Migraine Trigger Close-up: Watermelon

Watermelon is wonderful this time of year – sweet, juicy, and crunchy. If you are out grilling during the summer holidays, it can be a perfect dessert. If you can get watermelon that is cold, it is even better. Consuming watermelon is also great from a health standpoint. The vegetable contains lycopene which is said to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Unfortunately, migraine sufferers will likely experience increased migraine episodes, the riper the watermelon is.

After a certain period of time, sugars are broken down into alcohol and CO2. This process of decay also produces tyramine, a migraine sufferer’s worst nightmare. Several health websites, including those of some prominent Universities, state that watermelon is safe to eat for those of us with migraines. This is only true under certain conditions as the watermelon cannot be too ripe or unripe – it has to be perfect.

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Wall Street Journal “Hunt for a Migraines Cure”

On August 7, 2012, Shirley Wang wrote in the Wall Street Journal about recent advancements in the research for a migraine cure. In particular, she wrote that researchers have isolated a brain chemical, known as calcitonin gene-related peptide transmitter (“CGRP”) to be responsible for the transmission of migraine pain. She further wrote that researchers are in the process of coming up with medicines that would block CGRP from forming and thus prohibit any migraine pain from occurring. Several doctors were quoted in the article and one of the so-called experts stated that there was an immediate need to develop drugs that would stop any pain from being felt by migraine sufferers.

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The National Headache Foundation’s “Low Tyramine Headache Diet”

Low Tyramine Diet

The National Headache Foundation has posted a low tyramine diet on their website. It helps migraine sufferers identify and avoid diets containing large amounts of tyramine. In other parts of my blog I have discussed some of these low tyramine diets- I am not going to delve into each one. However, I will leave a link to the list so that each one of you can use this information. This list is a good starting point to identify certain foods with high tyramine content. Try a diet with lower tyramine in order to lessen migraines.

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Use exercise to avoid/abort a migraine headache

If you have followed my previous articles, you know that I am a big fan of exercising in general. Furthermore, you also know that

I believe exercise can be the best way to abort an oncoming migraine episode.

Over the years numerous studies have been written that highlighted the link between regular exercise and a decrease in migraine episodes. However, there are also those who suggest that physical exercise can cause migraine headaches. I cannot speak for anyone else but in my case, exercise helps relieve migraine headaches that have already started and aborts migraine headaches that are about to start.

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Identify Tyramine Buildup in Certain Fruits and Vegetables

 

For the majority of us, certain odors allow us to determine when we should not consume particular foods anymore. The more pungent the odor, the more likely it is that the foods have gone bad. Unfortunately for migraine sufferers, it is not that easy. For us, the buildup of tyramine is one of the major triggers of migraine headaches. Tyramine builds up as the food ages and certain foods contain higher amounts of tyramine than do others. Sometimes there is no particular smell to alert us that we should avoid a particular food.

In this article, I describe easy ways to identify high levels of tyramine in a few every day fruits and vegetables.

For a more detailed discussion on tyramine, you can read the “Tyramine” article, located in the “In Focus” section.

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Amazing: Doctors and Patients Recall Migraine Visits Differently

Doctors and Patients differ on how they view their meetings

A recent survey found that doctors and patients recalled their migraine visits very differently. The survey indicated that a high percentage of doctors (Above 70%) discussed the timing of migraine medication intake, specific migraine triggers, and other potential migraine cures, while only an average of 19% of patients could recall those conversations. In other words, doctors think that they adequately cover the topics that they feel are important for migraine sufferers. Patients, on the other hand, do not believe that doctors sufficiently cover the topics they feel are important to them. The survey, conducted by Harris1, asked 1,218 diagnosed migraine patients and 533 physicians who routinely treat five to ten migraine sufferers per week.

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Should you avoid nightshade vegetables?

To avoid or not avoid the nightshade

Certain foods from the nightshade family can contribute to migraines. Widely consumed vegetables such as eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, paprika, and cayenne pepper are all part of the nightshade family of vegetables. In reality there are over 2,800 species of plants that belong to this group1. There are those who believe that migraine sufferers should avoid this group of vegetables altogether as the nightshade contains neurotoxic alkaloids that can trigger a migraine.  Neurotoxic alkaloids have also been found to impair muscle and joint function.

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Identifying Sinus Headaches

Get a handle on sinus headaches!

Sinus headaches manifest themselves with a throbbing pain in the front of your head. These headaches are caused by inflammation in your sinuses. If you are prone to allergies, you might experience these types of headaches more frequently. There is constant pressure above and below your eyes and it hurts more when you are hunched over. The sinus headache is particularly problematic prior to going to bed in the evening and is often there immediately when you wake up.

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Identifying Tension Headaches

Get a handle on your tension headaches!

A migraine is a vascular headache that involves pain on one side of your head in addition to nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. However, there are other types of headaches that are quite common and can easily be treated without the use of medication. Most of us have experienced tension headaches – a type of headache induced by the tightening of muscles in the face, shoulder, and upper back area. These types of headaches are quite common. I would like to discuss the causes behind the tension headache and describe methods that can be used to relieve muscle tension and remove the pains associated with the headaches.

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Writing your first food journal

What comes to mind when you hear food journal?

 

I would like to share with you how I use a food journal in order to find offending foods and eliminating them from my diet. Migraines can alert you to a food intolerance, which in turn can alert you to an underlying digestive issue. What we consume, often times, determine how healthy or sick we become. They old saying“You are what you eat” comes to mind.

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