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Food Diary

The best way to figure out what foods cause your migraines is to keep careful track of what you eat. Just because you eat a food right before a migraine doesn’t necessarily mean it was the cause. It’s important to see patterns.

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Chocolate

It’s often thought of as a trigger, but some studies suggest chocolate may not cause migraines and may even help prevent them. It might be that people crave chocolate just before getting a migraine, and that’s what gives it a bad rap.

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Coffee

Java can be both good and bad. An occasional cup -- once or twice a week -- may help prevent migraines. But if you have a daily caffeine habit, it may not be as helpful. In fact, skipping your morning coffee could become a trigger.

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MSG: Monosodium Glutamate

This staple of so much Asian cooking bestows a certain savory flavor foodies call “umami.” Some people blame it for their migraines. There are some studies that back this up, but others do not.

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Beer

Beer on tap has about 25 times the migraine-inducing tyramine as beer in bottles. So if you really want a cold one, ask for a bottle. Or change it up and order a bourbon. It doesn’t have any of the stuff. But know that any kind of alcohol can be a trigger for some people.

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Red Wine

This is widely thought to be a trigger, but an Italian study involving more than 300 people found no connection between migraines and red wine. So it may not be the vino. Unless you drink the whole bottle -- then a headache might be the least of your problems.

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Cheese

Do you like that eye-tearing sharp cheddar or stinky aged brie? Both are likely to have high levels of tyramine, a substance linked to migraines. Milder cheeses, like mozzarella and ricotta, are fine, though.

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Salami

Cured meats are also high in migraine-linked tyramine, so if you crave a hunk of red meat, go for a burger or steak instead. Not everyone is sensitive to tyramine, so if you know it doesn’t affect you, go ahead and order that salami sandwich!