Headache-causing meals: Choose cheese, wine, espresso, and chocolate carefully

Migraines is usually a very anxious expertise for many individuals – so figuring out totally different private triggers can assist scale back the frequency of episodes, particularly in the case of weight loss program.

“Dietary triggers are sometimes reported by folks with migraines,” stated Dr. Vincent Martin, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center on the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

He can be a professor of medical drugs within the Department of Internal Medicine.


“Triggers are very particular person, which means that meals that set off complications in a single individual might not set off complications in one other,” added Martin, president of the National Headache Foundation.

“Common triggers embrace alcohol, synthetic sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, processed meats like scorching canine, bacon and sausage, and citrus fruits,” Martin instructed Fox News Digital.

Pinpointing particular person headache triggers can generally be troublesome—listed below are methods to determine what’s inflicting the issue and stay a more healthy life.

But figuring out particular person triggers is usually troublesome. Here are some methods that can assist you determine issues and stay a more healthy life.

Keep a meals diary

“Some headache specialists advocate retaining a meals diary and noting the meals you eat and whether or not you may have a headache or migraine that day,” Martin stated.

“Sugary meals additionally set off complications,” she stated.


Martin instructed Fox News Digital that if greater than 50% of the meals is linked to a headache, it could happen.

“Different sufferers have totally different triggers, however nuts, arduous cheeses, wine and alcohol are quite common triggers. Patients ought to concentrate on these and see in the event that they get a headache a couple of hours after ingesting them,” stated Dr. Louise M. Klebanoff, chief of common neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

“If a meals is greater than 50% related to a headache, it is prone to happen.”

According to the Migraine Foundation of America, some meals set off complications instantly, whereas different meals can set off complications as much as 24 hours after ingestion.


The basis recommends eradicating the suspected set off out of your weight loss program for at the least a month to cut back the frequency of complications.

be constant

“What I inform my sufferers is that the migraine mind works higher with constant sleep cycles, common train and common vitamin,” Klebanoff instructed Fox News Digital.

Many processed meals have a number of substances, however a single ingredient can truly set off a migraine.

One expert suggests asking:

One knowledgeable suggests asking, “Is it actually the meals or drink that causes the headache, or is it one of many many substances or chemical substances in these meals?”

“Foods are made up of many substances that include many chemical substances,” stated Lena Beal of Atlanta, Georgia, a nationwide spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Beal suggests asking, “Is it actually meals or drink?” [the] headache – or is it one of many many substances or chemical substances in these merchandise?”

The chemical substances embrace nitrates/nitrites, phenylethylamine, sulfites, tannins, tyramine, salicylates, aspartate, added sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, glutamate and capsaicin, he instructed Fox News Digital.

Watch out for alcohol

According to many experiences, one widespread set off is alcohol.


According to a 2018 European Journal of Neurology examine, 35.6% of members with migraines reported alcohol as a set off, with purple wine being the most typical set off amongst alcoholic drinks.

A woman drinking a glass of wine

A lady ingesting a glass of wine

Although the precise purpose why wine triggers migraines is unknown, specialists imagine that some compounds in wine, resembling tannins and flavonoids, could make complications worse, experiences Health.

And alcohol could cause dehydration – a standard precipitant within the growth of complications.

Check your espresso and tea consumption

According to Healthline, espresso, tea and chocolate are widespread meals that include caffeine.

According to a 2021 report within the journal Nutrients, caffeine shouldn’t be solely concerned in triggering migraines, but additionally in curing them.

The paper did not discover sufficient proof to advocate stopping caffeine for all migraine sufferers, however it did level out that an excessive amount of or all of the sudden stopping caffeine can set off migraines.

One study found that drinking too much caffeine or stopping caffeine suddenly can trigger migraines.

One examine discovered that ingesting an excessive amount of caffeine or stopping caffeine all of the sudden can set off migraines.

“Coffee is a double-edged sword — 1-2 cups a day is okay, however extra quantities could make migraines worse. Again, consistency is vital, simply 1-2 cups a day, each day,” stated Klebanoff of Weill Cornell Medicine.

A small quantity of caffeine can relieve an acute migraine episode, so long as the treatment shouldn’t be abused.

Choose your cheese correctly

According to a 2012 examine printed within the journal Neurological Sciences, aged cheeses resembling blue, feta, parmesan or cheddar cheese are among the many commonest migraine triggers.

According to Healthline, after meals are saved, fermented or aged for lengthy intervals of time, an amino acid known as tyramine is produced by the breakdown of proteins.

Choose a secret.  According to research, aged cheeses such as blue, feta, parmesan or cheddar cheese are among the most common migraine triggers.

