If you suffer from migraine headaches, it’s important to know what might trigger them. From weather patterns to food choices, migraine triggers can vary from person to person. However, there are some common culprits that you should be aware of.
Some of these triggers may surprise you. For example, did you know that eating a banana can give you a headache? Surprisingly, bananas are just one of many foods that can cause pain in those who suffer from migraines.
Here are some other foods you should think twice about eating if you’re prone to migraines:
- Beans, bananas and onions: Beans are rich in purines and sulfites, which may trigger migraines. Bananas are rich in tyramine and chocolates contain phenylethylamine, both of which may activate brain cells and cause pain as well as dilation of blood vessels in the head. Onions contain sulfites and histamines that also can precipitate a headache attack.
- Dairy products, nuts and seeds: These foods contain arginine or L-arginine that increases nitric oxide production and widens blood vessels in the brain. This leads to intense throbbing pain on one side of the head and nausea.
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol, particularly red wine, can bring on a throbbing headache. Although red wine contains chemicals called sulfites and histamines that may cause headaches in sensitive people, it’s not clear exactly why the drink prompts such pain. Avoiding red wine is one way to protect yourself from alcohol-induced headaches. But if you find that other alcoholic beverages also trigger headaches, limit all forms of alcohol.
- Caffeine. You may already know that caffeine can help relieve a headache or migraine. Caffeine is a key ingredient in many over-the-counter pain relievers and migraine medications because it helps reduce inflammation and relax blood vessels in the brain. But too much caffeine can actually backfire and lead to more frequent headaches. And if you regularly consume caffeine and then stop, you might get withdrawal symptoms — including a headache — until your body adjusts to functioning without it.