15 Apr 2015

Food triggers of migraine and their control

Migraine attack in a particular patient is precipitated by certain triggers.One of the important trigger is food that you eat.Food trigger vary from person to person.The intensity of attack of headache produced by particular food also vary.If you have another trigger apart from food on the particular day there is increased chance of getting migraine.

Food related triggers is seen in approximately 10 percentage of people with migraine.It can be due to intake of certain food substances or food additives and preservatives or lack of food.Sometime there may be craving for particular food before an attack of migraine.

Missing meals and insufficient food intake is one of the most common and important trigger for your migraine attack.This is because decreased food intake lead to decrease in blood glucose level which is strong migraine trigger.If you are a migriane sufferer avoid skipping meals.Donot eat sugary snacks instead you should take care to eat a balanced diet.If you want to control your attacks consume nutritious snacks at regular interval. 

Food substance that act as migraine trigger are the following
According to national headache foundation following are the foods commonly associated with migraine (list is partial).Food agents that are frequently associated are aged cheese,processed food,salted foods.
1. Ripened cheeses (such as cheddar, Emmentaler, Brie ,Camembert and Stilton)
As the cheese ripenes or ages the proteins in it break down to a substance called Tyramine.Tyramin is the culprit substance for headache aggrevation.Longer the cheese ages the higher the tyramin contents it has.This tyramin content is high especially in  soft cheeses like brie and camembert blue cheese,Swiss cheese,all hard cheeses and  moldy  cheeses.If you want to avoid a migraine attack avoid these aged cheese.
2. Chocolate 
Many people experience food craving and increased appetite just before a migraine attack.So just before the migraine you may have a tendency to eat chocolate, so reaching for chocolate seems to be a result of migraine attack than its cause.Studies have showed that cocoa in chocolate may protect the nerves that is involved in migraine attack about 22 percentage of people experience it as a migraine trigger.
3. Ice Cream
Some migraine sufferes experience migraine aggrevation following intake of ice cream and other cold foods.This is especially when you eat cold ice cream too fast.If you are overheated there is increased chance of headache.This headache rapidly subsides.If you want to eat icecream and cold food drink or eat slowly.
4. Certain fruits especially banana.
Banana contains tyramin and the concentration of tyramin is 10 times higher in banana peel than banana pulp.So if you have identified it as your trigger while eating banana avoid the delicate inner peel that might stick on to it.
Other fruits such as citrus fruits,figs,papaya,avocado,red plums are all migraine triggers.
5. Caffeine
Excessive amounts that is more than 2 cups of caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee or cola.
Effect of caffeine on migraine depends on its dose so it is included in headache medications.At lower doses caffeine actually reduces headache,but it act as a trigger when your daily intake is high.To experience the withdrawal headache you need to take about 200 mg that is about 2 to 3 cup daily.
6. Tannins
Tannins are that agent which give the astringent taste to food, and  act as a strong migraine trigger in some people.Food that contain tannins are tea, apple juice and cider,red-skinned apples and pears, and red wine.
7. Alcohol
Alcohol precipitate migraine headache through different mechanism. 
a. Beer, red wine vermouth  and sherry, all have high tyramine content.Tyramine is the agent that produce migraine trigger.
b. Alcohol also produce headache by decreasing the hydration.If  you have migraine better avoid alcohol.
c. Alcohol dilate the blood vessels in brain and increases the blood flow resulting in migraine. 
Among alcohol redwine is strongly related to migraine because of it high tyramine content and sulfite in redwine which is used as a preservative.
Other migraine triggers are
• Marinated, pickled, or fermented food
• Sour cream
• Nuts, peanut butter
• Sourdough bread
• Broad beans, lima beans, fava beans, snow peas
If the food is improperly stored the levels of tyramine increases and migraine sufferers experience headache following intake of such food.
Dehydration can produce migraine attack ,so drink atleast 10 to 12 glasses of water daily.
Food additives are commonly associated with migraine.

What you should do to avoid food trigger for migraine?
1.To identify your food trigger make  a list of food substance that you have consumed daily.Identify what all food that you have consumed on the day of migraine exacerbation.Avoid those foods.
2.There are certain foodsubstances that helps to reduce the migraine headache such as gingerjuice,ghee,butter and green tea.Antioxidants in green tea helps to reduce the headche.It is better to use green tea mixed with lemon juice.
3.Take food at regular time. 
4.Avoid fasting and skipping meals which  reduce the blood glucose level and  produces headache.
5.Adequate hydration helps to reduce headche, so drink plenty of water.
6.If you have migraine avoid alcohol especially redwine and whisky.

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