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Bananas a Trigger for Migraine Headaches?

By on July 4, 2006

Enjoy a delicious dessert of banana split or even that yummy banana chocolate cake but get a migraine headache thereafter? Also, do you notice that it is true almost every time you had some juicy bananas? Can it be possible that bananas trigger migraine headaches?

First, let me first describe the symptoms and characteristics of a migraine headache. Migraine headaches seem to follow a general pattern from prodrome to postdrome. In most cases, the patient may experience a throbbing pain in any one side of the head (sometimes it spreads to both sides as well), and the condition is usually accompanied by nausea or sometimes vomiting. A small percentage of migraine sufferers also experience aura zigzag lines, halos or blurred vision hours before an impending attack.


Although the exact cause of migraine is still under contention, most researchers seem to agree that migraines are caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain cells. This in turn springs from the constriction of arteries, which is triggered by certain external factors.

There can be a number of factors that trigger the onset of migraines. One such factor is food triggers. Each of these food items triggers migraine due to some chemical compounds found in them. One such chemical is tyramine.

Even though the exact effect of tyramine or the genuinity of such an explanation is still a subject of debate, it is widely believed that an excess concentration of tyramine in a migraine patient’s blood can cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the brain. In addition, it appears that people with migraines caused by dietary factors appear to be deficient in enzymes needed to break down tyramine. Some drugs used to treat depression (such as Nardil, Marplan and Parnate) also interfere with the process of breaking down tyramine.

You guess right. Tyramine is a predominant composition in bananas and hence, bananas are considered to be potent trigger for migraine headaches.

Find out what other foods contain tyramine in this wonderful resource book Natural Headache Remedies .

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