A migraine is a throbbing painful headache, usually on one side of the head, that is often initiated or “triggered” by specific compounds or situations (environment, stress, hormones, and many others). They occur more often in women (75%, approximately) and may affect a person’s ability to do common tasks.
Migraine headaches are often triggered to occur when the person is exposed to a specific set of circumstances. One of the most common triggers is strong flickering light. For example, faulty fluorescent lights, a television picture rapidly going on and off, or sunlight reflected off of waves in a lake or the ocean are all potential triggers.
Anxiety and stress
As mentioned, stress is sometimes a trigger for migraines. While it is unlikely that people can live stress-free lives, many people can reduce their stress and avoid triggering migraines by using relaxation techniques, deep breathing, and other biofeedback techniques.
Lack of food or sleep
Regular daily patterns of meals and sleep work well for some individuals to avoid migraines. Sleep interruptions and lack of adequate fluid and/or food intake and even some food binges may trigger a migraine.
Many women’s migraines are linked to their menstrual cycle. The hormonal increases and decreases are thought to be responsible for triggering migraines in some women. However, patterns differ from person to person, so one type of hormonal therapy may benefit one woman, but it may be unhelpful or even increase migraine symptoms in other women.
Although studies have not proven that any food is a migraine trigger, patients often suggest certain foods trigger their migraines. Common food or food ingredients cited by patients are red wine, cheese, chocolate, soy sauce, processed meat, and Monosodium glutamate..
Tyramine, produced from the amino acid tyrosine, may be a trigger for migraines because it can cause blood vessel constriction and expansion. Many aged and fermented foods that are associated with migraines like cheeses, soy sauce, pickles, or aged meats like pepperoni contain tyramine.