Headaches: a Review of the Role of Dietary Factors

Headache (RB Halker, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Headache

Abstract

Dietary triggers are commonly reported by patients with a variety of headaches, particularly those with migraines. The presence of any specific dietary trigger in migraine patients varies from 10 to 64 % depending on study population and methodology. Some foods trigger headache within an hour while others develop within 12 h post ingestion. Alcohol (especially red wine and beer), chocolate, caffeine, dairy products such as aged cheese, food preservatives with nitrates and nitrites, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have all been studied as migraine triggers in the past. This review focuses the evidence linking these compounds to headache and examines the prevalence of these triggers from prior population-based studies. Recent literature surrounding headache related to fasting and weight loss as well as elimination diets based on serum food antibody testing will also be summarized to help physicians recommend low-risk, non-pharmacological adjunctive therapies for patients with debilitating headaches.

Keywords

Headaches Migraines Dietary triggers Caffeine Elimination diets Biogenic amines 

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of NeurologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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