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Bananas a Trigger for Migraine Headaches?

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 .

2 Responses

  1. Patty

    This is absolutely true. The first migraine that I suffered was a day in my 20s when I had two bananas on an empty stomach. Almost immediately became violently ill with the migraine. My manager was shocked to see how ill I looked and arranged for someone to drive me home. At home I vomited bile. After that The headache left. I’ll never forget it.

  2. Melissa

    I have actually found that Bananas HELP my migraines. I have less migraines in a couple week span if I eat a Banana everyday. But I think that might be because I have chronic familial migraines (the actual name is something complex and I can’t spell it, lol) which are generally triggered by environmental factors, stress, and hormones, and not food according to my doctor. I also had a gastric bypass in 2008, so malabsorption is a concern. Bananas are a good source of potassium, vitamin B and vitamin C. Two of these are malnutrition issues with people with gastric bypass. Proper vitamins and minerals help with familial migraines. Not all migraines are created equal. It’s really important to figure out what types of migraines you are having so that you know how to better manage them.

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