It’s hard to imagine fearing an orange. Or a teaspoon of vinegar. Or a banana. But that’s exactly how many people feel. They’re convinced that eating certain foods will bring on a major whopper of a headache. Is this a legit concern?
“Although many people believe that some foods may trigger a migraine, the evidence remains a bit fuzzy,” says Elizabeth Loder, MD, MPH, the chief of the Division of Headache and Pain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and who along with Paul Rizzoli MD wrote the just-released The Migraine Solution.
Loder points out that it’s especially challenging to track food triggers because different foods may affect different people in different ways. There’s also no consensus about how long it might take a dietary culprit to set off a headache so it’s difficult to pin down which foods are the real trouble makers.
For example, chocolate is one food in particular where the research is mixed. You may believe that chocolate sets off a migraine, but Loder notes that a craving for chocolate could be an early warning sign that a migraine is about to strike rather than its cause. “You have to be cautious and not jump to conclusions about how the two things are linked,” she points out.
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