Whenever you start to feel a throbbing sharp pounding pain on one side of your head, you know a migraine is about to hit. Sometimes a migraine may come on without warning, but many times you will have warning symptoms. You may know them as auras. Then you may experience blurring or bright spots in your vision. Anxiety, fatigue, disturbed thinking, numbness or tingling on one side of the body may also happen.
When you first notice a migraine coming on there’s a pretty good chance that an accumulation of several triggers is occurring at the same time. These triggers all affect your calming hormone called serotonin and when they all happen at one time, you, my friend have a full blown migraine. The great news is you can stop the triggers.
The top common triggers of migraines are stress, food allergies, histamine-releasing foods, red wine or alcohol, hormonal changes (menstruation, ovulation, birth control pills) and weather changes, especially barometric pressure changes.
Here are the most common food culprits:
- Any food that contains tyramine or phenylethylamine, two amino acids found in chocolate (sorry), aged or fermented cheese, including cheddar, blue, Brie, and all hard and “moldy” cheeses, and vinegar, both red and balsamic.
- Caffeine – People with sensitivity to caffeine can develop migraines after drinking coffee, black tea, cola soft drinks, or other caffeinated beverages. But caffeine can also be used to stop a migraine that is just beginning — that’s why many over-the-counter migraine medications contain caffeine. Test your personal response to caffeine: If it gives you headaches, avoid it.
- Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener, which is also a migraine trigger. Diet sodas, light yogurts, sugar-free candies, low-calorie desserts, and other foods and beverages made with this artificial sweetener (also known as NutraSweet and Equal) will trigger migraines.
- Common Additives: Many other food additives are also known to increase the chances for a migraine include monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast extract, hydrolyzed or autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), sodium caseinate, and kombu extract (often used in Japanese foods). Check labels carefully and avoid foods that contain these additives.
- Sulfites are another preservative and are commonly found in most dried fruits, wine (white and red), and most processed foods. Check labels carefully to avoid this sneaky migraine triggers.
- Nitrites are found in hot dogs, deli meats, and pepperoni and are a common trigger for migraines. Used mostly as a preservative and for added flavor, nitrites are also found in sausages (including chicken, turkey, and soy sausages), jerky (beef and turkey), corned beef, or other foods that have been cured, smoked, pickled, or canned. To stay safe, look for nitrite-free varieties at the grocery store and steer clear of them when eating out.
- Leftovers – Weird huh? Because tyramine content increases over time, especially if food is improperly stored, migraine sufferers should avoid eating leftovers. Be mindful of this when eating at parties or at the office — both are typical places where food is left unrefrigerated for long periods of time. Try to eat your leftovers the next day and always make sure you use airtight containers. Lock & Lock containers are BPA free and water tight which stops air from getting into the container.
- Beer, red wine, sherry, and vermouth contain large amounts of tyramine, one of the most powerful migraine triggers. A bigger reason to steer clear of alcohol is that any type of alcohol causes dehydration, which is a major cause of headaches. If you’re drinking, it’s always a good idea to alternate alcoholic drinks with water or seltzer — but if alcohol is a trigger for your migraines, it’s best to refrain completely.
- Prescription Drugs can cause Migraines – BE CAREFUL! Several articles that I read said that approximately seventy percent of patients with chronic daily headaches suffer from drug-induced headaches. So read the side effects of your migraine medication or any medication you are currently taking.
What Can a Migraine Sufferer Do to Stop Her Headaches? Begin by eliminating the common food triggers and stick with a plant-based diet. Really pay close attention to what upsets you and determine how to eliminate the stressors in your life. It’s really a domino effect. If you eliminate harmful foods and harmful mind stressors, your hormones will balance out resulting in a much calmer you! Not only will your migraines cease, but you are going to feel so much better overall.
Here are the nutritional supplements I recommend that will be very helpful for you to add to your whole foods diet. They are listed in the order of importance although all of them are very beneficial. Just click on the product for a quick link to Amazon.
- Now Foods Magnesium Citrate is a great choice. Low levels of magnesium may also play a significant role in many cases of migraine and tension headaches. Low magnesium levels cause both migraine and tension headaches. The recommended dosage is 150 to 250 mg. three times daily. Always choose Magnesium citrate, malate, or aspartate.
- Naturewise 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a great product that really works. It has been shown to be as effective as drug therapy, but definitely safer. 5-HTP is great for calming you down, relieving stress and helps you to have a great night’s sleep.
- Natural Factors’ RxOmega-3 Factors is a true pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement. Fish oil is so healing for many other reasons too, like lubrication for your joints and skin. Take two capsules daily.
- Petadolex®, is a standardized extract from the butterbur plant that has been very effective to stop migraines because it improves and strengthens the tone and circulation of blood vessels. Unlike prescription drugs that can cause serious side effects, butterbur has no side effects. 75 mg. per day is recommended.
- Nutiva Plant Protein is such a great product. It is a great tasting “greens drink” that is delicious and filled with nutritional nourishment to help heal your body. Add it to a breakfast smoothie for a great start to your health-driven day.
My Friend, I know migraines are awful and can leave you unable to function. I sincerely hope this information will be helpful to you. I can’t wait to hear about all the fun stuff you are doing now that your are migraine-free!
I love you to Health,