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Migraines and Nutrition

There are numerous triggers for chronic migraine sufferers. The environment, stress, hormones, medication and diet can all play a role however, identifying your specific triggers can be challenging. Breaking it down into these two steps can be helpful for migraine sufferers.

The first step is to keep a food/symptom diary to help identify a link between your dietary intake and daily symptoms.

The second step is to become familiar with certain foods or groups of foods that may be troubling. The following foods can be common headache triggers:

1. Tyramine-Containing Foods- These foods include beer, wine, pickled herring, chicken, liver, yeast, coffee, and citrus foods.

2. Caffeine-Containing Foods- Coffee, colas, chocolate, and energy drinks.

3. Nitrates/Nitrites- Hot dogs, cured meats, bacon, ham, salami, and other deli meats.

4. Mono-Sodium Glutamate- Packaged foods, Chinese foods, fast foods, frozen foods, and canned soups

5. Food Allergies/Sensitivities- These differ for each individual. Common allergies include dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, shellfish, soy, and eggs.

6. Hunger- Low blood sugars can initiate headaches. For sensitive individuals, eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day that are complete, is highly recommended.

7. Aspartame – Some individuals suffer from headaches due to this artificial sweetener. If this is the case, avoid use.

8. Food Dyes/Additives – Certain individuals have low tolerance and sensitivities to additives. Eating whole foods and/or packaged foods with very few ingredients will help keep intake low.

At the POTS Treatment Center, the Registered and Licensed Nutritionist provides evidence based advice customized to each patient’s needs. This is determined according to their symptoms, lifestyle, any dietary restrictions, and blood work that is completed prior to starting the program.