If you're one of the 18 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you might find some relief by changing what you eat, suggests Ladies' Home Journal, the Meredith magazine.
About 30 percent of migraines appear to be triggered by food. (Other causes include hormonal changes, stress, excessive smoking, even strong odors and bright lights.)Listed here are the most common troublemakers for people who are prone to migraines.
Chocolate: It contains phenylethylamine, a compound that constricts blood vessels in the head.
Tyramine: Another compound that can cause blood-vessel constriction. Large amounts of tyramine are contained in aged cheeses, including cheddar and Swiss, very ripe bananas, avocados, fava beans and chicken livers.
Sodium nitrite: A preservative used in some processed meats, including hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts.
Alcohol: Though all alcohol dilates blood vessels, certain types - including red wine, cognac and Scotch - contain byproducts of fermentation, called congeners, that can trigger headaches.
Caffeine: Many doctors encourage migraine sufferers to limit coffee to no more than two cups a day and to avoid excessive tea and cola consumption. But cut back gradually. An abrupt reduction can also trigger a migraine.
Aspartame: The low-calorie sweetener used in most diet sodas.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG): A flavor enhancer often used in Chinese food and many food products, including packaged gravies and sauces and instant bouillon.