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Peanut Butter & Chocolate

I don’t care if it’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or the Trader Joe’s version of this popular candy, peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle, or a spoonful of Jif with chocolate chips stuck on top, any combination of peanut butter and chocolate is divine.

Last week I almost admitted that peanut butter and chocolate are triggers for me. Instead of accepting my fate, I say that I think that they could maybe be triggers.

I can do this because the medical jury is still out on whether foods are migraine triggers. Some believe that chocolate might be food people crave right before a migraine, but that it’s not the actual trigger. Or maybe a patient ate peanut butter and got a migraine, but stress and weather changes really triggered the headache. An ACHE newsletter article called The Trigger Quagmire explores this point of view.

Of course other articles deflate the argument, but I’m sticking with this one for right now. I’ll ignore that my husband is sure that peanut butter and chocolate are among my triggers. He doesn’t love peanut butter like I do. I’m skeptical that anyone loves peanut butter as much as I do. Add chocolate and I’m a goner.

22 Responses to Peanut Butter & Chocolate

  1. Diana says:

    I know absolutely 100% for sure that alcohol is a trigger for me because it enters my system so quickly that the cause and effect can’t be ignored. I think the reason I don’t identify chocolate and peanutbutter as triggers as easily as I would a glass of red wine is because it takes longer for them to metabolize. If you step on the cat’s tail in the evening and she hisses and bites you at about 10am the next morning, you aren’t going to make the connection. Very interesting site, btw.

  2. Angel says:

    I know I am REALLY late commenting on this (going thru your archives) but OH MY do I love peanut butter! Ditto with added chocolate.

    The downside–my son is VERY allergic, so I don’t indulge in that so much anymore, but sunflower “butter” is a close second 😉

  3. Shannon says:

    Peanut butter is my all time favorite food, and it is without a doubt a migraine trigger for me so I avoid it now. I’m grateful for all the years I was able to consume it before it became a problem. I jokingly tell people now that it’s okay I can no longer eat it; I consumed so much of it in the first 35 years of my life I reached my lifetime quota.

    *********
    That’s a good way to look at it. I’ve really missed peanut butter this last week.

    K

  4. Susan says:

    Chocolate causes migraines due to its caffeine content. The caffeine constricts the blood vessels and the headache is caused when the blood vessel contract to their normal size as the caffeine is drained from the body.

    ********
    A natural amphetamine called phenylethylamine in chocolate is thought to be the headache trigger. There’s much, much debate on chocolate as a headache trigger. Here’s a good article on the not-a-trigger side:
    http://www.pitt.edu/utimes/issues/28/91495/24.html

    K

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi I just read your article now after googling peanut butter and migraines. I am sure its a trigger for me. I used to eat it all the time for lunch and then stopped. Well this week I have eaten it every day and everyday day about 4-5 hours later i end up with a migraine…I’m convinced!

  6. Amy says:

    Like the poster above me, I too found this entry after googling peanut butter + migraines. I used to think food wasn’t a trigger for me until having pb&j last night and waking up with a migraine. I didn’t even know pb was on the trigger list. I’m both sad and relieved to have an answer.

  7. Stefanie says:

    I have had migraines since I was about 10 years old but only in my young adulthood did I really start beind diligent about tracking them and trying to figure out what could be triggers. I am really beginning to wonder if peanut butter could be a trigger for me. I eat peanut butter toast almost every day for breakfast and for the last three months have really been battling my migranes. I guess I need to omit the peanut butter for a while and see if it truly could be causing it!

  8. Kimberlee says:

    Thank you everyone for your notes, it has helped me greatly to understand my peanut butter alergy. After tracking this year it has come to my attention that peanut butter is a trigger for me as well. Its weird that I have never craved peanut butter until this year either and cant seem to get enough. Well after last night peanut butter and I are breaking up. I am treating it like a bad relationship lol.

