Migraines? What’s Your Diet Look Like?


In my lifetime (and I’m not saying how old I am), I’ve experienced one migraine. Although it was years ago, I still remember the experience. Since my father suffered from migraines, I feared going down the same medical path. Good news though, to this day that has been my one and only migraine.

I didn’t know then that food can trigger migraines. Of course, I don’t remember what I ate before my migraine either. For people who do regularly experience migraines, monitoring the foods they eat is important.

On a recent CBS 11 newscast, internist Dr. Bryan Wasson, an internist on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Irving explained the connection.

Here are three important words to remember: tyramine, tannins, and caffeine.


Tyramine is found in foods like cheeses, lunch meats, bacon, soy products, olives, and pickles among others. As these foods age, the tyramine content becomes higher. “Think about what’s in your sandwich: cheese and lunch meat,” says Dr. Wasson.


Tannins are found in red-skinned apples, pears, apple juice, cider, lemons, limes, honeydew melon, and blackberries. As these fruits age, the tannin content drops, meaning you’d want to eat these fruits as ripe as possible.


Caffeine is a trigger for many people. Remember even decaffeinated coffee still has some caffeine.

Then, we have a category of “all others,” which include artificial sweeteners, MSG or preservatives like sulfites and nitrates.

If you experience migraines it is more than likely your physician will ask you to keep a food diary—now technology has come to the rescue!

Instead of carrying a small notebook and writing tool with you to write down every food you consume, there’s an app for that like “My Migraine Triggers. Download it for Apple iOS here.

Migraine triggers are unique to the person, making tracking foods a vital first step.

“Track your food and maybe it will give you an indication of what you’re sensitive to,” says Dr. Wasson.

About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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Migraines? What’s Your Diet Look Like?