Migraines are a type of headache that cause severe, throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light (photophobia) or sound (phonophobia). Migraine headaches generally last between four and 72 hours. Many people experience certain symptoms prior to the onset of the head pain. Symptoms that precede and herald an upcoming headache are referred to as an "aura," and usually last under an hour.
Symptoms of an aura include:
Changes in your vision (even brief blindness)
Some of the most common foods, beverages, and additives that may be associated with headaches include:
Aged cheese and other tyramine-containing foods: Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods. The role of tyramine as a trigger of headaches is controversial; however, some headache experts recommend a tyramine-free diet as a part of headache treatment. Tyramine is formed from the breakdown of protein as foods age. Generally, the longer a high-protein food ages, the greater the tyramine content. The amount of tyramine in cheeses differs greatly due to the variations in processing, fermenting, aging, degradation, or even bacterial contamination. For people who take monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor medications to treat their headaches, it is especially important to avoid all foods containing tyramine, including aged cheeses, red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats, as these foods can trigger severe high blood pressure.
Alcohol:Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. Some scientists blame the headache on impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are the most commonly identified headache triggers.
Food additives: Preservatives (or additives) contained in certain foods can trigger headaches. The additives, such as nitrates, dilate blood vessels, causing headaches in some people.
Cold foods: Cold foods can cause headaches in some people. It's more likely to occur if you are over-heated from exercise or hot temperatures. Pain, which is felt in the forehead, peaks 25 to 60 seconds and lasts from several seconds to one or two minutes. More than 90% of migraine sufferers report sensitivity to ice cream and cold substances.
Do Other Foods Trigger Headaches and Migraines?
These foods have been identified as headache and migraine triggers by some sufferers: