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What Foods Trigger Migraines?
What Foods Trigger Migraines?
July 25/2023

What Foods Trigger Migraines?

Migraines are more than just a headache; they are a neurological condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. While the exact cause of migraines is complex, certain foods and beverages have been identified as potential triggers for these debilitating episodes. In this brief article brought to you by Southern Maryland Medical Group, we will explore common food and beverage triggers for migraines.

The purpose of this article is informational, and you should not take it as medical advice. It’s important to seek professional medical advice for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Call Southern Maryland Medical Group if you would like to consult with a licensed primary care physician.

Aged Cheese

Cheese lovers beware! While not everyone is susceptible, you may find that indulging in these delightful dairy treats can lead to painful headaches. As much as we love the rich flavors of aged cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, and blue cheese, they may contain high levels of tyramine! This naturally occurring compound is associated with migraine triggers.

Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine

Caffeine is a huge part of our culture. Caffeinated beverages, in moderation, keeps us going and can sometimes provide relief for headaches. However, too much caffeine or sudden caffeine withdrawal can lead to an unexpected onset of migraines. As a stimulant, caffeine affects blood flow and can cause headaches in certain individuals.

Alcohol: Toast Responsibly

Among celebrations and social gatherings, alcohol can prove to be a tricky trigger for those susceptible to migraines. Red wine, in particular, contains tyramine and other vasoactive compounds that can contribute to the onset of headaches. While wine and aged cheese is a beloved treat for many, this combination is also a risky one.

Though life is worth living, individuals prone to migraines should be mindful of their alcohol intake, opt for beverages with lower migraine-inducing compounds, and drink responsibly to reduce potential triggers.

Processed Meats

The convenience and flavor of processed meats like bacon, sausages, and deli meats can come at a cost for migraine sufferers. These meats often contain nitrates and nitrites, which some studies have linked to migraines in certain individuals. When indulging in processed meats, it's best to do so in moderation and consider exploring nitrate-free alternatives to minimize potential triggers.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the realm of savory flavors, MSG plays a role. This flavor enhancer is found in many restaurant and processed foods. While the evidence on MSG as a migraine trigger is not definitive, some individuals report headaches after consuming foods high in this flavor enhancer.

Final Notes

There are many other known food triggers of migraines. Fermented foods like pickles, nuts and seeds, and garlic and onions, too, are on the long list of potential causes. The important thing to do is be mindful of triggers and onsets, and moderate your consumption of those foods and beverages.

Most importantly, you should seek professional medical advice if your migraines are chronic and/or severe. Primary care doctors are best equipped to help you manage migraines and even develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique circumstances.

Call Southern Maryland Medical Group to schedule a convenient appointment today. We are also happy to arrange a walk-in appointment for as soon as possible.

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Southern Maryland Medical Group has 3 convenient locations to provide professional medical care services in the Southern Maryland area. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our locations to get medical care help. 

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Camp Springs, MD

5801 Allentown Road, Suite 400 Camp Spring, MD 20746

Phone: 301-868- 0150

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-868-0243

Greenbelt, MD

7500 Greenway Center, Dr #1200 Greenbelt, MD 20770

Phone: 301-486-7580

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Fax: 301-486-7581

Riverdale, MD

6510 Kenilworth Ave, Ste 1400, Riverdale MD 20737

Phone: 301-618-0771

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-618-0772