What causes migraines?

Migraines are caused by the expansion and contraction of the brain’s blood vessels. First blood vessels contract, causing the typical migraine warning sign. Then blood vessels expand, resulting in inflammation and throbbing pain.

The first step in successfully treating migraine headaches is to address the underlying cause. An allergy or sensitivity to food is often the root cause of migraine headaches.

The most common allergens associated with migraines are:

  • dairy products (especially cheddar and aged cheeses)
  • wheat
  • chocolate
  • eggs
  • rye
  • tomatoes
  • beef
  • oranges
  • containing aspartame
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • tyramine-containing foods such as red wine and the nitrates used in canned or preserved meats (tyramine causes the brain’s blood vessels to restrict)

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