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Migraines affect nearly three-million Canadians per year, has an impact on work, sleep, and life in general. Finding out what is causing your migraines can go a long way towards preventing them, and holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy joined us at Your Morning to discuss just that by looking at some of the foods that might be causing – and can help prevent – your migraines.
Diet plays a significant role for individuals with migraines, with food being one of the most common triggers. There are no specific foods or drinks that trigger migraines for everyone – however, there are certain foods that have been identified as culprits, including:
- Refined sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed grains
- Conventional dairy products
- Chocolate (still a bit of a trigger for me)
- Food additives: nitrates, sulfates, MSG
- Oranges and citrus fruits
Individuals with migraines may also be sensitive to histamines, which are chemicals in the body that play a role in our immune health, digestion, and central nervous system. Histamines also help modulate our inflammatory responses that cause the blood vessels in the body and brain to dilate and contract. When histamines accumulate in the body, they can result in a number of reactions, including migraine headaches. This reaction may also be related to the dilation of blood vessels in the brain triggered by a histamine reaction – so, here are some histamine-rich foods to avoid.
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, fermented cheese, yogurt, and kefir
- Vegetables: eggplant, avocados, spinach, tomatoes
- Seafood: shellfish or fish
- Citrus fruits: oranges, limes, lemons
- Dried fruits: raisins, dates, figs, prunes
- Nuts: walnuts, cashews, peanuts
- Processed meats and smoked fish
- Leftover foods: specifically, meats