Your Food Can Really Cause a Headache!?

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

headaches caused by food

Have you ever noticed that when you eat a certain type of food, shortly thereafter you have a splitting headache?

There are certain foods that can actually trigger headaches in some people. “It is not unusual at all for food to trigger migraines or other types of headaches,” says Noah Rosen, MD, director of the Headache Institute at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Long Island, N.Y. That’s why keeping a food journal to document your headaches is a good idea.

Let’s take a look a a few foods that may play a part in your headache.

  • Chocolate:  Is it really a migraine trigger? – “Chocolate may be getting a bad rap as a migraine trigger,” says Dr. Rosen. “Many people with migraines have increased appetite and food cravings just before their headaches start.” Reaching for a chocolate bar may be the result of a migraine, rather than the cause.
  • Red Wine and other Alcohol Reactions – Sulfites used as preservatives in red wine have been linked to migraine headaches. Alcohol in any drink causes increased blood flow to your brain and can also result in dehydration, both of which might be headache triggers.
  • Coffee: Headache Trigger or Pain Reliever?A little caffeine can actually help get rid of a migraine headache, and caffeine may be included in some migraine medications, but too much caffeine can be a headache trigger when you come down from your caffeine “high.”
  • Cheese:  Older isn’t Better for Migraines – The culprit may be a substance called tyramine that forms as the proteins in cheese break down over time. The longer a cheese ages, the more tyramine it has. Examples you might want to skip to avoid headaches include blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, gouda, and parmesan.
  • Soy Sauce and MSG – Monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is found in soy sauce and as a food additive in many other foods, has been found to cause cramps, diarrhea, and a horrible headache in 10 to 15 percent of people who get migraine headaches.
  • Ice Cream:  It’s not the Cream, It’s the Ice – The stabbing pain you get when you eat ice cream too fast is a reaction to the cold, not the ice cream itself. An ice cream headache is more likely if you are overheated.
  • Bananas:  Serious Headache Triggers? – They could trigger a migraine for people who are sensitive to tyramine, the same substance found in aged cheese. Studies show that the peel has about 10 times more tyramine than the banana pulp.
  • Processed Meats – There are no good studies that say processed meats will cause you to get a headache,” says Rosen. But the nitrates and nitrites used as preservatives in hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats may dilate blood vessels and trigger headaches in some people.

SML TIP:  The best advice is to keep a food diary, avoid foods that seem to trigger your headaches, stick to a healthy diet, and don’t skip meals.

Source:  “8 Foods That Trigger Headaches”,

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