  9. diane woodson says:

    I was just about to get some yogurt when I was reading that it is a trigger, for petes sake everything I like is it seems. I have some peanut butter I was about to put on some crackers for a snack, finding it may be one too and feel like crying. i gave up the artificailly sweetened yogurt for sugsr sweetened pfarms I love in vanilla and pineapple. I am going to try and find out how you know what triggers it, I have had yogurt for 2 weeks since quitting smoking and haven’t noticed a migraine, I would have if it was there…Anyone have advice, could my migraines be disappearing since I quit smoking two weeks ago…Any ideas will be appreciated. Thanks..

    • Kerrie says:

      Different people have different food triggers and many people have no food triggers at all. Yogurt and peanut butter are both triggers for me, but they may not be for you. The only way to know is to try it.

      Smoking is a huge migraine trigger, so quitting could be the reason your migraines have disappeared. Congratulations!

      Kerrie

  10. Kelly says:

    It’s not the caffeine in chocolate that triggers migraine, but it certainly doesn’t help. Tyramine, which is also the culprit in red wine, is the trigger.

  11. Sharon says:

    I’ve suffer from headaches. They are not migraines, but they are still so painful to deal with. I have multiple months in a row where I have headaches every day. The Lord has given me strength to continue enjoying my life. If I didn’t have Him, these headaches would make be a miserable person. Recently, I started looking if certain foods are causing my headaches. I’ve noticed three times now that about 30 minutes after I eat peanut butter, my headache gets really bad. This could be a trigger.

    • Sharon,

      I’m sorry to hear you are suffering so much. It definitely sounds like peanut butter could be a trigger for you. If that’s the case, then other legumes like beans, peas and lentils could also be triggers.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

  12. James says:

    Does anyone know if there is a “safe” peanut butter to eat? I LOVE peanut butter, but I know its a trigger for me…but REALLY want it badly! Has anyone found a certain brand that wont trigger them?

  13. Jamie says:

    Peanut products are a BIG trigger for me, if I eat a Reese’s PB cup I will be passed out for DAYS with a migrane

  14. Ada says:

    Peanut butter is on of my favorites. After having peanut butter a couple of nights and waking up to a migranes and dizziness I know i have to give it up. reading everyone’s comments confirmed I will be eliminating from my diet. Also i had a Kit Kat and boy did i regret that. I’ve had migranes for the past 6 most. With many of my friends praying and a great Neurologist i hope to get this under control. Good luck all, I pray that we have a cure and that we can live life again.

  15. snd says:

    Well, for me, peanut butter resolved my headache..not a migraine. Maybe it’s dependent on each person, and how their body breaks certain things down. Just a thought. 🙂

    • SND, different people have different reactions to foods. Food sensitivities are an individual thing, though there are some that are far more likely to be triggers than others.

      Take care,
      Kerrie

  16. Paul says:

    Thanks for these great helps. I agree and want to add what I know.

    Yesterday around noon I craved chocolate. I saw Hershey’s Kisses and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. I ate 2 peanut butter cups and 5 kisses. We went shopping and my head and body was sort of numb/buzzing, loss of apetite. In the past this meant I was about to have a migraine and if I could get a Mountain Dew and 3 aspirins I could beat it. Well, I took 3 aspirins and then saw the chocolates on the counter and ate 2 more Reeses cups and 5 more kisses. 30 minutes later I was in hell. I know for me, I can’t eat American chocolates without also having a meal with them. Without a meal, I’m going to have a problem with popular chocolate products.

    No one may believe me but I have facts and theories. Hershey and Reese don’t use real cocoa butter and peanut oil in their products. They take that out and sell it for more money and replace the oil components with synthetic products – hence you can actually taste a “grainy” feeling when eating their chocolate and peanut butter products. Real peanut oil and cocoa oil make the products truly smooth in your mouth and I believe that our craving for these 2 products are generated by the body somehow recognizing it is close to a migraine and needs these essential oils and caffeine. But then we give it counterfeit oils. Caffeine combines with body chemicals to constrict and widen vessels all over the body and primarily to open vessels in the brain. The body recognizes it as fight or flight mechanism but it knows when it needs something to help it for an upcoming event:
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/531111-does-coffee-dilate-blood-vessels/

    If I eat quality chocolate for instance I can usually stop that migraine in it’s initial one hour startup time. But not Hershey. American chocolates are fond of cutting cost to the point of making the product nearly poisonous to us unless the FDA has something to say about it. They used to put pig fat in the chocolate until the FDA came in. Now they put synthetic oils in the product because the FDA hasn’t ruled on whether they can still call it chocolate.

