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What foods trigger migraines?

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Quick Answer

Chocolate, alcoholic beverages, drinks with caffeine, foods with tyramine and tannins, and artificial sweeteners have been blamed for triggering migraine headaches. Monitoring consumption of these foods is an important first step in managing vulnerability to these debilitating headaches, as stated by WebMD.

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Alcoholic beverages are one of the most commonly cited food triggers for migraine headaches. In some people, it only takes a couple of sips of beer or wine to lead to instant head pain, and red wine is frequently blamed for beginning migraines; however, drinking any type of alcohol precipitates migraines in people who are prone to them, notes WebMD.

Caffeine both helps and harms headache patients. Caffeine makes absorption of some medicines for pain more efficient; however, excess caffeine can lead to migraines. Keeping caffeine consumption beneath 200 milligrams per day or drinking fewer than four 12-ounce sodas ensures healthy levels, according to WebMD.

Chocolate cravings often pave the way for migraines, but the fact that these cravings can become stronger thanks to hormonal alterations and stress, which are two other triggers for migraines, makes this causal connection a little less reliable. The cravings for chocolate may also be a warning that a headache is coming rather than the cause itself, states WebMD.

Tyramine appears in avocados, pork, aged cheeses, overripe bananas, processed meats, chocolate and nuts, and tannins appear in apple juice, red wine, chocolate, coffee and tea. All of these have been linked to migraine by some sufferers as has the artificial sweetener aspartame. Maintaining a food diary helps migraine sufferers develop their own lists of foods to avoid, notes WebMD.

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