Having a headache? These 7 foods might be the reason

Having headaches? Your food could be the reason. Yes, there are many foods that can trigger a headache and sometimes migraine. Know how!

Tilottama Chatterjee
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Tilottama ChatterjeePublished at: Nov 28, 2017
Having a headache? These 7 foods might be the reason

Headaches result in lack of focus and reduced efficiency and may ruin your day at your workplace. You turn irritable, fight with colleagues and superiors with disastrous results. Experts in the field researching the causes have concluded that 30 per cent of headaches can be traced to the foods that the sufferers eat. The following are a list of foods that may trigger a headache.

Aged cheese

Cheese is a milk product which has high protein content. When cheese age, this protein breaks down into tyramine, a naturally occurring mono amine compound that triggers headaches. Cheddar, provolone, parmesan, mozzarella, blue cheese and many of the Swiss cheeses all fall into this category and one should be careful about the type of cheese being consumed and the quantity, to avoid headaches.


Everyone knows about hangovers. Alcohol is a blood thinner and increases the blood flow to the brain, which causes heaviness and pain in the head. Alcohol is a diuretic and leaves the consumer in a dehydrated state that acts as a trigger for a severe headache. Whiskey, red wine, champagne and beer are to be consumed with caution, if one must have them.

Artificial food colours

Allergic reactions to food colours, that include headaches and the more severe migraine, are triggers for headaches. Chief among these are FD&C yellow no.5, sunset yellow (E110), tartrazine (E102) quinolone yellow (E104).


Headaches from consuming chocolates are on account of allergic reactions to cocoa, which specifically causes sinus headaches; another component of chocolates, phenylethylamine, can cause dilation of blood vessels leading to sudden inflow and outflow of blood to the brain, triggering headaches. Chocolates also contain caffeine. When buying chocolates, one should opt for chocolates that have at least 70 per cent of cocoa as the other additives like milk, sugar and fats could be reasons for headaches.


Works both ways, as a cause and cure for headaches. Caffeine, the key component in coffee acts as a diuretic and excretes essential nutrients from the body, like magnesium, which is a nerve relaxant and definitely prevents headaches, but its excretance with caffeine can trigger a severe headache. Coffee is a very addictive beverage and one should have it in moderation.

Mono sodium glutamate

Is most often found in junk foods and used as a food preservative. MSG is a vaso dilator and can cause rushes of blood to the brain, resulting in severe headaches.


Present in cigarettes, affect the vascular activity in the brain and the nerves at the back of the throat, could cause a sharp pain in the head. In a study of cigarette consumers, those who cut down on cigarettes by half, found their headaches decreased by 50 per cent

WHO has estimated that migraine attacks 20million persons every day, with women being the main victims. So, when one gets a headache within 20 to 25 minutes after consuming a food, it is advisable to eliminate that ingredient from one’s diet.

Image source: Getty