This is a guest post by Amara Khalid
Often the cause of migraines is associated with substances found in commonly consumed food items as well as lifestyle and dietary preferences. By avoiding intake of some of these food triggers not only can you control the intensity of a migraine headache but adapting your dietary habits can prevent the onset of a migraine attack saving you from the agonizing pain and discomfort associated with this condition.
There have been numerous clinical studies and experiments on establishing lists of foods that lead to migraine headaches. Of these some of the most commonly reported food triggers include:
� Carbonated Drinks
� Hot dogs
� Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners
� Fatty foods
� Ice cream
� Too much or too little caffeine
� Certain citrus fruits
� Dried or smoked fish
Research evidence suggests avoiding foods containing certain chemicals for preventive treatment of migraines. These include:
Tyramine- A naturally found chemical is some foods; it results from the breakdown of protein as food ages. The quantity of tyramine is said to increase as food is allowed to age. Although the quantity of tyramine present in different types of cheese depends upon differences in processes of fermentation, degradation and aging; high levels of tyramine are found in:
� Blue cheeses
� Processed cheese
Monosodium Glutamate- Monosodium glutamate is a high sodium containing chemical often sold under the name ‘flavor enhancer’. It is widely used in the preparation of various Chinese dishes and often reported to have caused migraine headaches. It is also present in commercial soups, soy sauce and salad dressings.
Alcohol-Some foods are influence the intensity of migraines by influencing serotonin levels in the brain. Low serotonin levels are associated with a constriction or dilation of blood vessels which can initiate a migraine attack. Long term use of alcohol drinks has the effect of lowering serotonin levels. Of these red wine, whiskey and beer are most commonly associated with headaches.
Additives-Certain additives such as sodium nitrates, yellow dye and aspartame are known to be migraine triggers. Preservatives containing nitrates tend to dilate blood vessels causing pain. Processed food such as ready meals, cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages are all high preservative containing foods and should be avoided.
Food related migraines typically begin within 20-30 minutes of consuming a trigger. Once you are confident of the triggers causing your migraines, it is best to slowly reduce your intake and rely on fresh, natural and nutritious meals as opposed to excessive consumption of processed and packaged food.