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Prevent headaches by making four simple food swaps


Address your headaches without overhauling your diet.

What you eat and drink throughout the day may contribute to your head pain. In fact, a National Headache Foundation survey found that 30 percent of migraine sufferers report that their diet may be related to their migraine attacks. Below, read about four foods and beverages that may cause headaches for some and simple swaps that might help reduce the risk of pain. Unsure if food may be a headache for you? Try keeping a headache diary to help identify the causes of your headaches.

  1. Swap aged cheese for fresh cheese. Aged cheeses can contain tyramine, an amino acid commonly found in foods and a possible trigger for some headache sufferers. While tyramine occurs naturally in certain foods, higher amounts are often found when they are aged, fermented, stored for long periods of time or aren’t fresh. Consider reaching for fresh feta, American and ricotta instead of aged varieties.

2. Swap a hot dog for a hamburger. Think about grabbing a burger instead of a dog at your next sports event or barbecue to potentially reduce the risk of head pain. Unless it’s an organic or all-natural variety, the hot dog probably contains food additives such as nitrites to preserve its flavor and appearance. These substances may trigger headaches in some people.

3. Swap soy-based condiments for fresh herbs. If you’ve ever experienced head pain after dining on an Asian dish, the trigger could possibly be fermented soy products–like miso, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce–which contain tyramine. Think about seasoning your homemade dishes with fresh herbs, ginger and sesame oil to possibly reduce the risk of future headaches.

4. Swap pickles for raw veggies. Next time you’re piling salty pickles on your burger or sandwich, consider trading them for raw crunchy cucumber slices or jicama instead. Any kind of pickled foods (including pickled veggies, meats, olives and sauerkraut) may cause headaches as they are often high in tyramine.

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