20 Common Foods That Cause Headaches and Migraines

Your horrible headache and migraine can be caused by triggering foods such as chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine. However, each individual condition is different. It means that particular foods, which do not affect in your condition but can trigger headaches and migraines in some individuals. Therefore, it is the reason why you should keep a good diary to document your headaches and migraines. In this article, I would like to share with you some common foods that cause headaches and migraines. If you want to control these conditions, you should avoid these foods.

Common Foods That Cause Headaches And Migraines – Foods That You Should Avoid

Before I mention about the common foods that cause headaches and migraines, I would like to introduce to you some background information about these conditions. Migraines and other types of headaches like sinus headache and tension headache have a painful experience. When you suffer from migraines and headaches, you may face the symptoms such as nausea, pounding headache, vomiting, and light sensitivity. Migraines can be treated with abortion and antinausea drugs or preventive medications. The common treatment for a headache is using pain relievers.

Although we have a variety of treatments for headaches and migraines, we cannot ignore the importance of diet for treating headaches and migraines. Many researches and reports have found the link between diet and headaches. It means that your diet will make headache symptoms get worse or get better. According to Deborah Friedman, a neurologist working at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, what you eat and what you drink may trigger your head’s pounding. Therefore, it is important for you to keep the food diary to check whether there is a pattern and avoid culinary culprits especially when you are suffering from headaches and migraines. In order to help the patients with headaches and migraines who want to control unpleasant symptoms, I would like to share with you some common foods that cause headaches and migraines in AllRemedies. However, it is important to note that because each individual condition is not the same. The foods triggering headache in many people may not affect you. Therefore, this article is only for informational purpose. But if you still concern, please keep reading the following common foods that causes headaches and migraines.

1. Chocolate

foods that cause headaches

A research conducted by the International Headache Society has found out that cocoa in chocolate may protect your nerve cells that can lead to migraines and headaches. 22 percent of patients with headaches may consider the chocolate as a headache trigger. According to Dr. Rosen, people with headaches develop food craving just before the headaches attack. Therefore, it is reasonable to say that migraine or headache attack may make the patients want to reach for a chocolate bar which may not the cause.

3. Red Wines And Other Alcohols

Red wines and other alcohols may be included in the list of common foods that cause headaches and migraines.

Sulfites which are used in red wine preservation may make the symptoms get worse.

Many drinks which contain alcohol will result in headache by increasing the blood flow to our brain and making your body dehydrated. They are also the triggers of migraines and headaches. Patients with headaches tend to have worse hangovers caused by any type of alcohol, according to Robert Daroff, MD, a professor of neurology working at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland and also a past president of the American Headache Society. Alcohol will cause headaches in some patients who have gone through a period of cluster headaches.

3. Coffee

Sometimes, many people may confuse about caffeine. They do not know whether caffeine should be considered as one of foods that cause headache or headache pain reliever. If you stay up late on the weekend and you may wake up in the next morning with the unpleasant headaches, drinking a cup of coffee which contain caffeine can help you to find the significant relief. Moreover, it will increase your concentration in the morning. A little caffeine will be effective in treating migraines and headaches. In fact, caffeine can be found in some migraine medications. However, consuming too much caffeine will lead to a headache. It is important to drink coffee in the moderation if you want to control and find the relief for migraines and headaches. In general, it is recommended taking 200 milligrams of caffeine (about two or three cups of coffee) daily to get headache relief. The alternative better way is substitute coffee with tea which also contains caffeine.

4. Cheese

foods that cause headaches

There is not enough evidence to prove cheese as the headache trigger. However, most of people generally agree that eating aged cheese will increase the risk of developing migraines and headaches. The possible explanation is that a substance called tyramine is the culprit. Tyramine will form when the proteins in cheese break down gradually over time. According to Rosen, the longer time a cheese is stored, the more tyramine it contains. If you want to avoid headaches and migraines, you should avoid these aged cheeses, including Swiss, blue cheese, cheddar, parmesan and gouda.

5. The Soy Sauce

Asking for the common foods that cause headaches and migraines, I want to mention the soy sauce. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is considered as the food addictive in many foods can be found in the soy sauce. Many researches have shown that MSG may result in some certain health problems such as diarrhea, cramps and a horrible headache. MSG can cause migraine in some people. Moreover, the soy sauce is also salty, which can make your body hydrated. And dehydration is one of possible headache triggers.

6. Ice Creams

foods that cause headaches

The stabbing pain you feel in your head when you eat ice creams too fast is a result of eating the ice, not the cream. Because of the cold in ice creams, the stabbing pain in your head will last for 30 to 60 seconds. Ice creams and other cold foods may be one of migraine causes for patients who experience migraines and other types of headaches while for most healthy people, the pain will disappear quickly. However, if you are a fan of ice creams, you do not need to avoid eating ice creams completely. The helpful solution is eating ice creams or drinking cold drinks slowly, suggested Daroff.

