We are in the thick of the holiday season, and the stress of preparing for the season can take a toll on those who suffer from migraine headaches. Not to mention the increased prevalence of tempting migraine trigger foods all around you.
In the words of New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, who counseled his team while talking about a different subject, “Don’t eat the cheese!” Especially if it is aged or processed cheese – that’s a known migraine trigger. So skip the cheese tray, especially cheddar, blue and swiss cheese. They contain an amino acid known to trigger headaches.
If you have suffered with migraine headaches for a while, then you probably know best what causes yours. Meanwhile, it never hurts to review the list of migraine triggers and start a food diary to keep track.
The most common migraine triggers are red wine, salty and spicy foods, chocolate and monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, all of which show up regularly at holiday gatherings.
Go easy on processed meats like bologna, salami and sausage. If you indulge in a glass of red wine, alternate with a glass of water to avoid dehydration. Most importantly, do not overdo it.
Stick to your usual eating schedule. Don’t skip a meal simply because you intend to splurge at a holiday party later in the day. Hunger has been known to trigger migraines in some patients.
If you do develop a migraine, stop and address it immediately. “Take your meds and be sure to see your doctor if your migraine headaches are getting worse. Especially so if they are accompanied by new symptoms such as a change of vision, numbness, tingling or nausea,” says Neurologist Lauren Sharett, MD of Culicchia Neurological Clinic.