Suppose you have had a migraine before you know how it feels. Unlike normal headaches, you experience a higher intensity of pain that may last a few hours or days. Migraines cause pain on one side of the head and can increase when you do some things.
For instance, you may feel a greater intensity of a migraine when you see the light. Or sometimes, you begin to feel it more when there is noise in the environment. However, most people do not know that what you eat can also increase or reduce migraines' intensity.
In this article, we will delve into the specific foods that you need to avoid while experiencing a migraine and what you should eat.
What Foods Are Good For Migraines
As mentioned earlier, your diet can affect the intensity of migraines and the possibility of recovery from one. That means, there are possible migraine-friendly foods that you can eat to reduce the pain and get to good health quicker.
When you plan to take a preventive diet, you should start by taking natural foods. These are mostly whole-grain foods that are good for your health. You should avoid any refined foods that contain preservatives, sweeteners, and colorings.
Here are foods that you can incorporate in your diet if you regularly experience migraines or while experiencing one:
1. Grains and cereals
You must include whole grains in your diet as a way to reduce the intensity of migraines. Also, cereals and bread have proven to be effective in supporting recovery. However, you need to be careful about the specific foods to eat under these categories because some may not work to reduce these effects.
When going for cereals, you should try as much as possible to avoid cereals that contain nuts. Also, dried fruits are not good for migraines, and you should avoid cereals that contain them. However, you can include as much bread as you can and potato chips.
Things that you need to avoid under this category include freshly baked bread and pizza. Also, it is necessary to avoid flavored crackers as they are possible triggers. When going for potato chips, avoid the highly flavored type.
2. Seeds, nuts, and meat
Nuts and seeds are a good addition to your diet if you are experiencing migraines frequently. When choosing seeds, you should ensure they are as natural as possible and not refined. For example, you can consider pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, or sesame seeds. It is best when you get them fresh from the farm as they are more nutritious.
If considering meat, you also need to avoid refined and packaged meat, as mentioned earlier. The best thing to do is to get meat directly from animals and not supermarket shelves. Chicken, turkey, and veal are good additions to your diet. Also, you can add pork and fresh beef to it.
When going for meat, ensure you avoid the marinated type. Also, experts advise that most livers are not the best, especially chicken and beef. Besides, you should avoid nut kinds of butter and flavored popcorn as they trigger migraines causing further damage.
3. Salad dressings and sauces
When using salad dressings, you should remember that you are most likely to worsen the migraine if you buy and eat packaged salads. Most pre-packaged salads contain preservatives that may cause your migraine to deteriorate within a short time.
Therefore, you need to consider making salads at home. Mostly, homemade salads contain the necessary nutrients because you source natural ingredients that are beneficial to your body. Also, distilled oil salads are good for your health when dealing with migraines.
As mentioned earlier, packaged salad dressings contain nitrites. Also, more research shows that they contain MSG, which is another migraine trigger. Apart from that, you need to avoid red wine vinegar at all costs.
Experts have found out that aged cheese is another food you need to keep off. Every pre-packaged type contains either or all of these ingredients, and therefore you should avoid them completely.
4. Vegetables and fruits
Fruits are among the most recommended in a migraine-preventive diet. However, you also need to be careful with the fruits that you take. But as mentioned earlier, you need to start with ruling out pre-packaged fruits that contain preservatives.
The best fruits and vegetables to consider are freshly grown and acquired directly from the farm. Examples of vegetables to consider may include cauliflower and carrots. Also, on this list are fresh potatoes and Zucchini. Also, taking most of these foods raw to get the full nutritional value that your body needs to mitigate the migraine is advisable.
Things to avoid under this category can also include mashed potatoes that usually get sold in packaged boxes. Also, navy beans, citrus fruits, and dried foods that contain preservatives are not good for your migraine. You can also avoid onions as much as you can while keeping your migraine in check.
5. Include water in your diet
Regular intake of water is one of the main ways that you can prevent migraines. A dehydrated body is most likely to experience a migraine according to what researchers have found out. Therefore, staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you can do.
Experts advise that you should not wait to have headaches before you start taking water. Drinking water should be a continuous process before and after meals. Also, you can include some herbal teas as an alternative. Other drinks that do not contain migraine-triggering ingredients are also welcome to your diet.
