Migraines: Do You Know The Factors That Trigger It?

Surely you have heard about migraine, but do you know exactly what factors trigger it?

A migraine is a neurological condition that primarily presents as a strong headache, usually on one side, with a throbbing sensation. It is frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as light and sound sensitivity or stomach discomfort like nausea or vomiting.

Migraine attacks can last from hours to days (24-72 hours), and the pain can be so intense that it interferes with your daily activities. It is recognized, according to the WHO, as the 8th most disabling disease.

The following are some of the things that can cause a migraine:

Factors We Cannot Control

  • Age: especially affected at the end of adolescence and in people between 25-55 years old.
  • Genetics: the existence of ancestry.
  • Sex: Women are three times as likely as males to experience sex-related problems.

Factors We Can Control

  • Stress: Stress is a broad term that encompasses both the physiological and pathological forms of stress, such as that caused by severe physical exertion or anxiety.
  • Sleep: Sleep patterns are essential for preventing migraines; modifications to these patterns or sleep disruptions themselves can set off an attack. Getting a good night's sleep is crucial.
  • Environmental elements and sensory stimuli: These include loud noises, strong smells, abrupt temperature changes, flickering or bright lights, and smoke-filled areas.

Give A Special Place To Food

95% of migraines are related to the deficiency of an enzyme, called DAO, which is responsible for metabolising ('digesting') histamine. Thus, the ultimate objective would be to attempt to minimise the quantity of histamine we consume through our food.

Foods that are higher in histamine and those that saturate the DAO enzyme due to their amine content are the two categories of foods associated with histamine. In conclusion, we must stay away from these two dietary groups.

Histamine-containing foods:

  • Canned Fish: Sardines and tuna in cans.
  • Cheese and milk (apart from fresh cheese).
  • Fermented vegetable products, including soy derivatives and fermented cabbage.
  • Balsamic vinegar and vinegar.
  • Seafood.
  • Spinach and eggplant.
  • Sausage.

Foods that block the enzyme DAO:

  • Chocolate.
  • Avocado.
  • Citrus fruits: especially oranges.
  • Nuts, especially peanuts.
  • Tomato and tomato sauce.
  • Alcohol (it is an enzyme inhibitor).

In conclusion, the following would be the recommendations to lessen and prevent migraines:

  • Continue to practise excellent sleep hygiene by getting adequate rest and quality sleep.
  • Manage your stress levels.
  • Consume meals that either block the DAO enzyme or are high in histamine in moderation.
  • Consuming foods high in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins B2, and C can help reduce symptoms.
  • Avoid medications that inhibit the DAO enzyme, such as ibuprofen and other widely used anti-inflammatories.
  • Avoid prolonged fasting and harmful habits such as alcohol and tobacco.

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