7 Common Foods That Cause Headaches

A headache can be anything from a minor nuisance to a full-on migraine. These pains typically have different root causes. But did you know that food contributes to headaches? If you suffer from semi-frequent headaches, you may want to take a look at your diet.

Here are seven foods that cause headaches so that you can alter your meals accordingly.

1. Caffeine

There are two sides of the coin with caffeine. You can either consume too much or too little. The first situation causes a “caffeine overdose” that may lead to a headache. The second circumstance happens when you have a caffeine addiction. If you consume too little, you can experience withdrawals.

Items that contain caffeine include coffee, tea, chocolate and more. You may also want to cut down on your energy drink intake. Manage your relationship with caffeine to avoid getting headaches. A smaller amount of caffeine is a good place to start.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol leads to dehydration. In turn, you can experience a headache because your body doesn’t have enough water. These beverages are thought to trigger migraines especially. You may also notice that wine causes you to have more headaches than with beer or spirits.

Limit your alcohol intake so that you can curb your headaches. If you do drink, it’s smart to consume one glass of water for every glass of alcohol. Alcohol is one of the most popular substances that cause headaches, so it’s worth reducing or eliminating your intake.

3. Meats

In some cases, you may experience a headache after you eat meat. Everything from hot dogs to sliced ham can cause headaches due to how they’re processed. These items usually contain nitrate. This compound turns into nitrate oxide — and may dilate your brain’s blood vessels.

It’s hard to say whether meats will give you a headache. That said, you should keep track of certain foods that make you feel bad after you eat them. That’s the only way to know whether you should eliminate something.

4. Chocolate

Do you like chocolate? Unfortunately, your favorite treat may be causing your headaches. It’s one of the most commonly reported migraine triggers in the United States. This experience most likely occurs because chocolate contains caffeine. It also has beta-phenylethylamine. That property stimulates the central nervous system.

If you’ve noticed that caffeine bothers you, it’s smart to avoid chocolate, too. You may be able to find caffeine-free chocolate. These products use carob in place of cocoa beans. You could also eat white chocolate instead.

5. Frozen Items

A brain freeze from ice cream or another frozen food is a common occurrence. If you eat these foods too quickly, you’ll feel the cold rush to your brain. It’s better to eat your ice cream or drink your cold beverage slowly so that you can avoid a headache.

If you have migraines, you should pay special attention to these items. A brain freeze can quickly trigger a migraine. Keep these points in mind whenever you’re enjoying a popsicle or an iced coffee.

6. Pickled and Fermented Products

There are many people who are sensitive to tyramine. This trace amine occurs naturally in various foods, which is why those with migraines avoid it in their diets. The amount of tyramine increases when you pickle or ferment items. As a result, you may want to stay awy from pickled and fermented foods like:

  • Pickles
  • Kombucha
  • Okra
  • Beets
  • Kimchi
  • Jalapenos
  • Miso

It would help if you also steered clear of soy products like soy sauce. It’s smart to consider a low-tyramine diet so that you can reduce the number of headaches you experience. There are instances where cured meats and aged cheeses contain tyramine, as well.

7. Cheeses

A cheese like mozzarella or feta won’t necessarily cause a headache. That said, you should reconsider consuming aged cheeses. The aging process may trigger headaches like they do with cured meats. Tyramine is the culprit here, too.

There isn’t much research behind this claim, but it’s widely agreed upon that aged cheese is more likely to cause headaches. Avoid hard cheeses like gouda, parmesan and cheddar. Fresh cheeses will be your best bet.

Try to Avoid These Foods That Cause Headaches

If you seem to experience headaches often, it’s smart to take a look at your diet. You may find that some foods or beverages trigger your headaches. Try to keep a food diary so that you can use the process of elimination. Then, you can enjoy a headache-free life.