5 migraine headache trigger foods

About 45 million Americans suffer from headaches, and 28 million of them suffer from migraines, according to the National Headache Foundation.

A migraine headache causes intense throbbing and pulsing in one or more areas of the head, and usually comes with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound and light. Migraines can last for hours or days and can be triggered by certain foods, strong perfumes, bright lights, and weather changes.

Not everyone has the same triggers every time. With a combination of the right medications, self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, relief can be found.

Foods That Trigger Migraines

Here are five common foods that can trigger migraines:

  1. Tyramine and Phenylethylamine: These two amino acids are the most common migraine triggers. They’re found in chocolate, aged cheeses, citrus and vinegar.
  2. Caffeine: People who are sensitive to caffeine can develop migraines after drinking coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks. However, caffeine can also be used to stop migraines for some people.
  3. Alcohol: Beer and red wine are high in the amino acid tyramine, which is known to cause migraines. Talk to your physician about limiting your alcohol consumption if it’s a trigger for you. Typically, no more than one to two drinks while alternating with water is a standard recommendation.
  4. Tannins  and Nitrates: Tea, red apples, apple juice and red wine, processed meats such as hot dogs, deli meats, pepperoni and sausage are high in tannins and nitrates, common migraine culprits.
  5. Aspartame: This artificial sweetener found in diet drinks and other “light” foods has been known to bring on migraines in some people.


To learn more about treatment options for headaches or migraines, listen to this podcast. 

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5 migraine headache trigger foods