9 Foods and Drinks that Can Cause Migraines

· June 25, 2017
Did you know that excessive consumption of caffeine can trigger headaches and migraines? However, if you're used to it, you also shouldn't cut it out suddenly, because that can cause problems, too.

Migraines are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits around the world. In fact, it’s one of the biggest causes of disability, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

It consists of strong, pulsating pain in one or both sides of the head, almost always accompanied by dizziness, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light.

The intense pain may last for just minutes, although in most cases it last for several hours or even days.

The appearance of migraines is associated with genetic factors, as well as constant stress, hormonal changes, and certain stimulants.

However, along with these reasons, it has been determined that up to 30% have to do with certain unhealthy eating habits.

Certain foods are particularly problematic due to their composition and effects on your body.

Find out what they are!

1. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is associated with headaches and migraines.

It contains a vasoactive amino acid called tyramine that triggers such reactions.

It also contains substances that trigger allergic reactions in some people, which can affect inflammation and your circulation.

“Read this, too: Juices that Cleanse Your Kidneys and Improve Circulation”

2. Beer

While many medicinal properties have been attributed to it over the years, beer can cause intense headaches due to its tyramine and alcohol content.

Both substances are stimulants and can cause inflammation in various tissues of your body.

Together with the fact that excessive consumption affects your metabolism, this explains why beer tends to worsen migraine symptoms.

3. Red wine

A glass of wine a day gives your body a wide range of antioxidants and even helps improve your circulation.

However, it is not advisable for people susceptible to migraines and headaches because it contains tyramine, phenols, and other compounds that lead to these problems.

4. Cheese

It tastes great and has a unique texture that we love. However,  people who get migraines should unfortunately reduce their cheese consumption as much as possible, since it contains compounds that often make symptoms worse.

The protein and fat in it increase inflammation and make it harder to control headaches and vision problems.

5. Highly processed meats

For anyone who gets migraines, any kind of processed or cured meats, like lunch meat, is not a friend.

These foods contain additives like nitrites and nitrates which, besides increasing your cancer risk, also increase inflammation and blood flow to your brain, leading to intense headaches.

6. Fried foods and high-fat foods

Fried foods and foods high in saturated fat trigger inflammation in certain tissues and oftentimes are responsible for migraine symptoms.

Both increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, thus increasing your risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications.

In addition, it hinders your metabolism and makes it harder for your body to properly oxygenate cells.

7. Too much coffee

Excessive caffeine consumption, whether from coffee or other beverages, can cause headaches and migraines.

But not drinking it, especially when your body is used to it in small amounts, can also have a negative effect on your body.

So it’s best to avoid having too much or cutting it out completely.

8. Chocolate

A small amount of chocolate a day gives your body antioxidants and has benefits for your circulation as well as your cognitive health.

However, that said, people who consume it in large quantities run a higher risk of getting migraines, since chocolate affects vasodilation due to its tyramine content.

“Did you know? What Eating Dark Chocolate Does for Your Body”

9. Refined grains


Refined flour and other sources of gluten are linked to a worsening of migraine symptoms.

This hard-to-digest protein causes imbalances in inflammatory, gastrointestinal, and metabolic processes in those who have an intolerance.

People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease see significant improvement in headaches when they avoid gluten.

While the above-mentioned foods aren’t the only causes of migraines, it is smart to limit their consumption to avoid worsening your symptoms.

A healthy diet and rest can be very useful in fighting this problem.