    If you can get your hands or real chocolate with real sugar or honey – not the synthetic sugar blends, I believe, your body can stop the migraine:
    http://www.xocoatl.org/bars.htm

    For instance – real peanut butter with honey, not commercial jelly or jam can stop my migraine with a caffeine drink like Mountain Dew. I don’t think the Mountain Dew or Coke is good at all though except for the caffeine. Then I have a piece of toast with real butter on it, not margarine.

    Once the migraine is in full spin that’s another story. I find that chocolate will not help and the only thing that doesn’t make me sicker and actually helps me is real tomato soup or real applesauce and sometimes grilled cheese bread – cheddar – with the soup and please don’t use American cheese on the grilled cheese sandwich as that will only further upset your stomach. And always I lay quietly in the dark. I first listen for my heart beat, once I can hear it I know things are quiet enough. Then I typically think what will help me and this meditation helps my body communicate what it wants in that early period of the migraine. If my neck is badly kinked then a hot shower to back of the neck base is needed and some gentle self massage until the neck “pops” and I can finally turn my neck freely without pain then I know that’s also part of it also.

    Using soup, grilled cheese bread or butter toast, and/or apple sauce once the migraine begins will reduce a 3 day migraine to less than 3-12 hours and also stop the vomiting within the hour if I have at least 2 bowls of tomato soup or apple sauce – in my case, I’ve got to take 2 bowls of soup or apple sauce or I’ll end up vomiting it also. I weigh 240lbs and I’m fairly lean at 6’6″ so it may vary on your body size.

    My wife wants me to add something that I have a hard time accepting but I admit that it seems to work also. We have a strontium magnet from a hard disk, it’s a powerful magnet. That thing can smash fingers if another one of it’s kind is on the other side of your fingers. Well it’s also cold because she puts in in the freezer before sticking it directly on my headache side of my forehead. Well – about 20 minutes later, instead of pain, I feel numb to the point it’s nearly as bad as the headache, but I noticed that the stomach issues will stop!!! Weird but I think it may be because I’m focused on the freezing magnet on my head. I know that Indians believe they can remove a migraine by rubbing over the spot of the headache that it actually leaves a terrible bruise lasting weeks on the forehead but they claim it kills the migraine within an 30 minutes to an hour. Then we saw it done once on an episode of Survivor to 2 different people on the island and both people on the show said that although it was weird they were desperate and wanted to try it by a member of the group who went by the name of “Cowboy”. Each person it was done to said that it worked but then walked around with a welt on their foreheads for the next couple episodes. It seems to me that hell-of-a-scare might do the same thing without leaving a forehead bruise.

  17. christine says:

    I just want to say every time I get a migraine I have eat some pb cup to help me relieve my headache but I just can’t figure out if it’s the pb or choc or both that helps me but this point in life I don’t care I just know I stack up on pb cup just when I do get a migraine I force myself to get atleast 2 cups. I just want to say I believe I know how you people who suffer from migraine. Feel!! I have been hospitalized for migraines, n rush to er for them more than I can count.I even had drs so say to me n my family when I was brought to the er that” I need more than a migraine shot she must be on drugs ” unbelievable just because most drs don’t know anything about migraines they presume that our on drus . ( I never touched drugs in my life) its a ashame that us people have to figure out ways to help ourselves out w the migraines instead of drs helping us. This is a sad world but I just want to thank the Reese’s company for whatever u r doing to keep it up for my case n helping me w resolving my headache problem.
    Sincerely
    Christine

  18. Reneé says:

    I found this article thanks to Google, but I still have yet to find anyone else with my daughter’s problem. My daughter who is nearly 11 years old has been saying for a few years now that whenever she eats peanut butter AND chocolate TOGETHER that she gets a headache. She can eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just fine; she can eat chocolate just fine; but mix the two and she gets a headache. I’m wondering if there’s anyone else out there with that same problem.

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