When you have a migraine attack, blood vessels in your brain constrict and dilate, causing pressure on the nerves and the sharp spikes of pain that send you reeling. According to the National Institutes of Health, migraines can be triggered by bright lights or loud noises, certain odors or perfumes, physical or emotional stress, changes in sleep patterns, and smoking or exposure to smoke. However, diet is one of the biggest factors. In a study down by London’s Hospital for Sick Children, 80% experienced less migraine attacks when certain food triggers were removed.
What to avoid: chocolate, sharp cheese, alcohol (especially red wine), eggs, citrus fruits, wheat (bread, pasta, etc.), nuts and peanuts, tomatoes, onions, corn, apples, bananas, monosodium glutamate (a preservative found in Chinese and packaged foods), tyramine (a chemical found in cheese, wine, beer, dry sausage, and sauerkraut), nitrates and nitrites (found in hams, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon), aspartame (NutraSweet), large amounts of coffee, non-herbal tea, colas, and some over-the-counter analgesics.
What to take: Some herbs and vitamins have been known to reduce migraine attacks. Try feverfew (250 milligrams per day or two to three fresh leaves per day), ginger (1/2 to 1 teaspoon or 1 to 2 grams per day), Magnesium (400 to 700 milligrams per day total), and calcium (1000 milligrams a day)