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17 Foods and Drinks That Cause Headaches

Headache

It’s important to note that individual reactions to foods can vary, and not everyone will experience headaches after consuming these items. However, certain foods and beverages have been known to trigger headaches in some people, particularly those who are sensitive to certain substances. Here’s a detailed list of some common foods and drinks that have been associated with causing headaches in some individuals:

  1. Processed Meats: Hot dogs, bacon, deli meats, and other processed meats often contain nitrates and nitrites, which may contribute to headaches in some people.
  2. Aged Cheeses: Certain cheeses, like blue cheese, cheddar, feta, and parmesan, contain tyramine, which can trigger headaches, especially in those prone to migraines.
  3. Alcohol: Red wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages can cause headaches in some individuals due to histamines and other compounds present in them.
  4. Caffeinated Beverages: Excessive consumption of coffee, tea, energy drinks, and cola can lead to headaches, especially when abruptly stopping caffeine intake after regular use.
  5. Chocolate: Chocolate contains phenylethylamine and caffeine, both of which can be headache triggers for some people.
  6. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): Found in certain processed foods, Chinese cuisine, and some restaurant dishes, MSG can be a headache trigger for some individuals.
  7. Aspartame: An artificial sweetener used in various sugar-free products and diet sodas, aspartame has been associated with headaches in some people.
  8. Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and other nuts contain tyramine, which could potentially trigger headaches in susceptible individuals.
  9. Onions: Onions contain sulfites, which might be headache triggers for some people.
  10. Pickled and Fermented Foods: Sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and other fermented foods can be high in tyramine and may cause headaches in certain individuals.
  11. Salty Foods: Excessively salty foods can lead to dehydration, which is a common headache trigger.
  12. Artificial Food Additives: Some artificial food colourings, preservatives, and flavour enhancers may cause headaches in sensitive individuals.
  13. Cured Meats: Salami, pepperoni, and other cured meats often contain nitrates, which can contribute to headaches for some people.
  14. Soy Products: Soy sauce and other soy-based foods might contain tyramine, which could trigger headaches in certain individuals.
  15. Certain Fruits: Bananas, avocados, and citrus fruits (e.g., oranges, lemons) contain tyramine and might be headache triggers for some.
  16. Gluten and Wheat: In some cases, individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease may experience headaches after consuming gluten-containing foods.
  17. Dairy Products: Some people who are sensitive to lactose or dairy proteins may experience headaches after consuming milk, cheese, or yogurt.

It’s essential to keep a food diary and track your reactions to different foods if you suspect any of them might be triggering headaches. Do a process of elimination until you identify which are causing the headaches. If you still experience frequent or severe headaches, and you are unable to identify potential triggers or address any underlying issues properly, then you might want to consider seeing a natural health practitioner.

References

The Migraine Trust: The Migraine Trust is a UK-based charity that provides information and support for people affected by migraines. They offer resources on triggers, including foods, that can contribute to headaches and migraines.
Website: https://www.migrainetrust.org/

American Migraine Foundation: The American Migraine Foundation is a patient-centered organisation in the United States that provides evidence-based information and resources on migraines and headaches.
Website: https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/

National Headache Foundation: The National Headache Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting headache awareness, research, and education. They offer information on headache triggers, including foods.
Website: https://headaches.org/

Mayo Clinic: The Mayo Clinic is a medical centre that provides authoritative information on various health topics, including headaches and dietary triggers.
Website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/

Cleveland Clinic: The Cleveland Clinic is a medical centre that offers information on headaches and potential triggers, including foods.
Website: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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