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13 foods that can give you a headache

Do you suffer from migraine? Here are 6 foods that you should stay away from.

Written by Shraddha Rupavate |Updated : March 26, 2015 3:16 PM IST

HeadacheThere are a number of foods that can trigger migraine headaches, each one of them independent of the other. What exactly in these foods causes or triggers headaches is still not known but researchers believe that certain substances in these foods interact with nerves and blood vessels of the brain triggering migraine headache.

One of the theories suggests that certain chemicals in food may constrict blood vessels in the brain which decreases the blood flow to the brain resulting in migraine. Scientists believe that these foods alter the amount of a neurochemical called serotonin that may play a role in causing changes the blood vessels and blood flow headaches. Try these home remedies to cure headaches.

Tyramine containing foods: Most foods that cause headache contain the substance tyramine, which is thought to influence the release of serotonin.

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1. Chocolate

2. Banana

3. Cheese

4. Vinegar

5. Yogurt

6. Soy sauce

7. Fermented foods

8. Red wine

9. Citrus fruitsCitrus fruits: Often you must have experienced shooting pain in your head after eating sour oranges, lemons or mosambis. Sour fruits are highly acidic and can disturb the pH balance of your blood, which on reaching your brain may trigger headache. Citrus fruits also contain histamines and small quantities of tyramine that add on to other triggers.

Coffee cup10. Coffee: Unlike other foods that cause headache after consumption, coffee triggers headache when it is not consumed. People who are addicted to caffeine containing beverages often complain of throbbing pain in the head with withdrawal. In some people who have migraine, drinking coffee causes headache while in others it may be the other way round.Here are more reasons why you should cut down your coffee intake.

11. Additives: If you read food labels carefully before buying them, you will notice that most packaged foods contain a substance called monosodium glutamate, which can cause headaches. It is a food additive which brings flavour to packaged foods. Most common examples are potato chips, packed roasted nuts, diet foods, mayonnaise and other frozen foods. Read more about toxic chemicals in foods.

12. Leftover foods: Eating leftover food is a common household habit. But people suffering from migraine should avoid eating leftover foods to prevent headache due to increased amount of tyramine. Tyramine is actually a substance derived from the amino acid tyrosine that is present in a lot of foods. When you store food for a long time, more and more tyrosine is converted to tyramine. The amount of tyramine is higher in foods that are not stored properly or not refrigerated for a long time. If you want to store food, use airtight containers to store them. Read more about makeover for leftover foods.

13. sugar bombsArtificial sweeteners: All foods that contain artificial sweeteners may give you a headache. These include diet beverages, low-calorie desserts, yogurts and candies. Here are foods that you should stay away from to keep depression away.


  • The Headache Prevention Cookbook: Eating Right to Prevent Migraines and ... By David R. Marks
  • Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Chronic Headaches by Douglas Hanna
  • The Times of India: Foods that can give you a headache

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