Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer, and it also may be the first time many of us dust off the cobwebs and crack open the barbecue grill for the first grilling session of the season. While you may already smell the burgers sizzling, headache experts say that some of this season’s favorite foods can be triggers for those who suffer with migraines (and adding warm weather and alcohol to the mix just compounds things).
Here’s a list of some of the top BBQ food triggers to avoid:
Barbecue sauce and other similar condiments, as well as processed meats, often MSG, which can trigger migraine headaches. Read the labels to avoid this ingredient and others that are similar, such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, yeast extract, hydrolyzed oat flour, texturized protein, and calcium casinate. To play it safe and avoid needing to remember all these names, look for products labeled “MSG-Free.”
Cured or smoked meats, like hot dogs and sausages, not only can contain MSG, but also are full of nitrates that can trigger a migraine. Look for fresh, uncured meats for grilling instead, as well as organic or natural hot dogs or sausages.
Certain cheeses, sauerkraut and even pickles and relish all contain various ingredients that those with migraines can be sensitive to. Keep it simple: stick to American cheese and skip the pickles on burgers.
Happy, migraine-free grilling!