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Migraine Headaches HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)


One of the frequent causes of migraine is food. (See: causes of migraine.)  Determine food allergies by fasting for a week, then adding one food at a time to your diet. Reactions can occur from twenty minutes to two weeks after ingesting the irritating food. The most common allergens associated with migraines are cow's milk, wheat (gluten), chocolate, eggs, oranges and the additive MSG. Avoid aged protein foods, such as hot dogs, cheese, sausages, cold cuts and smoked or pickled fish, as they contain tyramine, a vasoactive amine, which has been shown to trigger migraine attacks. Tyramine is also found in alcoholic beverages. Red wine should be avoided not only because of its tyramine content but also because it contains flavonoids which inhibit the activity of the enzyme which normally breaks down tyramine and other vasoactive amines in the body.

Reduce the intake of animal fats. The arachidonic acid they contain tends to increase blood clotting, which is associated with migraines. Instead, eat foods which tend to inhibit blood clotting, such as fish, unrefined flax, walnut or pumpkin seed oil, garlic and onion. A predominantly vegetarian diet will keep acid-forming foods to a minimum. Raw wheat germ provides vitamins B3 and B6 which help balance serotonin levels, a hormone affecting constriction of blood vessels. Green, leafy vegetables and beets provide iron.

General Recommendations
bulletMethods of strengthening liver, gallbladder, and spleen.
bulletWhen migraines occur, eat soupy grains, soft foods, and soups. Avoid foods that are difficult to digest or those rich in fat.
bulletAvoid constipation and if necessary take an herbal laxative.

Foods to Eat
bulletBrown rice soup with carrots, onions, and miso
bulletCarrot juice (especially good for liver and gallbladder)
bulletMiso soup with vegetables (especially good for spleen)
bulletRye broth or congee
bulletBlack sesame seeds
bulletChia seeds
bulletSoybeans and their products (such as tofu and tempeh)
bulletDark green vegetables

Foods to Avoid
bulletAnimal products
bulletFried and oily foods
bulletSpicy foods
bulletCaffeinated tea

Try limiting or eliminating the following foods and see if it reduces the frequency or intensity of your headaches.

Dairy products
bullet Buttermilk
bulletBrie (and other ripened cheeses)
bulletSour cream
bulletChocolate milk

Meat and Fish
bulletCured, smoked, or processed meats and fish, such as bacon, bratwurst, beef jerky, corned beef, hot dogs or corn dogs, pepperoni, pork and beans, Spam, sausage, smoked fish, pickled herring
bulletLunch meats, including those made with turkey, such as bologna, ham, liverwurst, pastrami, salami
bulletFresh meats such as chicken livers, pork

Fruits and vegetables

Avocados, bananas, beans (garbanzo, lima, navy, pinto), citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges) and their juice, nuts (and nut butters), onions, papayas, pea pods, raisins, sauerkraut, seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)

Yeast breads and cake (including raised doughnuts)


Alcohol (especially beer, bourbon, red wine, and sherry), coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated sodas


MSG (frequently present in Chinese foods, canned and processed foods), soy sauce, vinegar

Pickled foods

See Also: Causes of Migraine For a description of role played by food in migraine.

                Foods that can cause migraine

                How To Determine Your Mingraine Trigger

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