My 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 5 years old. Her seizures began as mild facial spasms and worked their way up to the full blown tonic-clonic (aka grand mal) seizures that she would have multiple times a day. It was a stressful life before we found the medication that would control it for us. After a couple months of trying new medications, we finally found a combination of meds that would work and now she rarely has a seizure.
Recently, she’s developed something new. She’s developed a strange pattern of migraine headaches. At first we had confused it with a side effect to her medicine that we thought she was having. She had begun seeing lines & shapes as well as having depth perception problems. The pediatric neurologist we visit did a thorough work over and discovered that she’s having ocular migraines (where she was having vision trouble but no headache). Eventually though, the headache came along with it and the doctor knew which medication would work to help keep them under control. She’s been on that medication for a while now but here recently, she’s developed a strange pattern of hearing. She will hear sounds in her ears and all sounds occasionally sound a lot louder than they really are. I put yet another call in to her doctor and he assured me that this was still migraine related.
I’ve always been one who would like to treat our family’s issues naturally if at all possible. You may even find it hard to believe that I don’t tend to take my kids to the doctor for basic things like well baby checks, colds, flus, etc. I always look into ways to treat them naturally if I’m comfortable with it. Here lately though, with our more extreme medical needs, I’ve kind of felt the need to succumb to conventional medicine. That’s OK though, as that’s exactly what conventional medicine is for. It’s all the doctor’s that are administering antibiotics for things that are viral and won’t be touched by that medicine that gets me all worked up.
Through this whole process and diagnosis, I’ve been looking into different ways that I can attack these issues naturally. The more and more I read, the more I believe that our diet causes many of our health problems in the US. It seems that we process anything good out of many of our food items and we add in so many bad things to them, too. It’s sad, really!
Foods that Cause Migraines
Each person is different in how they respond to the foods that she eats, but there are some very specific foods or additives in your foods that are known to cause migraines. Here are the 5 biggest triggers that I found during my research:
I personally believe that MSG is one of the biggest triggers of migraines. This is a food additive that food manufacturers use as a flavor enhancer. The bad thing is that it is found in anything and everything that is processed. Things like potato chips, salad dressing and more. When reading labels, you’ll want to avoid things that say hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate and calcium caseinate. You may even want to avoid “natural flavors” as MSG is often masked under that category. For more information on all of the hidden ingredients to avoid go to the following link: Hidden Sources of MSG
Caffeine is one of those substances you sometimes find in foods like coffee, tea and chocolate that can both help migraines and make them worse. It can help in small doses, but if you have excessive amounts of caffeine, it can actually make the migraine worse.
I’ve long known about the evils of artificial sweeteners, but they can be even more evil when you’re prone to having migraines. Ingredients you should be on the look out for are: aspartame, NutraSweet, sucralose, and Splenda.
This is the one that I’m certainly not happy to see on the list, but it has several ingredients that could be a trigger for the migraine headache. One of these substances is phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine may alter the blood flow in the brain which would then cause the release of other chemicals to cause the migraine. Chocolate also has caffeine which we already talked about.
Cured meats including bacon, sausage, hot dogs and lunch meats contain nitrates to preserve color and flavor. Nitrates sometimes cause the release of nitric oxide, widening the blood vessels and therefore causing a migraine.
Tomorrow, I will share about the foods that can help you combat migraines. I hope you’ll come back then!
Do you know of more foods that will help with migraines? Please share them below:
This is Day 4 in a 10 day series I’m doing on Healthy Eating. I’m doing this series along with the iHomeschool Network. There are many topics to choose between. Click the picture below to see the rest of the topics!