Choose a secret. According to analysis, aged cheeses resembling blue, feta, parmesan or cheddar cheese are among the many commonest migraine triggers.

And the longer the length of the cheese, the upper the content material of tyramine based on the identical supply.

Some specialists say that prime ranges of tyramine trigger nerve cells to launch the neurotransmitter norepinephrine within the mind, which causes complications.


“Tyramine is present in various meals, particularly aged and fermented meals and drinks,” Beal stated.

As little as 10 mg of tyramine has been linked to the onset of migraines, however ranges as little as 6 mg can set off migraines in sufferers being handled with MAO inhibitors, that are generally prescribed for despair, based on the Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

Have you ever had a “scorching canine headache”?

“Ham, bacon, deli meats, sausages and scorching canine are excessive in sodium nitrates, that are used for taste, redness and to forestall dangerous micro organism, however these meals could cause complications in extra,” Beal instructed Fox News Digital.

Ham, bacon, deli meats, sausages and hot dogs are high in sodium nitrate.

Ham, bacon, deli meats, sausages and scorching canine are excessive in sodium nitrate.

“Eliminating every meals for a couple of days can assist you identify if it is truly meals or one other underlying problem.”

Learn extra about MSG

Monosodium glutamate, in any other case generally known as MSG, is of course current in our our bodies.

However, it’s discovered in lots of meals, resembling tomatoes and in substances resembling hydrolyzed vegetable protein, in addition to in meals components resembling ketchup and barbecue sauce.

More analysis is required to find out precisely if MSG causes migraines.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers MSG to be “usually acknowledged as secure” in meals, a 2016 examine within the Journal of Headache and Pain recognized MSG as a possible migraine set off.

He additionally stated extra analysis is required to find out precisely whether or not MSG causes migraines.

Revisiting Chocolate?

Whether chocolate can set off migraines is undecided.

According to a 2012 Neurological Sciences examine, chocolate is likely one of the mostly reported migraine triggers.

Chocolate chips and dark chocolate pieces.  Whether chocolate can trigger migraines is undecided.

Chocolate chips and darkish chocolate items. Whether chocolate can set off migraines is undecided.

But as Klebanoff factors out, “chocolate may very well be a craving slightly than a set off.”

And a 2020 evaluation within the journal Nutrients discovered inadequate proof that chocolate is a real migraine set off.

Let’s study nuts

Nuts, like peanut butter and all seeds, are a standard migraine set off, based on the Migraine Disorder Association.

NATIONAL Nut Day: Health advantages of pistachios, almonds, cashews and extra revealed

They include an amino acid known as phenylalanine, which might disrupt blood movement within the mind — a mechanism that may result in migraines, based on the National Library of Medicine.

Understand that it’s sophisticated

“The relationship between weight loss program and migraines is complicated,” stated Dr. Jennifer Bickel, a headache specialist and fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, relies in Tampa, Florida.

“Of course there are conditions the place the identical meals all the time triggers migraines, however it’s normally extra sophisticated than that.”

A young woman works on a computer and eats various unhealthy foods.  Determining the true cause of headaches is difficult because other factors must be considered.

A younger lady works on a pc and eats numerous unhealthy meals. Determining the true explanation for complications is troublesome as a result of different elements should be thought-about.

Bickel gave the instance of ingesting a glass of wine and later getting a headache.

“Perhaps you may have a glass of purple wine should you’ve slept properly and are beneath stress, however that very same glass of purple wine mixed with poor sleep and stress may be sufficient to set off a crippling migraine.”

Consider these different elements

Determining the true explanation for complications is troublesome as a result of there are different elements to contemplate, Beal stated.


These elements embrace:

Eyeglass prescription could also be incorrect

Change headache drugs

skipping meals

Eating at a special time than ordinary


Don’t get sufficient sleep earlier than the headache begins

Stress and nervousness

Menstrual stage when headache begins

The climate will encourage

Family historical past

“Most of the details about doable meals triggers for complications comes from affected person self-reports, not from randomized scientific research,” Beal added.


“I all the time encourage my sufferers to have a look at not solely the meals they’re consuming, but additionally the mix of climate adjustments, menstrual cycles, insomnia and stress,” Bickel instructed Fox News Digital.

“I counsel sufferers to keep away from synthetic sweeteners (Stevia is sweet), MSG (many ready meals and savory snacks), and nitrates and nitrites (smoked lunch meats, scorching canine),” Klebanoff stated.

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“Life intervention can considerably enhance the frequency of migraines, however we even have many medication which can be very efficient.”

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