The role food intolerances and/or allergies play in migraines

by | May 31, 2022 | Blog

Welcome to Straight Up-Chiro Chat.

We’ve just had a freezingly cold weekend. There are more of those on the horizon as we head into Winter. Even now, as the season is changing, some people have already succumbed to sniffles, coughs, and colds. If you have a cold, you can still boost your immune system with vitamins C, B6, and E.

Home remedies include raw garlic (because of its shape you can swallow a small garlic clove whole), honey, Greek yoghurt, blueberries, Ginseng tea, tomatoes, and ginger tea. 

Today we’re talking about….

Migraines … And what part do dairy products play.

In our last newsletter, we took a look at what stages a migraine sufferer goes through and the effects that it can have on the body. We also looked at 9 things that can cause migraines. This week we’re taking a closer look at the role food plays in these debilitating sessions of pain.

What we put in our mouths – food or drink affects every part of our bodies.

Water, for example… Every single cell and organ in your body is in need of water. Including your brain. You seem to feel more awake after a glass of water, and you think more clearly. That’s because your brain has just been refreshed. Even your eyesight seems a little better. Your skin will thank you as well. The more water you drink, the better your skin looks and the younger you appear. What does this have to do with migraines? If your brain is starved of water, it hurts. A lot!

Many people say, “Well, I drink eight cups of tea/coffee/fizzy drinks/beer a day so I’m getting my quota of fluid intake.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Unadulterated water is what your body needs. 

So, what about other foods? Can they give you a migraine?
Yes, they can. The difficulty is that migraine doesn’t always happen when you eat or drink that particular food or beverage. In fact, while coffee or chocolate may cause a migraine in some people, they can actually go a long way to relieving a migraine in others. 
It’s not an exact science. It comes down to whether you have a food allergy or food intolerance. Both of these can be tested. 

But what’s the difference and where does dairy fit in?

Food Allergies
A food allergy occurs when certain foods trigger an abnormal immune response. Your immune system incorrectly identifies some of the proteins in the particular food is bad for you and sets in motion a number of protective measures. It releases histamine, among other chemicals. The result – is inflammation. And it only takes a very small amount of the food to cause this reaction. 

Why is inflammation bad?
Inflammation is both good and bad. It is central to your body’s healing process, especially when it comes to injury and infection. But, when it runs rampant, inflammation actually causes harm, damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Just ask someone who’s allergic to peanuts! Without medical intervention, peanuts can kill someone with a peanut allergy.

What foods can trigger an allergic reaction?

  • Cow’s milk
  • Tree nuts and peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish and fish in general
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Food Intolerance
You might LOVE cheese, but your body…not so much. And your body is swift in its revenge. Although more research is needed, food intolerances can cause significant health problems. So, which are the most common foods that might cause an intolerance?

  • Dairy & cow’s milk
  • Corn 
  • Wheat and other grain cereals
  • Cane Sugar 
  • Yeast 
  • Eggs 
  • Citrus 

As you can see dairy appears on both lists. It includes milk, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt – all made from cow’s milk. Dairy is known to be the culprit for many migraine sufferers. 

If you do suffer from migraines, it may be an idea to cut out all of these items listed in this newsletter from your diet, including sugar. Then add one item back in. After a week, if there has been no ill-effect, add another one. Eventually, the culprit will be unmasked.

You can also visit your doctor. If you don’t find the culprit, unchecked inflammation can cause irreparable harm to your body. This can manifest in arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

So, how can Chiropractic Care help?

If you’ve had the tests and your migraines are not food-related, they may be caused by your spine being out of alignment. Even a simple thing like ‘sleeping funny’ can set up a chain reaction which can result in ongoing migraines until your spine is realigned. Whatever position you habitually fall asleep in – DON’T sleep on your stomach under any circumstances. It twists your neck into a completely unnatural position.

Call us today and book your appointment or to book online!

When I get a headache, I take two aspirin and keep away from children, just as the bottle says.


Yours in health,
Dr. Monica and Helen

Get in touch

We service the greater part of Northern and Western Johannesburg; areas include Randpark Ridge, Northcliff, Fairlands, Cresta, Weltevreden Park, Honeydew, North Riding, Sundowner, Eagle Canyon, Little Falls and Radiokop to name but a few.

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Anacare Wellness Centre
226 Dale Lace Avenue
(entrance in Rooihout Ave)
Randpark Ridge, Randburg
Republic of South Africa


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