healthy fat has been linked to severe headaches.
Pizza – Blame the yeast. A naturally occurring chemical called coumarin is thought to be a trigger.
Processed meats – Tying back to MSG, the tyramine and preservatives found in processed fish, chicken, beef, and so on have been linked to migraine sufferers.
Aged cheeses – Once again, the tyramine in foods like brie, swiss cheese, and bleu cheese is thought to be a culprit.
Whole milk – Choline and casein have also been blamed for causing migraines.
What are some smarter choices?
Meanwhile, experts urge sufferers to keep a food diary to better pinpoint dietary triggers. Once you’ve discovered what foods may be causing your migraines, remove them from your diet, one at a time, for at least 30 days. Keep a log of how often you have headaches as well as the intensity. If there’s no relief, you may need to talk to your doctor about other possible triggers.