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Migraines are painful and debilitating headaches that affect an estimated 28 million Americans.
The exact cause of migraines is still unknown, but researchers believe it has something to do with a blood vessel contractions, changes in the brain and possible inherited neurological dysfunctions.
Migraine pain can be moderate to severe and it described as a pounding, throbbing pain. Other symptoms of migraines include sensitivity to light, noise, or odors; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and stomach upset or abdominal pain.
Children can get migraines too. They often exhibit symptoms like looking pale, nausea, fever, blurred vision and dizziness.
The headaches can last from four hours to more than two days and usually occur from once a month to once a week. They can last from four hours to three days and usually occur one to four times per month.
While there isn’t a specific migraine diet, certain trigger founds have been found to play a role in the onset of a migraine episode. For migraine sufferers, identifying these trigger foods is usually done by experimentation as individual migraine sufferers have different reactions to certain foods.
Neurological researchers believe certain foods may influence the release of serotonin, a kind of neurotransmitter. By interrupting the flow of serotonin, blood vessels can become constricted or dilated. In addition, certain foods may stimulate certain areas of the brain and neural pathways, which can then play a role in the onset of a migraine attack.
In general, a migraine diet is a kind of an elimination diet of certain identified trigger foods. The most common foods or ingredients that have been associated with migraines are certain additives like MSG and nitrates as well as aged and fermented foods, although the list of potential migraine trigger foods is very long. Sensitivities to certain foods or additives can vary greatly from migraine sufferer to migraine sufferer. Therefore, the best Migraine Diet comes from the individual experimenting with their diet, reading food labels carefully and recording what they ate and their reactions to foods consumed through a food journal or food log.
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- Helps the migraine sufferer connect how what they eat affects their health
- Many of the migraine trigger foods are not healthy, so avoiding them promotes a healthy lifestyle
- Promotes the feeling of self-empowerment
- Not eating certain migraine-trigger foods is much less expensive and less invasive than taking migraine medications
- Diet may vary from person to person
- Food may not be the only solution or the only cause to migraine attacks
- Diet can be very restrictive
According to a study published in the journal Pediatric Neurology, the following is a list of foods, beverages, and additives that are believed to trigger migraine attacks
- Citrus fruits
- Hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon, sausage and pepperoni
- Monosodium glutamate
- High fat or fried foods
- Ice cream
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Alcoholic drinks, especially red wine and beer
In addition, chemicals in foods called amines, such as tyramine, phenylethylamine, and histamine may also be triggers
Such foods include: - Aged cheeses - Fermented foods like soy sauce, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut - Yogurt - Smoked foods - Cured or pickled meats, fish or vegetables - Breads or carbohydrates made with yeast
A Migraine Diet should involve eating regular meals, every few hours as skipping meals may play a part in triggering an attack. Making sure you are properly hydrated is also important.
Since abstaining from all of these potential migraine trigger foods is not a realistic life-long solution, keeping a food diary will help to identify known culprits and filter out those that have no impact on migraine attacks.EXERCISE
In general, if someone has a migraine, engaging in high impact exercise should be avoided.CONCLUSION
Diet may not be a complete solution to a migraine attack, but it may offer a partial solution that reduces the frequency of your attacks or lessens the intensity of them. The most effective way to determine what kind a role diet plays in your migraine episodes is to maintain a food diary that records what you are eating and how you feel after consuming them. It is also important to read food labels, especially if you suspect an additive like nitrate or MSG is a contributing factor to your attacks.
Speak with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet, particularly if you are taking any medication.Common Misspellings
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