For some people, certain foods may trigger a headache. These dietary triggers may be different for everyone, although many people might not have any triggers at all. Figuring out which foods might be contributing to your headaches may be a key step to managing them (and keeping a headache diary may help you identify those triggers). Here’s a look at two of the most common types of possible dietary headache triggers: alcohol and dairy.
Alcohol – Alcohol can affect people differently, and that’s particularly true of headache sufferers, as certain types of headaches are more likely to be triggered by alcohol than others. For instance, alcohol is more likely to trigger a migraine than a tension headache. Alcohol is also a possible trigger for cluster headaches, but usually only during an ongoing episode.
Furthermore, when it comes to headaches, not every kind of alcohol is created equal. Red wine in particular may be more prone to triggering headaches in some people, thanks in part to the fact that it contains histamines.
Dairy Products – Red wine isn’t the only food that contains potentially headache-inducing histamines, though. The same agents can also be found in some kinds of cheese. Even if you aren’t histamine intolerant, both wine and aged cheese can still potentially trigger headaches in some people, particularly migraines, due to the fact that they both contain a compound called tyramine.
Though other dairy products may trigger headaches in some people, the aging process in ripened cheese may be a more likely culprit. As a result, unripened cheeses, such as American, might be safer bets for headache sufferers. Considering few simple food swaps may help you avoid headaches.