Culinary Tips to Avoid A Holiday Headache  

By Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS
Contributor: Emily Simmons

It’s the most wonderful time of the year with Thanksgiving this week and the Christmas Holidays not far behind. It’s often some of the most stressful time of the year too.For many of us, stress leads to headaches, and headaches may lead to migraine headaches. And you should know that food choices play a role too…

“An educated consumer is our best customer…” – and an educated consumer can also better deal with health issues.  Here are three foods and an action to avoid to prevent these nasty headaches.

Aged Cheese

Aged cheeses contain an amino acid called tyramine, which can potentially trigger a migraine.  If you must indulge, The National Headache Foundation recommends consuming not more than 4 ozs. of these aged cheeses. Aged cheese examples include cheddar, brie, Swiss, blue cheese and parmesan.

Pickled & Fermented Foods
Again, tyramine rules out some of our favorites.  Pickled or fermented foods are high in tyramine and may trigger migraines. With that in mind, stay away from pickles, sauerkraut, summer sausage and pepperoni.  Also on the list are miso, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Although these foods may be some of our favorites, they are often loaded with sodium and preservatives that will do more harm than good.  

Artificial Sweeteners

Most artificial sweeteners contain an artificial non-saccharide sweetener called aspartame.Nutritionist Joy Bauer

For those of us with diabetes, this means ruling out a few of our ‘go to’ favorites like diet beverages, light yogurt, low-calorie desserts and sugar-free candies.
Challenging?  It doesn’t have to be…try low glycemic, unrefined sugar substitutes such as honey, pure maple syrup, dates and raisins – these are much healthier substitutes that may not add to your migraine issues.

Skipping Meals

Migraines can occur when we skip a meal or fast. The reason for this is not clear, but without food the body becomes stressed and hypoglycemic. Under stress, your body produces certain hormones which can activate chemicals that cause a migraine.

In addition, when skipping a meal during the fasting process, your body takes this time to detox your system.   As your blood is being cleansed, it carries along with it impurities that flow throughout your system and brain.  This can bring about brain fog and migraines.

If you are a caffeinated coffee or tea drinker, skipping your normal cup or two or three, can also bring about migraines as your body goes through a withdrawal process.

Final Thoughts

Identifying your migraine triggers will most likely require trial and error. It’s common for people to have different triggers and this list is only meant as a starting point to help you figure out what may be causing yours.  Change only one thing at a time, so you know what the results are.

In the meantime, remember to eat in the frequency your doctor recommends.  And if you don’t feel like cooking, especially after the Thanksgiving rush this week, here are a few delicious meal recommendations you can order by 6 p.m. this Friday, November 29th for delivery next Thursday, December 5th. 

Note: our Black Friday sale is also running now through December 2.

  1. Keto Thai-style Coconut Curry Chicken

  2. Fresh Ginger Wild-caught Cod

  3. Open Range Keto Grass-fed Steak Stew

Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy and joyous Thanksgiving!

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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