Migraine! Medical science calls it a ‘recurrent throbbing headache’, usually affecting one side of the head. I call it a monster that enters your head to cause debilitating pain that can’t be described and to make your misery worse, gives you terrible nausea along with a blurry vision.
It happens to be the third most prevalent illness in the world according to the Migraine Research Foundation (MRF) and troubles approximately 1.04 billion adults worldwide.
That’s one question we all ask God out of utter frustration and pain. In the case of migraine though, the American Migraine Foundation can answer this question. According to the information available on their site, the following factors can be the reasons for migraine:
Hormones: Menstruation, ovulation, menopause, pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy can cause a change in our hormones which might trigger a migraine.
Lifestyle: Emotional stress (anger/depression), changes in sleep patterns, dehydration, and lack of exercise can contribute to a migraine.
Environmental: Weather changes, bright or flickering lights, high altitudes, strong odors (perfumes or cleaning agents), and tobacco smoke can cause migraines.
The Foundation also mentions certain foods as migraine causes. Take a look at these eight seemingly harmless foods and avoid them if you’re prone to migraines:
1. Coffee: Contrary to the popular belief of coffee relieving headaches, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that drinking more than 3 cups of coffee in a day can increase the risk of getting migraines. In fact, excess consumption of other caffeinated drinks like tea and colas were also found to be quite dangerous.
2. Alcohol: If you’re prone to migraine attacks, you don’t want to worsen your situation by drinking alcohol. No, this isn’t another one of my attempts to get you to stop or limit your alcohol consumption.
A study published in the European Journal of Neurology reported alcohol as a trigger for migraines. You obviously know how booze can relax your blood vessels. But what you don’t know is how that relaxation can lead to an increased blood flow to the brain which can trigger a severe headache and make your migraine worse.
3. Chinese food: From the mouth-watering kung pao chicken to the spicy chilly-garlic noodles, all things Chinese can cause migraine, thanks to the presence of MSG (Monosodium glutamate), a food additive used extensively in Chinese cuisine to enhance the taste of the food.
4. Artificial sweeteners: The American Foundation of Migraine touts artificial sweeteners like aspartame as a big-time migraine trigger. So be careful, ladies. The idea of cutting down sugar and calories can backfire to give you a headache.
5. Chocolate: Many neurologists believe that the presence of the amino acid tyramine in chocolates is the reason behind this heart-breaking connection between everyone’s go-to sweet and the much-hated migraine. However, many others give chocolate the benefit of doubt because usually we crave for chocolates in times of stress and headaches could happen because of stress, not the chocolate.
6. Hot dogs: Just like Chinese food, frozen meat, salami, and sausages contain a powerful food additive for the purpose of preservation. I am talking about the super-harmful nitrates which can disrupt the flow of oxygen in the blood and trigger a migraine attack.
7. Fancy cheeses: Turns out, chocolates and cheese have a commonality other than being everyone’s absolute favorite. They both contain the headache-causing tyramine. So, you might want to stay away from cheese if you’re prone to migraines.
8. Yogurt: A recent study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, found out about the involvement of gut bacteria in triggering a migraine. As it turns out, yogurt can be an enemy for people suffering from migraines.
Now, you know what to avoid if you’re prone to migraines.