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Are certain foods causing headaches?

Have a headache? Look at what you’ve eaten today. There are many foods or dietary habits that can trigger headaches or migraines. Fasting, dehydration, and skipping meals can all cause headaches as well as…cheese? More than a quarter of migraine sufferers have specific triggers, including food. Some foods that you eat everyday could directly be contributing to your discomfort.

Tyramine is a substance found predominantly in aged cheese and other foods that experience a breakdown of proteins as they age. Blue cheeses, cheddar, feta, mozzarella, parmesan, and swiss are just a few of the reported cheeses that are high in tyramine. Red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats also contain the unpleasant substance.

Headaches related to alcohol come from more places than just over imbibing. When you drink, blood flow increases to your brain. This dilation from sudden blood flow can trigger headaches as well as migraines. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are notorious beverages for causing headaches.

There are multiple food additives (and preservatives) that are headache culprits as well. Nitrites and certain food colorings are included.  These substances dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow that may cause headaches which are usually felt on both sides of the head. MSG, which is commonly found in soy sauce and Asian cuisine, can cause headaches within an hour after ingestion and is not relieved until the MSG is flushed out of ones’ system.

Cold substances are also big headache contributors. Also known as ‘brain freeze’ these headaches peak 25-60 seconds after ingesting the cold food or beverage and usually doesn’t last longer than five minutes. For those prone to migraines, these simple headaches can lead into a full on attack. 90% of those that suffer from migraines are cautious when eating cold foods and beverages.

Not only can eating certain foods trigger headaches, skipping meals entirely can do so as well. If your body’s regular stability is affected by not eating at a certain time every day headaches can ensue. To prevent this, always have some sort of quick, healthy snack on hand to make sure you are never without nourishment.

By identifying your trigger foods by setting aside a time to eat the suspected food and waiting to see if a headache does occur, you can eliminate them from you diet and find alternative choices that will ensure that you live a healthy and headache free lifestyle.

7 Comments to “Are certain foods causing headaches?”

  1. I will agree with the respondent who remdncemoed a food diary. Some common migraine triggers are hard cheese, wine (probably because of the sulfites, MSG some chocolates.I have a friend who gets migraines from a certain coffee creamer and a close friend who went through a spate of them until he found out it was caused by a certain hot chocolate mix sold by Winchell’s Donuts years ago.Feverfew is a proven preventative, although it does little to relieve a severe migraine once it is set in. You have to either drink the tea or chew the leaves of the plant every day. I’ve been told that the capsules don’t do anything. Something in the leaves is very irritating to the mouth and can cause irritation. Might want to try brushing your teeth or eating some apple to clean the mouth right after using feverfew.

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