If you plan to start a water-filled diet plan, you should aim to take at least 8 glasses daily. However, the intake may differ depending on several other factors. However, you should aim at drinking at least enough to keep your body going and keep migraines away from you. Also, take water when you feel slight headaches to reduce the chances of migraines.
Migraine triggers that you should avoid
After looking at the migraine-friendly foods, it is also necessary that you look at the foods you need to be wary of in your diet plan. In this section, we will look into the possible migraine triggers:
If you experience regular migraines, then alcohol is one of the things you need to keep off. Mostly, alcohol dehydrates the body leaving you with a headache. If you are already experiencing a migraine and take alcohol, the possibility of worsening your condition is high.
For instance, researchers have found that red wine triggers migraines in about 25% of people who have experienced one before. Therefore, it gets considered a major contributor that you should avoid by all means. Also, beers are in this same category making it necessary to watch your intake level.
When it comes to caffeine, there is a need to understand how it works to elevate migraines. First, there are sufficient quantities of caffeine and other portions that are not just enough for your body. You must maintain optimum amounts of caffeine in your diet.
You can experience migraines due to caffeine deficiency or taking too much of it to your body. According to researchers, caffeine is one of the most effective migraine preventions that you can take when you feel an oncoming headache. You can get this ingredient in chocolate, tea, or coffee.
3. Cured meats
Cured meats fall in the category that you need to avoid most if you are treating a migraine. The reason these meats can increase the intensity of migraines is that they contain nitrates as preservatives. As mentioned earlier, nitrites are not only bad for your health but also migraine-causing.
Manufacturers use nitrites to ensure that the meats can have a longer shelf life. Also, they use them to preserve the color of meat. Once you consume them, nitric oxide will get released into your blood system and spread into the brain, causing headaches that eventually become chronic.
4. Artificial sweeteners
Manufacturers use artificial sweeteners to add flavor to processed foods. The most commonly used sweetener is aspartame, which has many effects on the human body, including triggering migraines. However, there are other benefits that these sweeteners have to the body.
When recommended to certain people such as the diabetic, they should be careful not to take them excessively. Therefore, you can reduce or avoid such sweeteners if you experience frequent migraines.
5. Aged cheeses
Aged cheeses are another major thing to avoid when trying to recover from a migraine. They contain tyramine, which is a substance that is known to cause headaches and migraines. Cheese is a high protein food, and when it stays for long, there is a breakdown of proteins, which makes it produce this component.
Therefore, you need to consider the shelf-life of the cheese you are buying. Or you should ensure that animal-obtained cheese does not stay for long before consumption. The longer you keep it, the higher the breakdown of proteins to produce this component and eventually lead to migraines.
6. Foods containing MSG
Monosodium Glutamate is usually present in the human body but can also be acquired from various foods. Since it is available in the body, it is safe for humans but to an optimum level. When there is too much of this component, you are likely to experience a migraine.
According to researchers, 15% of people who experience regular migraines are likely to trigger them if they take foods that contain MSG. Most manufacturers have it in foods as a preservative, and therefore, you can consider reducing pre-packaged foods in your diet.
7. Fermented foods
As mentioned earlier, foods rich in proteins contain tyramine, which is not good for the human body. This component is usually present if foods that have stayed for long. That puts fermented foods on the spot because they have spent some days, weeks, or months before consumption.
During this fermentation period, the high breakdown of proteins will increase the tyramine levels in the food. That makes it easy to have a migraine as soon as you consume the food.
8. Salty foods
Another category of foods that you need to keep off is those containing a lot of sodium. According to experts, HBP is associated with high sodium levels. It, in turn, leads to migraines that may last from several hours to days. Therefore, you need to try as much as you can to do away with excess salt.
Most processing plants use excess salt and preservatives which are leading causes of migraines. When cooking at home, keep your salt intake in check.
Chocolate is a contributor to migraines because of its components. According to experts, it is one of the main contributors to migraines coming second after alcohol. Therefore, there is a need to keep your intake in check.
Researchers have found that up to 22% of people who experience regular migraines are likely to trigger them when they take chocolates. Caffeine is the main component in chocolates, and it is a migraine-causing element.
10. Frozen foods
It is essential to avoid frozen drinks and foods as much as you can. Other than increasing the intensity of migraines, these foods can also lead to the development of migraines. If you should eat frozen foods, be sure to be cautious when eating them.