5 Foods That Could Be Causing Your Headaches
1. Cheese. The older a cheese is, the more tyramine it contains. This chemical has been linked to blood vessels contracting and expanding, which could cause pain. In fact, many aged foods, including dried fruits and meats that have been cured, contain tyramine and may be causing those throbbing headaches.
2. Chinese food. At first glance, monosodium glutamate looks like a great idea. Its purpose is to enhance flavors and it can be found in quite a few prepared foods. Chinese food is notorious for containing it. Unfortunately, some people are sensitive to the chemical and it can cause blood vessels to change size. This may cause headaches. Check with restaurants before eating to see if they use MSG. More and more are eliminating this from the kitchen as it has other issues, too.
3. Wine. While we all know that an excess of alcohol can cause a hangover headache, even one glass of wine or any alcohol, for that matter, can cause pain in some. That’s because alcohol contains tyramine. This is the same substance found in aged foods and it can mean that even a simple beer makes your head throb. Many alcohols pack a double wallop, since they also contain assorted preservatives.
4. Hot dogs and lunch meat. Heavily processed meats are full of nitrates and nitrites. These preservatives might keep that bologna fresh longer, but they can also trigger headaches. The preservatives cause blood vessels to fluctuate in size, which we have already seen can cause severe pain.
5. Sugar-free foods and drinks. If you chew sugar-free gum or drink diet soda, the aspartame used to sweeten it could be causing problems. No one knows exactly why aspartame has this effect on some people, but cutting it out of your diet could be the way to pain free days.
Not all of these foods will affect everyone. In fact, many people can eat them without any problems at all. However, if you are sensitive to anything on this list, you may need to eliminate it from your diet.
The best way to figure out just what triggers your migraines is to keep a food journal. Note everything you eat and watch for commonalities. If you get a headache every time you eat a ham sandwich, chances are high that something it is the trigger. Once you have identified the problem, you can work on keeping it out of your diet and hopefully remain headache free.