Trigger Foods: 11 Foods To Avoid If You Have Migraine

Trigger Foods: 11 Foods To Avoid If You Have Migraine

Migraines are attacks of medium and high-intensity headaches, which a person feels in half head. It is rare that a person has not experienced a migraine at least once in their life. And due to the modern pace of life, ecology, as well as malnutrition, the occurrence of such headaches has become more frequent.

And today, we want to talk about a non-obvious trigger for the appearance of migraines – the food. Here are a few foods to avoid (or at least reduce your intake) to reduce the duration of headache attacks.

Foods That Trigger Migraines

If you are somebody who has regular migraines, then you should skip the following foods and drinks.

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a highly controversial component in terms of its effect on migraines and is present in coffee and tea. According to the American Migraine Foundation, caffeine may indeed be effective in treating acute headaches. But in the case of migraines, you should consume coffee no more than twice a week.

Otherwise, caffeine taken three or more times a week can lead to an increase in the frequency of migraines. The Foundation recommends avoiding caffeine for people with headaches, at least until the frequency of migraines decreases.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most commonly reported migraine-causing drinks. In experiments research, it was found that more than 35% of the participants suffered from migraines precisely because of alcohol consumption. Moreover, Red wine is the most common trigger for headaches among people.

The reason for this is not only the poisoning of the body with alcohol decomposition products but also dehydration. This significantly contributes to the development of headaches, as well as other harmful effects of ethanol. If you are an alcoholic, the chances are that you will suffer from migraines more often.

Therefore, you will have to give up alcoholism if you want to get rid of headaches. There are many rehab centers providing alcoholism treatment to people across the globe. You can choose the one located near your home to recover soon.

3. Chocolate

According to the American Migraine Foundation, the second most common trigger for headache attacks is chocolate. It negatively affects about 22% of people with migraines. The fact is that chocolate contains beta-phenylethylamine, which can cause headaches in some. However, according to other researchers, there are no reliable studies that would prove that chocolate is a trigger for migraines.

4. Aged Cheese

Aged cheeses contain tyramine, an organic substance that is also present in ergot and rotting tissues. Tyramine has a vasoconstrictor effect. It increases blood pressure, affects the processes of excitation and inhibition in the nervous system, and is a toxic substance.

It also serves as one of the triggers of migraine. The longer the cheese gets aged, the higher the tyramine content will be. This is why people with frequent headaches should limit their intake of blue cheese, Gruyere, cheddar, and other aged cheeses.

5. Pickled And Fermented Foods

Like aged cheeses, some pickled and fermented foods may contain tyramine. A reasonably large amount of this substance is present in pickles, sauerkraut, and pickled jalapeno peppers. Those people who are at higher risk of migraines should definitely avoid eating these fermented foods.

6. Processed Meat

Sausages and other semi-finished meat products contain preservatives for longer shelf life, including nitrates. It preserves the taste and color of the product. Nitrates can release nitric oxide into the bloodstream, which dilates blood vessels in the brain.

This can contribute to headaches. The researchers found that during a migraine attack, the subjects experience a significant increase in nitrate levels, while in periods without headache, they decreased.

7. Aspartame

Aspartame is one of the most commonly used sweeteners used in place of sugar to reduce calories and reduce the risk of diabetes. However, research shows that adding foods containing aspartame to the diet of people with migraines can lead to a significant increase in the incidence of headaches.

8. Yeast

Bad news for bakeries: yeast can also trigger migraine attacks. It’s all about the tyramine substance already described above, which is present in cheeses. It is also present in pickled as well as fermented foods. Therefore, it is worth reducing the number of baked goods in your diet to reduce headache attacks.

9. Quinoline yellow

Quinoline Yellow (E 104) is an organic compound that has a yellow-green color and is used, for example, in Mountain Dew and other drinks. This compound can cause not only headaches but also, according to the researchers, hyperactive behavior in children. Since 2010, products containing this dye are sold in the European Union should have a warning: “May impair activity and attention in children.”

10. Citrus

There is currently no consensus on whether citrus fruits trigger headaches. But if we take the point of view of scientists who consider them a trigger, then the most often mentioned is the effect of synephrine. It is present in orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. Synephrine is a stimulant that increases blood pressure, which in turn can trigger migraines.

11. Foods High In Histamine

Histamine is a chemical compound involved in the immune response to allergen exposure. Anyone with allergies knows about antihistamines that can help reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Also, histamine can be a trigger for migraines.

In addition to the alcohol, chocolate, and citrus fruits already described above, histamine is present in tomatoes, eggplant, nuts, shrimp, mussels, oysters, spinach, vinegar, pineapple, plums, strawberries, etc.


Many people in today’s era have regular headaches, but they do not know that what they eat can trigger such aches. The foods listed in this article should not be a part of your diet if you suffer from migraines. If you cannot completely cut them off, then you should at least try to minimize their use. Remember, it is better to take precautionary measures rather than depending on medication for the rest of your life.