Foods that Trigger Migraine Headache

Updated at: Jul 04, 2018
Foods that Trigger Migraine Headache

Foods that trigger migraine headache should be avoided to prevent yourself from a big headache! Here are surprising foods that cause migraine misery.

Sharanya Manola
MigraineWritten by: Sharanya ManolaPublished at: Jul 04, 2018

Foods that Trigger Migraine HeadacheMigraine is a type of chronic headache that can cause considerable pain for hours or even days. There are variety of food items that can trigger headaches. Let’s take a quick look at foods that can give you.

Dairy Products

Protein present in milk creates histamines which are responsible for the production of mucus. Excessive production of mucus develops undue and unwanted pressure on brain membrane which can trigger migraine.

Food Rich in Carbohydrates

Any food items which have high carbohydrates can result in rapid secretion of insulin. This lowers blood sugar level and trigger headaches in patients with migraine.

Also read: The Difference Between Good and Bad Carbohydrates

Now that you know that the above food items can trigger migraine, we advise you to avoid them as much as possible. The aim is to reduce and not to induce.


Red wine, beer, vermouth and sherry have large amounts of tyramine which is known to be the most powerful migraine triggers. Tyramine can lead to dilation of blood vessels and trigger migraine. So, the next time you’re drinking alcohol which is followed by sever migraine attack, it’s the time to start taking an alternate route. It’s good to alternate alcoholic drinks with water.


Caffeine is a double-edged weapon, that is, it might give you relief from headache or might trigger migraine. Test your personal response to caffeine. If it gives you headaches, avoid it.

Chocolate-induced Migraine

Chocolotes have theobromine, caffeine and phenylethylamine which are migraine triggers present in chocolate. These are capable of altering the cerebral blood flow and cause migraine.

Tyramine or Phenylethylamine

Those who suffer dietary migraine are sensitive to foods which contain tyramine. Tyramine leads to dilation of brain nerves and causes a sudden rush of blood, which in turn triggers migraine.

Tyramine is found in beer, wine, aged or fermented cheese, yeast, pickled herring,  soy foods, nuts, eggs, oranges, banana, tomatoes, spinach and citrus fruits.

Common Additives

All food preservatives have a tendency to trigger migraine. For instance nitrites, nitrates, MSG or monosodium glutamate, salt, aspartame and soy sauce. These food preservatives have the ability to dilate blood vessels and cause migraines. Nitrites, for instance can lower oxygen levels in the blood.

Remember, that although some food items contain very less or negligible additives, others have additives as original product itself. So avoid bacon, ham, hot dogs, cured meat, oriental foods, sausages, red wine, whiskey, processed meat, pickles and pepperoni which have abundant food additives.

Also read: 5 reasons why you should quit eating red meat

Eating Leftovers

Usually, tyramine content increases in the foods which aren’t stored properly. So, migraine patients should avoid eating leftovers. Beware of foods which have been kept in the refrigerator for more than 48 hours. The more aged the food is the worse the migraine trigger it is.

If you cannot discard the food then make sure you store it in airtight containers.

Read more articles on Migraine.

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