7. Bananas

Banana may be one of the foods caused headaches and migraines. Eating banana may not make healthy people suffer from headache. However, this fruit could trigger a headache or a migraine in some people who are sensitive to tyramine. Tyramine is the substance found in aged cheese. Recent studies showed that the banana peel has 10 times much more tyramine than banana pulp. Although there is not enough reason for this, you should definitely avoid this food if your food diary points the particular signs if headaches after eating bananas.

8. Processed Meat

foods that cause headaches

There are not enough reliable evidences and researches that show processed meat can lead to headache, according to Rosen. However, the nitrites and the nitrates which are used as preservatives in bacon, hot dogs and lunch meats will affect the blood pressure and cause headaches and migraines in some people. Therefore, if your diary shows that processed meat is one of triggers causing headache, you should avoid it. Lean meat and fish are the better alternative healthy foods for not only patients with headaches but also all people.

9. Aspartame

Some people may think that diet sodas and juices are the best choice if they want to lose weight. However, diet sodas have no calorie and low nutrients which are not beneficial for your health. Moreover, many studies and researches have shown the close link between aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet sodas and juices, and headaches. Therefore, if your food diary points that you are sensitive to aspartame and you have the symptoms of headaches or migraines after drinking diet sodas, you need to check the ingredient list of diet juices and sodas.

10. Leftovers

foods that cause headaches

Tyramine content will increase when foods are stored over time. Therefore, the foods which are not stored improperly will increase the risk of developing migraines and headaches in some people who are sensitive to tyramine. If you are prone to suffer from frequent headache due to tyramine, you should avoid eating leftovers. You should be careful when eating at the office or at the parties where the foods are often left unrefrigerated for a long period of time. If you want to store food, it is smarter and more vigilant to keep them in the airtight containers before placing in the refrigerator. When storing foods, you should pay attention to its limited time.

11. Nitrites

Nitrites are the substance in many particular foods such as hot dogs, pepperoni, deli meats. Studies have found that consuming nitrites can cause migraines. Moreover, nitrites can also be found in turkey, chicken and soy sauces or other foods which are smoked, cured, canned or pickled. In order to keep headache and migraine condition under the control, you should find nitrite-free varieties of these products at the grocery store and exclude them from their meals.

12. Tannins

If you suffer from headaches and migraines, it is recommended avoiding tannins, plant compounds which can found in some foods that cause headaches such as red-skinned apples, tea, pears, red wine, apple juice and cider. These foods may give astringent taste or puckering, dry sensation in your mouth. Tannins seem to be a strong trigger for headaches and migraines in some individuals.

13. Sulfites

foods that cause headaches

Beside nitrites, sulfites are another food preservative which are used in foods that cause headaches and migraines like dried fruits (including figs, prunes, and apricots), white wine or red wine, and many processed foods. The only way to avoid this food preservative is reading the product labels before purchasing.

14. Common Additives

It is said that many food additives can result in migraines and headaches. Foods that cause headaches and migraines contain common additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG),hydrolyzed or autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), kombu extract (used in Japanese foods), yeast extract and sodium caseinate. Therefore, as the way on how to keep headaches and migraines at bay, you should read the labels carefully before purchasing.

15. Beans

All kinds of beans, including navy beans, string beans, kidney beans, and lima beans, are thought to be food triggering for headaches and migraine. The possible reason may be that these kinds of beans contain tannins, a culprit for your headaches and migraines. Eating beans when you are suffering from headaches and migraines will worsen your condition. Therefore, if you get diagnosed with headaches, you should avoid consuming beans.

16. Pickles

foods that cause headaches

If you are experiencing from headaches, you should stay away from all the foods which have been pickles, for example beets, eggs, olives, peppers, vegetables, and cucumbers and so on.

17. Olives

Olives is one of the common foods which cause headaches and migraines in some people. The possible reason may be that olives contain tyramine, a substance that can increase the risk of developing headaches. Therefore, in order to control headache symptoms, you should avoid or limit olives intake.

18. Avocado

If you are sensitive to tyramine and your diet diary shows that you have headache symptoms when eating foods containing tyramine, you should avoid eating avocado, one of the foods that cause headaches and migraines. Avocado has the great source of tyramine.

19. Pizza

Fast foods like pizza not only make you gain weight but also are one of the common foods that cause headaches and migraines. The possible reason may be that the yeast in pizza may trigger headaches.

Soft pretzels are also food triggers for headaches if you eat too much. The possible culprit is also yeast.

20. Whole Milk

foods that cause headaches

If you suffer from headache, you should not drink whole milk because casein and choline may result in migraines and headaches, according to recent studies.

These are 20 common foods that cause headaches and migraines that I want to share with you. I hope that this article is helpful for you. If you have any questions to ask, please raise your voice by leaving your comments bellow. I will answer as soon as I can.

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    8 Comments Join the Conversation →

    5 stars - based on 8 review(s)
    1. selenahoward

      Eating a lot of processed food is very harmful. Processed food contains many harm chemicals, and of course they are not good for our health. We’d better eat cooked food and fresh food and just eat these kinds of fast food when we are to busy to cook

    2. rob0281

      Eating a lot of chocolate can cause headache? This is the first time i have heard of this. I think eating chocolate is very good for heart and people who have heart disease always eat dark chocolate?


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