Unfortunately, the reason you are probably here, reading this, is because you, or a loved one, suffer from migraines. However, if you are lucky enough to never have suffered such a thing, here is a brief explanation as to what migraines actually are: Migraines are headaches, that vary in intensity from person to person. Some people may be able to go about their day to day lives while experiencing a migraine, despite the pain they are feeling. However, others find it so painful that they struggle to deal with light and noise and the experience is overall debilitating.
Headaches generally can leave us feeling fed up, agitated and hopeless, as we try to tackle day to day tasks, while also feeling that dreaded throbbing in our heads. Quite often, all we want to do when these begin is curl up in bed, switch off all surrounding technology and sleep. But, we don’t all have this luxury, as our lives are too demanding to sit still for even five minutes, let alone to wait for a headache to pass.
It may be that you have spent night after night ‘googling’ different headache and migraine remedies with no luck. Well, we are here to tell you that you may actually need to approach this from a different angle. Maybe, instead of looking at remedies for an already apparent headache, you need to begin to look at preventative measures to prevent the onset of a migraine in the first place. That is where we come in. You may have got this far and started to wonder ‘why is a food blog giving me advice on migraine prevention?’ Well, one of the most common ‘triggers’ for a migraine is the food we are eating. We have collected together a list of foods that could potentially be triggering these nasty migraines.
Maybe, instead of looking at remedies for an already apparent headache, you need to begin to look at preventative measures to prevent the onset of a migraine in the first place.
According to new research done in the past few years, the high salt content in some aged cheeses (such as Cheddar and Gouda) are said to bring on migraines. Although ‘cheese’ doesn’t directly link to migraines as such, the high salt content in aged cheeses can result in dehydration – and we know what that means. If we are dehydrated, we are more likely to experience these debilitating headaches that might cause us to be light and noise sensitive. If you know you’re going to eat an aged cheese-heavy meal, then maybe up the water intake that day to help avoid that migraine.
About to order your favorite spicy takeaway? You might want to read this first. According to some research, foods such as chili peppers and Jalapeños may be the reason you are experiencing that migraine. It has been said that the spicier the food, the more likely someone is to experience a headache after eating. If spicy foods are a staple part of your diet, perhaps try to lay off the spice a little. You don’t have to sacrifice flavor, just because your meal isn’t spicy. Try looking up some different alternatives for your spice-loving taste buds and your head might thank you for it.
It has been said that the spicier the food, the more likely someone is to experience a headache after eating. If spicy foods are a staple part of your diet, perhaps try to lay off the spice a little.
Chocoholics might want to be sitting down for this next bit. Yes, you’ve read it right. Chocolate may be causing your migraines. Although there haven’t been extensive amounts of research proving this to be the case, many people have reported getting headaches after consuming chocolate. What we found particularly unfair, however, is that your body may actually crave this sugary treat to indicate you are about to have a migraine. The reason for this is that your favorite milky snack can actually work as pain relief and help you to deal with the symptoms of a migraine – talk about mixed messages. So, maybe next time you reach for that chocolate bar, think twice about whether you could replace it with another, equally as satisfying, treat.
What is your go-to pick me up in the morning? If it is coffee, it may be what is causing you to have that awful migraine in the day. Although caffeine can wake you up and give you that boost of energy you need to get going in the morning, it may actually be the thing that makes you lack energy later on – again, this is a bit unfair, right? Funnily enough, just like our beloved chocolate, caffeine may actually help to relieve headaches too. But unfortunately, as we learnt with chocolate, it can have very negative effects. You might not have realized it, but your body may have become reliant on your morning pick-me-up. If you truly have become dependent on that morning brew, it may be if you avoid it altogether, you could experience something called a ‘withdrawal headache.’ It is important to note that caffeine isn’t only in your coffees; it is also found in teas, cakes and other snacks you might have day to day. Keep an eye on your caffeine content and see whether you notice a pattern between the headaches and that energy booster.
Although the foods we have mentioned are only a handful of things that may be causing your migraines, they are certainly a start. If you think one of these delicious temptations are triggering a bad headache, try and cut it out altogether. You may not notice an improvement right away, but trial your new diet for a week or so. If cutting out one thing makes a difference, then maybe find an alternative. For example, if coffee is the culprit, switch up your usual Starbucks order to a decaf. Other factors can obviously trigger a headache, such as dehydration and stress, so do make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and practicing self-care when you can. We hope this is the start of a headache-free journey, but remember to consult a doctor if things do get really bad, don’t suffer in silence.
Article by Rebecca Thomas