Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chocolate and Migraines!

I love The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn so I leapt at the chance to go to see the new exhibit Chocolate: The Exhibition with a couple girlfriends. I was hoping the exhibit might cover some of the science of chocolate and the effects on the human body, like a plastic brain with highlighted parts, but they stuck with the history of chocolate and the origins, etc…

I am still torn if chocolate is a trigger for me. After eliminating it for several years from my diet, I’ve been adding it back in with mixed results. Sometimes it bothers me. Sometimes, it doesn’t. The more expensive stuff seems to do the less damage.

At the end of exhibit, there was a large souvenir section with lots of chocolate. I ended up buying a stuffed monkey. Why were there stuffed monkeys for sale? Apparently, there are monkeys hanging around the cacao trees and they break open the pods open to get at the sweet gooey stuff inside. They throw the bitter chocolate beans to the ground. I named my new stuffed monkey “Chocolate.”

In addition, there was a Chocolate Café where you could indulge in chocolate treats on the spot. There was a chocolate fountain, a huge brownie slab plus cookies and cake. My friends all bought something. Worrying about my melon, I decided not to buy anything because the humidity, the cottonwood from the trees and finishing my pms zone were already dancing around in the inside of my head.

Then Satan spoke to me, or rather my friend, and she offered me one of her chocolate covered strawberries. It looked so good. I told myself it was a gamble, but I couldn’t resist. I ate one! Super Yummy!

Everything seemed fine until four hours later when my melon went Kapow!

So was it the chocolate? Was it the humidity, the cottonwood or PMS? What about the combination of everything? On the other hand, was it perhaps the fact that my melon just likes to go Kapow! Why does having migraines have to be so darn complicated?

At least, I had my new stuffed monkey to comfort me!


Christy said...

What I hate about the whole migraine trigger thing is there seems to be so few facts involved and it ends up being whatever you decide to believe. I have long been an adherent of the "combination of factors" theory, but lately I am tending toward the "melon likes to go KAPOW" system of belief.

Diana Lee said...

Triggers are so tricky. Sometimes it next to impossible to make any sense out of them, particularly on a case by case basis.

Anonymous said...

I am more likely to get a migraine when a bunch of triggers converge. But I agree, it's hard telling. It's a high stakes guessing game. My headache calendar has been a big help in this arena. I am sorry you got hit but glad you got to enjoy quality time with your friends. Cheers, Jeselle

Ken said...

I've had similar off and on experiences with chocolate too. Seems like I read somewhere that higher cocoa content was better for migraineurs so that may be why the more "expensive" ones bother you less?

Anonymous said...

I had migraines for a long time. It got worse and worse till i was getting five or six a month. i went through five times of giving up chocolate for months eating chocolate and almost exactly 24 hours later twinkle in the eye - theres my aura starting. the last time was one bite of a chocolate muffin. I have given up chocolate approx nine years now this did not completely eliminate migraine, i got glasses and they lessened then saw a chiropractor for two years on a regular basis and they have pretty much gone. maybe one a year in the last three years. would love to eat chocolateagain one day but dont have the courage. One of you metioned that theres no facts here's an interesting study for you.,..CM Gibb 1 , PTG Davies 2 , V Glover 1 , TJ Steiner 2 , F Clifford Rose 2 , M Sandler 1
1 Bernhard Baron Memorial Research Laboratories, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Goldhawk Road, London W6 0XG; 2 The Princess Margaret Migraine Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital, London W6 8RF
Correspondence to Merton Sandler, Bernhard Baron Memorial Research Laboratories, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Goldhawk Road, London W6 0XG
Copyright International Headache Society
Chocolate • dietary migraine
Patients with migraine who believed that chocolate could provoke their attacks were challenged with either chocolate or a closely matching placebo. In a double-blind parallel group study, chocolate ingestion was followed by a typical migraine episode in 5 out of 12 patients, while none of the 8 patients challenged with placebo had an attack (p = 0.051). The median time to the onset of the attack was 22 h. This brief study provides some objective evidence that chocolate is able to provoke a migraine attack in certain patients who believe themselves sensitive to it.


Anonymous said...

hiya, i wonder if you could offer me any advice from your experience? I get really bad headaches a lot of the time. I don't know how bad a headache has to be before it's a migraine, all i know is that these are horrible, and i have to lie down in the dark. When i told my doctor, he said they were just typical tension headaches and that they were probably brought on from stress at school, i'm a secondary school teacher. Typically i can experience one of these headaches, once a week, maybe more. My most recent one occured after eating the ears of a Lindt Chocolate Bunny! I was thinking about it, and i am a chocholic. In your opinion do you think this could be responsible? As the Lindt Chocolate bunny day, was a really nice, relaxing day for me, not stressful at all!
Do you have any advice that helps you to ease your headaches? Paracetmamols don't seem to help!
Thank you in advance for any opinions you may have!

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend came home with a migraine (first in years) the other day and said she got it after eatting a column of the lindt dark cocoa (70%) chocolate. She tossed me the rest of the bar and said she didnt want it, which i accepted happily :) only to find after a few pieces i too was experiencing a migraine. It was definitely something to do with the chocolate as i haven't had a headache in years either.