Foods that May Make Migraines Worse

March 1, 2019
Everyone can have different triggers. However, there are certain foods that may make migraines worse. Discover some of them here!

You probably already know the different reasons why you get migraines and headaches. For instance, these include working too much or not resting enough. However, did you know that there are some foods that may make migraines worse? In the following article, we’re going to tell what they are!

What causes migraines?

A woman with a migraine.

Some foods have a substance called histamine that may cause headaches. Instead of taking a painkiller, we recommend avoiding the foods that may make your symptoms worse.

Migraines can appear at any moment of the day and they can last for several hours. Light or noise increase your symptoms. In severe cases, migraines come with vomiting, nausea, or dizziness.

Stress, a lack of sleep, the amount of work you have, and everyday problems can cause strong headaches. They can also be triggered by smells, noises, changes in the weather, or even hormonal changes.

However, many people don’t know that the foods they eat may also cause migraines. In some cases, it could even be due to a food intolerance. Your immune system has to “fight” against these components and it produces substances that cause your headache.

Foods that may make migraines worse

It’s a good idea to pay attention to what you’re eating or what you’ve been eating before you suffered a migraine attack.

Read more here: 5 Simple Tips for Fast Migraine Relief

It could be due to other factors. However, it’s likely that something in your diet is the cause. These are the foods that may make migraines worse.

1. Beans

All kinds of beans have tannins. This is a substance that may cause migraines. To reduce your symptoms, it’s a good idea to cut back on eating beans as much as you can. Or you can stop completely. You may see a difference.

2. Pickles

In reality, pickles aren’t the only problem. This includes other preserved foods like:

  • Peppers.
  • Eggplant.
  • Olives.
  • Carrots.

Try to cut out any food that’s made with processes that include brine or vinegar.

3. Spicy peppers

Spoicy peppers.

If you’re someone who loves Mexican food, you unfortunately need to reduce the spicy dishes you eat. The capsaicin in spicy peppers may cause headaches or make your migraine worse. This is especially true if you eat it during an attack.

4. Nuts

They’re very delicious, full of proteins, and may calm your hunger. However, they’re not good when you suffer from regular migraines.

Almonds, walnuts, and cashews (among other nuts) have a substance called sulfite that may cause pain and discomfort.

5. Avocados and plums

We put both of these fruits in the same category. This is because they have the same possible migraine-triggering compound: tyramine.

If you like to eat avocados as a replacement to condiments or plums as a healthy dessert, you should space them out.

6. Bananas and citrus fruits

The combination of tyramine and histamine in these fruits may cause migraines.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop eating bananas or citrus fruits. After all, they’re very good for your health. The idea is for you to reduce the amount you eat. You can also avoid them when you’re suffering from a migraine.

7. Flour

Flour.

Whole-wheat flour is healthier than refined flour. However, the truth is that both may cause migraines. This is because they have a natural chemical called coumarin. This is strengthened when it comes into contact with leavening.

As a result, we recommend that you reduce the amount of bread, cookies, pizzas, and pasta you eat if you have migraines.

8. Processed meat

Cold cuts, ham, sausages, and bacon have a lot of substances that may make your headaches worse.

These foods don’t just have tyramine. They are also made with conservatives and other chemical substances.

9. Cheese

This is especially true when talking about cured or fermented cheese. These are cheeses that are aged for years using several different techniques. For instance, this includes smoking and salting. Their flavors are more intense and may make your migraine worse.

Discover: 5 Natural Migraine Remedies to Soothe Pain

Try to stop eating Parmesan, Manchego, Padano, or Pecorino cheeses when you have migraines.

10. Dairy products

Cream and whole milk are the fattiest dairy products. Because of this, you should consider avoiding them if your head is hurting a lot.

They also have casein and choline. These are two compounds that are related to discomfort and food intolerance.

Also, butter, yogurt, or skim products may also make your symptoms worse.

11. Alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks.

Not only are they bad for your health if you drink them in excess. They also have tyramines that may cause migraines, dizziness, and disorientation.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t drink red wine. This is because, besides tyramine, it has sulfites and tannins that may make your symptoms worse.

We recommend that you don’t drink alcohol when you have a headache. Instead, it’s better to drink water or juices.

12. Chocolate and coffee

Both give you caffeine, tannins, and other compounds that may cause headaches. Decaf coffee may also trigger migraines. This is especially true if you use creamer.

  • Maintz, L., and Novak, N. (2007). Histamina e intolerancia histamínica. Am J Clin Nutr 85, 1185–961185.
  • del Rocío Meza-Velázquez, M., Carlos López-Márquez, F., Gerardo Rosales-González, M., Gutiérrez-Díaz, N., Rivera-Guillen, M., Espinosa-Padilla, S., Palacio, G., de Medicina, F., Torreón, U., and Nacional de Pediatría, I. (2014). Presentación de enfermedad alérgica y migraña: ¿puede deberse a un défi cit en la degradación de histamina? Alergia, Asma E Inmunología Pediátricas 23, 43–47.
  • Zaninovic’, V. (2001). Migrañas: Fisiopatología y tratamiento. Colombia Medica 32, 86–88.