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Foods To Avoid If You Are Having Constant Headaches


Foods To Avoid If You Are Having Constant Headaches

Some substances in certain foods we eat act as triggers for migraines.

If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, you may need to ask yourself how much what you eat can influence the occurrence of these episodes. Have you observed if they occur when you eat in a Chinese restaurant? Or when you have had a significant amount of sausages or smoked meats? Consuming certain foods can be a trigger for headaches, although it is important to distinguish between the different types of headaches. If it is a tension headache, in which some factors such as tension or stress may intervene.

 The direct influence of food on the appearance of pain is not scientifically proven, according to Dr. Domingo Carrera, a nutritionist at the Medical-Surgical Center for Digestive Diseases, but if it is a migraine, it has been proven the link between the consumption of certain foods and their ability to influence the appearance of these pains. It is what could be described as "trigger" foods, whose influence can occur in people who suffer from migraine, whether or not it has been diagnosed.

The origin and evolution of migraine is something that is still under study because, as indicated by Dr. Carrera, the exact reasons why it appears in some people and not in others are still unknown. And in the case of "trigger" foods, something similar happens since although the substances by which some foods can function as headache triggers have been described, the truth is that although the list of foods with these substances is extensive More scientific evidence is needed to prepare a homogeneous list because, as the expert points out, the food that can be a trigger for some people with migraine, for others it is not.

Foods That Trigger Migraines

Smoked foods, marinades, alcoholic beverages (especially red, white and rosé wines; cava and beer), chocolate, aged cheeses, most cold meats, canned fish (mackerel, tuna, sardines), fermented foods (sauerkraut, sauerkraut), soybeans, spicy foods, walnuts, some vegetables such as spinach and fruits such as bananas are on the list of foods that contain substances that could trigger episodes migraine. However, as Dr. Carrera insists, this list is extensive and it is important to clarify that not all foods affect all people with migraine or all in the same way or with the same intensity. But what substances are we talking about?

One of the substances that is linked to the appearance of these episodes of pain is histamine, present, for example, in canned fish.

Also they influence the nitrites and nitrates, whose mission is to prevent the rapid deterioration of food and often found in smoked and some sausages.

The sulfites present in wine and forming part of the maturation of this beverage may also be a trigger for migraines.

And the same happens with monosodium glutamate, a food additive that can be found in soy sauce and is common in a large number of so-called "Chinese food" dishes. In addition, in its natural form it is a non-essential amino acid that is found in foods such as tomatoes, cheese, meats, mushrooms or spinach.

In the case of chocolate and nuts, the possibility of them influencing people with migraines is due, as Dr. Carrera explains, to their content of tyramine , a derivative of an amino acid that acts as a vasoactive in the human body. It is also present in mature cheese, chicken liver, and herring and sardines.

Other substances that are talked about as possible triggers are phenylethylamine (present in chocolate, eggs, bananas, soybeans and nuts) and tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids that plays a key role in the production of serotonin and melatonin and that is present in chocolate, eggs, dairy products and blue fish, among others.

Citrus fruits are also cited in some studies, especially in the case of lemon and grapefruit.

On the other hand, the expert highlights that every day a pathology called DAO deficiency occurs more frequently, which is an alteration in the metabolism of food histamine and that occurs when the activity of the enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO) is reduced. It is an enzyme that catabolizes many metabolic processes in the body and its deficit causes symptoms in the digestive system but also frequent headaches.

What is usually done to alleviate the symptoms of this pathology is, according to Dr. Carrera, to withdraw regularly and temporarily the consumption of foods with histamine (the list is extensive and they are usually rich and commonly consumed foods, so it is something that is usually overwhelming for patients) and then gradually reintroduce them until it is regulated.

How To Know If Food Affects You

Before consulting a professional, the ideal is to prepare a diary of food intakes, relevant issues, hours of sleep and migraine episodes (marking the intensity) since the association of both is what can help identify the factors or the "trigger" foods. In order to do it correctly, Dr. Carrera proposes to test foods in moderate quantities in isolation and check if some of them trigger headaches. In the event that you have doubts about any of them, it is advisable to repeat the process or the test to have a clearer answer.

Foods That "Decongest" The Head

One of the mechanisms that can trigger a migraine is the vasodilation of the veins and arteries of the cerebral cortex, as this increases intracranial pressure and can be one of the bases that causes migraine. That is why, according to Dr. Carrera, some substances contained in food that can help to decongest or relieve the head are considered as cerebral vasoconstrictors. This is the case, for example, of caffeine. It is true that, as the expert points out, coffee has also appeared on the list of possible triggers for migraine, although the studies that classify it as a cerebral vasoconstrictor and protector are more numerous.

Substances that exert an anti-inflammatory effect, such as omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, present in oily fish, in EVOO and in some nuts, for example, can also be cited as "protective".

The vitamin C, potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory also listed food that protect against natural degeneration of neurons, equal to vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, folic acid and selenium.



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