List of Food and Non-Food Migraine Triggers


Migraines are prevalent today. As many as 39 million Americans deal with them, including men and women. Even children are no exception. If you have a family member who has migraines, then you may have a high risk of developing them. Migraines are most extensive among people aged 25 to 55.

Migraines are a painful neurological condition that causes migraineurs to miss out on work, social, and family events. When a migraine attack sets in, a person has little choice but to lie down in a dark and cool room. Sometimes, a cold cloth on the forehead can relieve some of the pain, and block out some of the striking light that seems to force their way into your eyes. You try to rest for a while, emptying your thoughts to help you calm down. Even then, you might spend the next few days trying to recover. But you might still feel exhausted. 

Even worse, you may deal with a couple of these symptoms associated with migraines:

  • Pounding head pain that affects only one side of the head (but not always)
  • Extreme sensitivity to loud noises, certain smells, and bright lights
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Visual disturbances or loss of vision

Recording Your Migraine Triggers in a Diary

Physicians recommend patients to keep a migraine diary. This record-keeping journal can help you stay on track of what happened before one of your migraine episodes. It can be a useful tool to help you see a pattern developing and identify what your particular migraine triggers may be.

A migraine diary can assist you in tracking warning signs, the type of pain you experienced with its intensity, what you ate, what your stress levels were, and what activities you did before the start of your migraine episodes.

Certain things can trigger migraines. However, this is different for everyone, and you may find something not on the list below that can be one of your triggers. This list is just a general idea of things to watch out for when you are determined to find your migraine triggers.

Tyramine: An Infamous Food Migraine Trigger

Tyramine is a substance highly associated with migraines. It is found naturally in some types of food, especially in aged and fermented foods. Here is a list of food that contains tyramine.

  • Aged cheeses
  • Smoked fish
  • Aged chicken liver
  • Cured meats (hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, etc.) 
  • Foods high in protein (if not kept cold enough or stored for a long time)
  • Some types of beer
  • Summer sausage and other meats that are fermented or air-dried
  • Soy sauce
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso soup
  • Shrimp or fish sauces
  • Red wine
  • Yeast extract

Food Sources with No Tyramine

Here are migraine triggers that are not related to tyramine: 

  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts, including peanut butter
  • Broad beans, fava beans, snow peas, and lima beans
  • Sour cream
  • Sourdough bread
  • Red plums, raisins, figs, avocados, and papayas 
  • Caffeine (too little or too much of it)

Non-Food Related Migraine Triggers:

  • Stress

It is one of the most widely known causes of migraines. People with migraines are highly responsive to various things in general. For example, when dealing with anxiety, worry, or shock, the brain releases certain chemicals that cause a migraine attack. Letdown migraines are also connected to migraines. They happen when you are coming out of a stressful situation.

  • Menstruation

Women often deal with migraines a few days before, during, or after their menstrual periods. A drop in estrogen level can cause migraines.

  • Your Environment

For some people, perfume can be a huge trigger. Being inside confined spaces with someone wearing a strong scent or perfume can be a real challenge. Also, bright, flashing lights, such as being in a dark movie theater, can be a problem for some people. Some can’t contain the sunlight shining through trees, or when driving at night, there are sudden bright flashing lights ahead. 

Now that you have examined the list of triggers from various possible sources, remember that each person has different migraine triggers. We are not telling you to start avoiding all the things listed here. Instead, we are sharing migraine trigger awareness. In other words, be aware of these so that if you notice they are causing your migraines to happen, then you know what specific things you can avoid. 

Also, even though you could be working hard to avoid your personal triggers, there is still a risk of migraine attacks. It would be a sensible idea to see an upper cervical chiropractor since they have seen success in dealing with migraines and giving patients much needed relief.

The Important Link That Alleviates Migraines

Upper cervical chiropractors recognize the crucial connection between the central nervous system (CNS) and migraines. The brainstem, a significant component of the CNS, is located at the intersection where the skull and neck converge. The C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) are bones that carry the weight of the head and also protect the brainstem. 

However, these bones are prone to misalignment, especially when a person suffers a whiplash or head and neck injury. If these vertebrae move out of place, they start to put pressure on the brainstem, causing its irritation and sending of wrong signals to the brain. 

Upper cervical chiropractic corrects this misalignment gently and precisely. As a result, the body begins its natural healing process faster. Then the body repairs any damage previously done (due to the misalignment) to the neck and muscles of the neck. Communication gets restored throughout the body, and patients will feel better overall.

The Case of a 23-year-old Migraineur

Many patients in this case study have reported experiencing a significant reduction in their migraines symptoms. Some patients even saw their migraines go away and never come back!

There was another case study. This time it involved a 23-year old female suffering from chronic migraines for ten years. The patient also had problems with neck and low back pain. Her medical care was majorly prescription medicine, which she found ineffective. Then she received upper cervical chiropractic. She saw a reduction of her migraine episodes. 

Are you seeking an upper cervical chiropractor in your nearby area? Please use our search function to help you experience migraine relief the natural way.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.