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Having Frequent Headaches? These Foods Might Be Causing It

There's nothing like a throbbing headache that makes you want to sit in a dark, quiet room and sleep to get rid of the headache. These headaches can be very painful at times that it makes it difficult for you to carry on with your daily activities.

The most common headaches people suffer from are tension headache, cluster headache, sinus headache and migraine. Whatever headache you suffer from, the root cause for these headaches come from certain foods, tobacco, stress, hormones, and chemicals, among other things.

Often a headache can occur after eating a meal, which means certain foods are triggering your headache and they should be avoided. Let's read on to know the foods that cause headache.


1. Coffee

Coffee is a widely popular drink enjoyed by many people around the world. Excess coffee consumption may increase the likelihood of migraine headaches in some people. However, consuming less coffee can decrease the chances of getting a migraine headache [1].


2. Chocolate

Chocolate, especially the ones with a low cocoa content can trigger migraine headache in some people due to the presence of chemicals tyramine and caffeine.


3. Alcohol

Alcohol is a common headache triggering beverage that affects many people. Drinking excess alcohol causes dehydration and increases blood flow to the brain, both of which can trigger your headache [2].


4. Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose are substitutes of sugar that are added to some foods and beverages to make them taste sweet like sugar. These artificial sweeteners can trigger headaches in some people. A study showed that aspartame may trigger headache in some people [3]


5. Aged cheese

Aged cheese contains tyramine, a chemical that forms as a result of the breakdown of proteins in cheese. Aged cheese such as feta cheese, parmesan cheese and blue cheese has more tyramine which can cause headache.


6. Foods containing MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a food additive found in certain foods such as soy sauce, tomato sauce, processed meat, miso and tempeh. According to the American Migraine Foundation, MSG causes severe migraine in 10 to 15% of people suffering from migraine.


7. Ice cream

Ice cream is another food that triggers headache. It is due to extreme cold that stimulates certain nerves that control how blood flows to the head, and the nerves respond by causing the blood vessels to swell up in the head.


8. Processed meats

Processed meats such as hot dog, bacon, ham and sausages contain nitrites that can trigger migraine headache in some people. So, avoid consuming processed meat if you experience headache often.


9. Frozen and salty foods

Frozen and salty foods can also cause severe, stabbing pain in the head due to the presence of preservatives in it. Frozen foods such as frozen yogurt or frozen vegetables and salty foods such as pasta sauce, mixed nuts and instant noodles should be avoided.


10. Peanuts

Peanuts can also cause headache in some people due to the presence of a chemical called tyramine. Nut butter made from peanuts also tends to cause migraine headache in some people.

Other foods that can also cause headache are pickles, sour cream, bread and crackers, pizza, potato chips, dried fruits and canned soup.

Common FAQs

Why do I wake up with a headache every morning?

Experiencing headache in the morning can be due to a poor night's sleep or stress that you may experience daily.

Can bread cause headaches?

Bread, especially sourdough bread can trigger a headache in some people.

Can honey cause headaches?

If you are allergic to honey it may cause symptoms which include headache, wheezing, vomiting and diarrhoea.

What foods relieve headaches?

Foods such as dried apricots, bananas, avocados, almonds, cashews, legumes and seeds can bring relief from headache.

What gets rid of a headache fast?

Use a hot water compress, try a head massage, dim the lights, get some sleep, try not to chew and take a hot water bath.

Read more about: foods headache wellness
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