Category Archives: Migraine Headaches

Migraine Triggers in Food that will Surprise You

The single most important preventative treatment for migraine headaches is to simply avoid all migraine triggers that affect your nervous system. Easier said than done, you may say, as there are hundreds of things in food, weather, and daily life that increase your chances of having a migraine attack.

Migraine Triggers in Food that will Surprise You

Can you spot the migraine triggers here?

What’s in a migraine?

Migraines are a neurological disorder that is often inherited from your family. Most migraine sufferers are women, but not exclusively. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, excruciating pounding headaches, stomach pain, nausea, eye pain, vertigo, and overwhelming fatigue. Chronic headaches happen more than 15 times each month.

It’s worth noting that not all migraine attacks include headache. You may experience all the other symptoms of migraine, such as dizziness, stomach cramps, and extreme sensitivity to bright lights and strong scents without ever suffering from head pain. Even “silent migraines” can be very debilitating, especially as they are often connected with migraines with aura, a condition that scientists have linked with increased risk for stroke, heart disease, and epileptic seizures.

Migraine triggers

Migraine triggers don’t necessarily cause migraines, as much as they increase your likeliness of having one. Just as stress lowers your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and bacteria, so do migraine triggers make it harder for your nervous system to control overstimulated, trigger-happy nerve cells of the brain.

Some of the most well-known migraine producers exist in food. Chocolate, coffee, hot dogs, aged cheeses, and MSG are all considered “red light” foods on a migraine diet. Still, every person is wired differently, so what triggers a five-alarm migraine attack in one person may actually provide significant relief to another. Caffeine, for example, is both a migraine trigger and a painkiller, depending on your migraine brain.

To find out exactly which foods are triggering your migraine headaches, it’s important to keep a migraine diary, and fill in all foods, feelings, medications, daily weather, sleep cycles, and other relevant facts.

How many of these unusual migraine triggers can you identify?

  • Leftover food from restaurants, likely to contain tyramine, a common migraine trigger.
  • Bananas- along with avocados, fruits that are eaten when very ripe also contain tyramine.
  • Citrus fruits, although healthy for preventing the common cold, are rich in citric acids that interfere with your pH blood level, and also contain histamine, a migraine trigger for some.
  • Artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives contain chemicals that increase your chances for frequent migraine headaches.
  • Packaged goods containing hidden monosodium glutamate (MSG) can include mixed nuts, soup mixes, sauces, and even mayonnaise. To avoid migraines, always read food labels, even on food products that you wouldn’t expect to find migraine-triggering MSG.

Scientists have compiled a list of hundreds of migraine triggers, not all of which are from food. In addition to the ones listed, can you list any other other headache triggers that you currently avoid?

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10 Natural Ingredients that Help Migraine

While there is no 100% cure for migraines, a neurological illness, doctors agree on certain natural ingredients that help migraine headache sufferers reach their optimal level of nervous system functionality. The following herbs, vitamins, and minerals have been the focus of the most studies, and are highly recommended by natural migraine treatment physicians.

10 Natural Ingredients that Help Migraine

Please note that many natural supplements have powerful properties that can rival those of prescription medications. Please consult your doctor before taking any new treatment for migraine disorder.

Natural ingredients that help migraine

Here are some natural ingredients that are most often cited as beneficial for migraine headaches, nausea, stress, and other forms of chronic pain.

1- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)

Butterbur root extracts have been featured in numerous scientific studies on natural migraine prophylaxis. Scientists noted optimal results when migraine sufferers used 75mg of safe, natural butterbur supplements each day for at least three months. Test subjects who also suffered from severe asthma and muscle spasms reported good health after taking butterbur daily. Note: Read the label when purchasing butterbur capsules- only use extracts free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA’s), which can have a toxic side effect. Look for “PA-free” on the label.

2- Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that aids migraine patients by supporting healthy blood flow to the brain, sustaining good circulation, regulating blood-sugar levels, and promoting normal cellular metabolism. Doctors recommend 60mg-100mg of coenzyme Q10 daily for best results.

3- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Practitioners of CAM (complementary alternative medicine) recommend taking 400mg of riboflavin each day for at least three months. Riboflavin helps to sustain ideal cellular metabolism, while also controlling the effect of oxidative damage that can occur with chronic migraines.

4- Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is a common trigger of chronic migraines, so experimenting with at least 200mg of magnesium each day is a good way to eliminate that as a cause of your migraines. Most patients do not need to exceed 1,000mg doses of magnesium, which is also naturally helpful for neurological functioning. Some migraine patients suffer from magnesium deficiency, a common trigger of migraine attacks. Health experts recommend beginning with 200mg of magnesium per day, to be increased to 1,000mg if needed. Magnesium helps to sustain health neurological functioning.

5- 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP is helpful for serotonin management. Doctors suggest 5-HTP as a natural ingredient for migraine headaches caused by vascular disorders resulting from low serotonin.

6- Coffee

Coffee can sometimes trigger migraines, but for many other migraine patients, a caffeinated drink can actually provide relief.

7- Valerian

Valerian is helpful for reducing stress that triggers migraine attacks.

8- Peppermint

If your migraine attacks occur with gut-wrenching nausea and cramps, then try chewing on a raw peppermint leaf. Or, sip a cup of healing tea seeped with peppermint.

9- Cayenne

Topical pain creams containing cayenne are helpful for neck stiffness, back pain, and sore joints that occur with migraine.

10- Kava

Kava contains therapeutic phytochemicals that promote relaxation in the nerves and muscles.


Can you add to our list? Can you recommend any other great natural ingredients that help migraine headaches? Please list below.


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Understanding Migraine Disorder

It’s a myth that migraines are mainly really bad headaches; they’re so much more than that. Many migraineurs are surprised to learn that unusual symptoms like vision problems, vertigo, and olfactory hallucinations are linked to migraine disorder. By playing “connect-the-dots” you can come to a better understanding of how migraines work, and things you can do to prevent them.

Understanding Migraine Disorder

Migraine symptoms

Chronic migraines are attacks that occur more than 15 times per month. Symptoms can vary between patients, and may not always include headaches.

Signs of migraine attack can include the following:

  • Excruciating throbbing headache
  • Strong urge to vomit
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Visual disturbances (aura)
  • Partial numbness
  • Sensitivity to lights and noise
  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Impaired spatial awareness

Migraines are neurological

Unless you’ve been to a neurologist or other migraine specialist, you may not have realized that your migraine attacks are caused by “overexcited” neurons in your nervous system.  Migraine disorder is classified as a neurological disorder that occurs when certain elements trigger migraine attacks in your brain.

A migraine trigger can be anything from a salami sandwich to a dry martini; from an intoxicating scent to a stressful day.

Although there is no universal cure for migraines, doctors are sometimes able to reduce your odds of experiencing an attack by preventing such triggers from invading your nervous system.

Trigger avoidance

When a doctor prescribes antiepileptic medicine or antidepressants for migraine headaches, it’s because he believes that the same mechanism that occurs with epilepsy or depression may be related to your migraine attacks.

Migraine trigger avoidance is an extended form of migraine prevention, as it focuses on elements in your daily life that make migraine headaches more likely to occur. There are hundreds of migraine triggers that affect migraine sufferers differently. By determining which ones are “red light” triggers, you can effectively reduce the number of migraine headaches you experience each month.

Examples of migraine triggers are foods, scents, lights, weather, hormonal changes, stress, eating habits, sleep schedules, and loud noises.

To identify your triggers, try using a migraine diary for at least a few months. Take note of things like food, mood, weather, medications, sleep, and anything else you think may be relevant.

Migraine prescriptions

Doctors recommend alleviating migraine headaches with over-the-counter medications before visiting a specialist. If NSAIDs fail to relieve migraines, then you may be able to get some help from a neurologist or headache clinic.

However, many prescription migraine drugs come at a high cost- side effects can include memory loss, addiction, dizziness, anxiety, and even…headaches.

Natural migraine supplements

Alternative, complementary nutrients are finding their way into conventional migraine practices. Doctors have seen where magnesium or vitamin B deficiency can worsen or trigger migraine frequency. Certain vitamins, minerals, and herbs help to correct vitamin deficiency while also promoting healthy neurological functioning needed to sustain day-to-day living without migraines.

In various clinical trials, doctors have found the most benefit when migraine patients take a combination of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and PA-free butterbur root each day.


For migraines, the best approach is one that combines the best of conventional and natural applications.

  • Minimum painkillers, under doctor supervision
  • Preventive treatments, also under strict supervision
  • Simple lifestyle modifications
  • Relaxation and exercise
  • Supplementation of nutrients known to help migraines

Try this:

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