Headaches, Migraines, Mood and Rashes


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Although food triggers are not involved in every case of headache, there is research suggesting that some headaches and migraines may be triggered or made worse by the food chemical amine, or foods such as red wine, chocolate, cheese, tomatoes, oranges, dairy foods or caffeine.

You are advised to see a Specialist doctor initially to ensure there is no underlying disease that can be treated. If this has been ruled out, an investigation to find possible dietary triggers for your symptoms could be undertaken.

Moods, sleep and skin rashes (particularly hives) may also be triggered by certain food chemicals. However experience tells us that the trigger chemical, for the same symptom, is different in different people.

If you suspect a food trigger the RPAH Elimination diet and challenge procedure would be followed to investigate this.

The elimination diet is an investigative protocol that you follow to try to identify the chemical substances which trigger your symptoms. The chemicals include food additives like flavouring agents, preservatives or colours which manufacturers generally add to foods, or they may be chemicals like salicylates, amines or glutamates, which occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses etc from our fresh foods.

Foods containing these chemicals are removed from the diet for several weeks with the expectation that the symptoms will improve. If the symptoms do not improve the investigative protocol is stopped. If symptoms improve, foods containing each chemical or substance removed will be eaten to see if you react to it. When the testing protocol is complete you can add back foods which do not contain the chemical or substance to which you reacted. Finally you will be guided to build up the foods which do contain the chemicals you reacted to. You need to find how much you can tolerate of these foods to give your diet more variety and freedom.

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet booklets provide advice for different levels of restriction. A consultation is required to determine what may be best for you. The elimination and challenge procedure will help find out your food triggers while maintaining a balanced diet. Your end diet limits (not totally avoids) the foods containing the substances to which you reacted.