What Role Does Diet Play In Migraines

15/01/2024, Lanserhof

The exact causes of migraine are still not fully understood. However, many scientists assume that the brain of sufferers reacts more sensitively than the brain of healthy people because of their predisposition. Sudden changes in the body, such as hormone fluctuations or changes in external influences, can trigger a headache attack. These internal and external factors, however, are not the actual cause but the trigger of pain attacks.

The migraine triggers are very individual for each sufferer. One person is burdened by the change between rest and stress, another by an altered sleeping rhythm. Certain foods and stimulants are also said to provoke attacks.

Which foods are considered possible migraine triggers?

Histamine is a natural substance that acts as a signal transmitter or neurotransmitter in the brain and is involved in inflammatory reactions. In some people, the breakdown of histamine is dysfunctional and they have a histamine intolerance. The consumemore histamine, this can be a trigger for migraine.

Tyramine – a neurotransmitter – is also considered a trigger. Studies on this still vary: Some show a positive effect on migraine, others reveal no connection at all.

With regard to histamine and tyramine, it makes sense to avoid the following foods:

  • Matured cheeses
  • Cured sausages
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Smoked fish
  • Wine and beer

There are also other specific ingredients that can trigger a migraine:

  • Glutamate: flavour enhancer in many ready meals, crisps and condiments.
  • Aspartame: artificial sweetener in light products and sweets
  • Nitrite: preservative in meat and sausage

The 10 golden roles for migraine patients

The Migraine League Germany has defined important tips for migraine sufferers.

  1. Avoid taking painkillers regularly for more than 10 days in order to prevent a permanent headache due to overuse of medication.
  2. Keep a headache diary to document triggers.
  3. Review your diet and avoid excess fat, sweets, citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol and nicotine. Eat regularly and healthily. Avoid foods that have been found to be intolerant.
  4. Take breaks and make sure to relax in the form of yoga, light endurance sports, autogenic training, etc.
  5. Try to avoid excessive noise and be careful not to expose yourself to strong light or sunlight.
  6. Be more calm and avoid having too (high) expectations of yourself and others.
  7. Learn to say no and do not overexert yourself. Always try to reduce psychological burdens such as worries, responsibilities and stress if possible.
  8. Talk to your doctor about prophylactic medication to prevent longer-lasting migraine attacks.
  9. Pay attention to yourself and your body’s signals.
  10. You are not alone with your illness. Joining a support group for migraine patients can be helpful for sufferers.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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