Foods That Trigger Migraine Headaches

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By Katherine Smith

stressThe pain caused by a migraine blows away any normal headache and can sideline you from most everyday activities for up to three days at a time. Migraines create what feels like a pulsating and painful action on just one side of the head.

Migraines are typically brought on by a few different triggers. These can be a lack or surplus of sleep, stress from everyday life or even the diet that you eat. Many people don’t consider the foods they consume to play a part in their migraine problems, but it certainly does have a role.

Keep a journal of the times that you are getting migraines and the times that you eat (and also what you are eating). This can help you get an idea of what may be causing these headaches to begin with.

This is a list of many foods and beverages that are considered to be causing migraines for some.


Although it’s believed by many that Caffeine has a positive role in headaches (and sometimes it does), it can also trigger migraines. The way that Caffeine helps is by improving the body’s ability to absorb many of the meds that are taken for headache relief.

An overdose of Caffeine can start up a migraine, though.

If you are able to keep your Caffeine intake to under 200 milligrams daily (which is typically one cup of coffee or four sodas) then you can prevent Caffeine triggered migraines. If you are already consuming more Caffeine than that, then gradually get down to that level. If you do it all at once, this can cause headaches and you will be back at square one.


chocolateChocolate is one of those foods that you can develop a strong craving for. Once in awhile, these cravings will become intense when you are undergoing hormonal change or experiencing stress (two of the leading causes of migraines).

The chocolate itself may not be what is causing the headache, but having the cravings can be a warning that a headache may be approaching. Still, it is important not to consume too much as this can worsen the migraine symptoms.


It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but alcohol is certainly one of the things that triggers a migraine. Usually, any type of alcohol can bring on quite the painful migraine as it creates head pain both during and after use. However, it’s believe that red wine is the worst culprit for triggering migraine headaches.

Alcohol should be avoided altogether by anyone that suffers from frequent migraines as just a couple of drinks can really set the pain in motion.


These two groups are food compounds that are natural and can be found in many different types of foods. The foods that have elevated amounts of tannins and tyramine can start up a migraine headache, so it’s best to minimize the intakes of these foods.

For Tannins, look out for these foods:

-Apple Juice
-Cocoa or Chocolate
-Coffee and/or Tea

bananaFor Tyramine, look out for these foods:

-Pork and other meats that are processed
-Foods containing soy
-Alcohol (Beer and Wine)
-Bananas that are too ripe

Artificial Sweeteners and other Additives

Any additive that is found in foods can be considered as a migraine trigger. The most common ones are those that you have probably already heard of, Aspartame and MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).

It’s best not to burden yourself with too much thought of what foods to intake, but it’s definitely something you want to take into account. Keep that food journal and a headache journal to find out where the problems may be stemming from. It’s not just foods on its own that causes a migraine, so take that into factor as well. This will go a long way in helping with those painful migraines.