What You Eat May Trigger Migraines

People predisposed to migraines typically have a wide range of triggers, including foods. Everyone is different, but if you suffer from migraines, here are some foods and food ingredients you may want to avoid. 

dark chocolate


Much to the chagrin of migraine sufferers everywhere, chocolate is a food they probably shouldn’t eat. It is speculated that chocolate is a trigger because it contains a specific amino acid called tyramine. Most pre-migraine food cravings are for sweets. So if you need to fill a sugar craving, try to not eat chocolate.


There are a number of factors at play with alcohol. Decreased levels of serotonin are known to trigger migraines. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption does just that. Red wine also contains tyramine, though smaller concentrations than in chocolate. In addition it has  phenols, which can also act as a trigger for some people.

parmesean cheeseAged & Fermented Cheeses

Any moldy cheese, brie, hard cheeses, blue, and cheddar have phenylethylamine and tyramine, which can trigger migraines. If you do eat cheese, keep in mind that tyramine levels increase as cheeses age.


Food Additives

A few common additives used in processed foods should be avoided. Some, like nitrates, are highly soluble compounds readily absorbed into the body. They dilate your blood vessels, acting as catalysts for migraines.

Other Foods with Tyramine

Not only does tyramine incite headaches, but it also makes monoamine oxidase supplements (MAO), which are used to decrease or eliminate migraine symptoms, ineffective. In addition to chocolate, alcohol, and aged & fermented cheese, there are a number of foods containing tyramine that may need to be avoided if you suffer from migraines. These include: 

  • Certain processed meats
  • Brown or spotted bananas
  • Nuts
  • Pork
  • Soy
  • Avocados
  • Pickles
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Some beans

Consider keeping a diary that tracks your migraines and what you’re eating & drinking.  You may be able to identify specific foods and beverages that trigger your migraines through an elimination diet.

Remember, the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card may help you save on your migraine prescriptions and other medications. Simply click on the “Get Your Free Card” link. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out this short FAQ video:

WH_GPS_logo_web_LORESYou can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply provide the drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

Related articles: 
Coping with Migraines
Why Make Migraine Sufferers Suffer Even More?
Migraine Treatment Option: BOTOX®

Edited: 6/3/2019 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

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