Foods that Trigger Migraines


What substances/foods cause migraine?

Biogenic amines

Some foods, like chocolate, wine, beer or canned fish, have a high concentration of biogenic amines such as histamine, tyramine, phenylethylamine or serotonin. The excess in the body can cause headaches. On the other hand, the intake of tyramine along with drugs monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) used in the treatment of depression or anxiety, for example, it can trigger a hypertensive crisis characterized by headaches.


In products such as chocolate, tea or coffee, some phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, cancel the action of the enzymes that process the biogenic amines, with what is produced an increase in its level in the body, and therefore, the risk of migraine.

Food Additives:

The monosodium glutamate, aspartame is used to enhance the flavor of the food, the first, as a flavor enhancer and the second as a sweetener. Glutamate and aspartate, chemical components of these additives, are amino acids that act in the body as mediators of inflammation, which would explain the start of the migraine associated with the consumption of products carried by these additives, such as cooked products (pizzas, cannelloni), candy or pastry, among others.

Migraine and food allergy:

The association between food allergy and migraine is being investigated for decades. Back in the 1930s, it was established that two-thirds of the patients with headaches were experienced substantial improvements with elimination of diets. The contact between the allergen – protein food that is toxic for people with allergy – and an antibody that manufactures the body, immunoglobulin E specific (IgE), results in an increased cell release of histamine and other amines, which cause inflammation and that act as trigger for migraine in people with hypersensitive or allergic to certain foods. Among the foods identified as more allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, legumes (peanut and soybean), and some fruit (peach, apricot, Plum, cherry, strawberry and kiwi).

Once they are diagnosed with allergy or food intolerance, the migraine may disappear with an exclusion diet, in which does not contain the allergenic foods. And if the person does not have allergies, but if hypersensitivity to any food, would experience a marked improvement with the diet.

No prolonged fasting

Hypoglycemia (low level of glucose in the blood) caused by the prolonged fasting can trigger migraine. The sudden release of insulin by the pancreas after the consumption of foods rich in carbohydrates (breads, crackers, potatoes, beans, rice and pasta) after a prolonged fasting, can increase the availability of tryptophan in the brain, from which synthesizes a greater amount of serotonin, whose concentration is increased at the beginning of the crisis.

Foods that can alleviate:

Although some fruits (very ripe banana or avocado) can exacerbate the headache that accompanies migraines, it is certain that those who have a remarkable concentration of vitamin C or vitamin B2 can have an analgesic effect. A good orange juice, it will help relieve headache. The same could be said of the unsaturated fatty acids that are found in variable proportion in dried fruit, especially walnuts and almonds.

Produce headache

Foods with an abundance

Biogenic amines histamine, tyramine, phenylethylamine, serotonin Canned and semi-fish (tuna, sardines, anchovies), dry fermented sausages (chorizo, salami, salami, spicy sausage) ripened cheeses (Parmesan, Emmental, Gouda, Roquefort, Camembert, Manchego), liver meat and fish ( dried and smoked), fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, soy) and fresh (spinach, eggplant and tomatoes), alcoholic beverages (red wine, white, sparkling and beer) and yeast containing foods, fruits (very ripe banana, Avocado); chocolate.
Phenolics Chocolate, tea, coffee.
Additives Monosodium Glutamate: Broths and dehydrated soups, canned and semi-fish, sauces, precooked (pizzas, cannelloni, hash) Chinese food.
Aspartame: Confectionery (candy, gum, candies), pastry, bakery, confectionery and biscuits. Refreshments. Juices.


They relieve headache

Foods with an abundance

Vitamin C Guava, kiwi, citrus, tomatoes. Vitamin C acts as a natural analgesic and may inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins responsible for pain.
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin Milk and dairy, meats, whole grains. Clinical studies show that the intensity and duration alleviate migraine.
Unsaturated fatty acids Seed oils (sunflower, corn, soybean) nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, blue fish. Unsaturated fatty acids reduces platelet aggregation and inflammation, mechanisms of onset of migraine.

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