Foods That Cause Migraines

Foods That Cause Migraines

Many foods can be linked to triggering headaches and migraines. Foods associated with migraines contain a natural substance or food additives--sometimes a combination of both--that contribute to the onset of migraines. Knowing which foods contain ingredients that are migraine triggers can be the first step to reducing the occurrence of migraines.

Natural Migraine Contributing Substance
Tyramine is a natural substance found in protein-based foods. Tyramine forms from the breakdown of protein, and can trigger severe hypertension resulting in migraines.

Foods Containing Tyramine
The following foods contain high levels of tyramine and should be avoided by migraine sufferers:
  1. Avocados
  2. Bananas
  3. Beef liver
  4. Blue cheese
  5. Bologna
  6. Canned soup
  7. Camembert cheese
  8. Cheddar cheese
  9. Chicken liver
  10. Dates
  11. Dried figs
  12. Fava beans
  13. Garbanzo beans
  14. Kiwi
  15. Lima beans
  16. Nuts
  17. Olives
  18. Onions
  19. Papaya
  20. Peanut butter
  21. Pepperoni
  22. Pineapple
  23. Pinto beans
  24. Raisins
  25. Raspberries
  26. Red plums
  27. Roquefort cheese
  28. Salami
  29. Sauerkraut
  30. Soy sauce
  31. Spinach
  32. Stilton cheese
  33. Summer sausage
  34. Swiss cheese
  35. Teriyaki
  36. Tofu
  37. Tomatoes
  38. Yeast
  39. Yeast extracts
Food Additives Proven to Contribute to Migraines
Nitrates, nitrites, monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt, aspartame, meat tenderizer and soy sauce are food preservatives that have the ability to dilate blood vessels and cause migraines. Most processed foods contain additives; while some contain minuscule amounts, others contain as many additives as the original product.

Foods Containing Food Additives
The following foods typically are abundant in food additives and should be avoided by people who suffer from frequent migraines:
  • Bacon
  • Cured meat
  • Deli meat
  • Hot dogs
  • Ham
  • Luncheon meat
  • Oriental foods
  • Pepperoni
  • Pickles
  • Processed meat
  • Red wine
  • Sausage
  • Whiskey
Dairy Products Can Trigger Migraines
The protein found in milk is a known allergenic for many people. This protein--casein--creates histamines, which in turn are responsible for the production of mucus. Excessive mucus puts pressure on brain membranes, which can trigger migraines.

Dairy Products to Avoid
Dairy products may contribute to migraines for many people. To see if dairy products trigger migraines, avoid the following:

Cheese (all types)
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt
Every person who experiences migraines may have different triggers; therefore, avoiding all foods listed may not be entirely necessary. For this reason, it is recommended to determine triggers through an elimination process. Eliminate all foods listed for four to six weeks, then add one food each week. Any unpleasant side effects noticed upon reintroducing a food would indicate a food to avoid.