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Common Foods that Trigger Migraines

By Sara Butler

Food has a bigger impact on your body than just how satisfied you feel after a meal. How long you go between meals, what you eat, and the balance of your meals can all have an impact on you if you suffer from migraines. In fact, anything that disrupts your body’s natural rhythms can be considered a migraine trigger, such as low blood sugar and even food that is too cold. If you suspect your diet may be a trigger for your migraines, you should keep a headache journal to try to determine why and be on the lookout for these foods.


Red wine is a well-known migraine trigger because of the tannins in it, but the truth is that any kind of alcohol can be a trigger for a migraine. The reasons why may differ from person to person, but you may notice that certain alcohols impact your headache status more than others. Keep a running list of drinks that cause you problems.

Tyramine is a naturally occurring compound found in animals and plants, but when the foods it’s in are over-ripened or fermented, then the levels shoot up and can become a migraine trigger. You can find this in certain alcohols, such as red wine, but also in beer, overripe bananas, pork, soy products, chocolate, pork, cheese, and even meat that has been smoked, fermented, aged, or pickled.

Food Additives

The additives found in some foods have also been known to trigger migraines in some people. Be on the lookout for:

  • Aspartame – This artificial sweetener is also known as Equal or Nutra-sweet.
  • MSG – Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer added to salad dressings, canned soups, Chinese food, processed meats, and even some canned vegetables.
  • Nitrites and nitrates – These food additives are found in bacon, processed poultry, cured meats, hot dogs, and ham.


You may notice that some migraine medications contain caffeine, which is thought to help the body absorb the pain medications used to treat migraines. But for some people, too much caffeine can be a migraine trigger. If you suspect it might be one of your triggers, then you’ll need to work to understand what your individualized caffeine limit is and stick to it. If you can keep your intake under 200 milligrams per day, you’ll likely suffer no ill effects.

Discuss your migraines with the chiropractors at The Joint!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Shreveport, La.

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