Friday, September 25, 2009

Chocolate & Migraines: Good News

For those of you who suffer with migraines or know someone who does, there's good news! Researchers from Missouri State University say an animal study shows that dietary supplements of cocoa might repress inflammatory responses in the brain linked to migraines.

I'm not surprised by this. Chocolate and red wine seem to be too food items that people think trigger migraines. However, whenever I get a migraine, I eat chocolate or drink red wine (if it's afternoon.. I still can't get past that) or drink a coke. It works for me.

This study on the benefits of chocolate and migraines was presented at the International Headache Society's 14th Congress in Philadelphia this month. Basically the result shows that consuming a diet enriched with 10 percent cocoa increased levels of anti-inflammatory compounds in the brain, as well as repressing levels of pro-inflammatory processes.

Considering that 36 million Americans have migraines, this is definitely good news.
Read more here.

So throw off the myth that chocolate causes migraines. It might be more about what's in the chocolate: how much sugar, milk, or additives. A different study showed that chocolate contains tyramine and phenylethylamine, and although that can trigger migraines, they are found in such low concentrations that it's very rare that chocolate alone can bring on a migraine.

Here's a list of Food Triggers according to Before you blame the chocolate, check to see if you didn't have some cheese or raisins or bacon at the same meal.

Food triggers
Here's a partial list of major food triggers, according to the National Headache Foundation.
* Ripened cheeses (such as cheddar, Emmentaler, Stilton, Brie, and Camembert)
* Chocolate
* Marinated, pickled, or fermented food
* Foods that contain nitrites or nitrates (bacon, hot dogs) or MSG (soy sauce, meat tenderizers, seasoned salt)
* Sour cream
* Nuts, peanut butter
* Sourdough bread
* Broad beans, lima beans, fava beans, snow peas
* Figs, raisins, papayas, avocados, red plums
* Citrus fruits
* Excessive amounts (more than 2 cups total) of caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, or cola
* Alcohol (including red wine and beer)

My migraine cures are listed as what can cause a migraine.

Chocolate is so good for you in so many ways!


Megan Oltman said...

Really interesting, Janet! I too am a chocoholic, as well as a chronic Migraineur, and I often eat dark chocolate when I have a Migraine and find it helps. Caffeine is a difficult issue for people because it can trigger a Migraine, or changing levels of caffeine can be a trigger, or caffeine withdrawal, so I think chocolate was formerly on the list because of the caffeine content. (Though caffeine can also help abort a Migraine - it works differently for different people and at different times.

The IHS paper indicates that processed chocolate may not be high enough in cocoa content to make a difference. I think my solution may be 1) add lots more hot cocoa and mole sauce to my diet, and 2) eat More chocolate!

- Megan
Free my brain from Migraine pain

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