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Headaches, Migraines,
and the Feingold Diet

There are many kinds of headache, including tension headaches, cluster headaches, vascular headaches, caffeine withdrawal headaches, ice-pick headaches, and migraines.

Migraines are chronic headaches that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Symptoms can be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.

Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms or signs (auras), such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg. A migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Diet Connection

According to Dr. Millichap in 2003, foods can cause headache by influencing the release of neurotransmitters causing dilation or constriction of the blood veins, or by directly stimulating one of several parts of the nervous system. According to him, long-term drug therapy (in an effort to prevent migraine) "is appropriate only after exclusion of headache-precipitating trigger factors, including dietary factors."

In one study published in 1983, Dr. Egger showed that 93% of children treated by a few-foods diet for migraine recovered. In several other studies using a few-foods diet for other symptoms, he also noted that headache was consistently improved.

Some people get headache after drinking red wine. While the sulfites and salicylates in wine have been implicated in triggering asthma attacks, headaches are thought to result from sensitivity to the naturally-occurring flavonoids which give red wine its color.

Links:      - Research on diet and headache
- Harry's story
- WebMD on Migraines

Updated: 2/15/2010