The 8 Most Common Migraine Triggers Foods

From coffee to oranges – helpful tips for avoiding those foods that may just trigger a migraine.

Those who suffer from migraine attacks know all too well. The throbbing headaches that occur after eaten something you know you shouldn’t have. What often follows is a pain to the side of the head, sickness, sensitivity to light, visual disturbances or aura. Attacks that can last from 4 hours (if your lucky) up to 72 hours (if your not) or even longer. The good news is that migraine attacks can be largely reduced or prevented if you avoid the most common migraine triggers..

From coffee and alcohol to processed foods and citrus fruits, studies show that certain foods are known to be migraine triggers.

Here’s what you need to know about the top 8 most common migraine trigger foods.

Migraine and Citrus Fruits

(Oranges, tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, lime).

Fruits are always associated with healthy living, but to the migraine sufferer they can be possible migraine trigger, this is due to their high levels of tyramine.

Migraine and Caffeine

(Coffee, tea, cola)

Caffeine as a migraine trigger can be somewhat confusing, because for some people it can help to alleviate a migraine, but for others it will have the opposite effect, thus triggering a migraine.

Migraine and Alcohol

Red wine, beer, whiskey, champagne are the most common identified alcoholic migraine triggers, this is largely due to the large concentrations of tyramine during the fermentation process.

Migraine and Cheese

Aged cheeses can trigger migraines, this is due to the high amounts of the natural substance known as tyramine. Aged cheeses such as blue, stilton, cheddar, mozzarella, camembert and parmesan are usually the culprits.

Migraine and Processed Meats

Packaged meats including ham, bacon, sausages, pepperoni, salami and other processed meats contain high levels of tyramine. These processed meats may also include additives/preservatives such as nitrates and nitrites

Migraine and MSG (monosodium glutamate)

MSG is a common additive which is found in many of today’s foods, although not a cause of migraines, it can be a migraine trigger. Found in many pre-packed foods and perhaps more commonly Chinese food.

Migraine and Chocolate

Chocolate has for many years been the alleged trigger of migraines, although for many sufferers this is probably true, but for others it’s perfectly ok. One thing to note, chocolate does contain caffeine and this is probably why it doesn’t affect everybody the same way.

Migraine and Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener which is found in a number of food products including soft drinks. It is also believed to have an effect on serotonin levels in the body, although this is not thought to be a direct cause of a migraine, but certainly doesn’t help.


What is tyramine?

Tyramine is a natural substance found in a numerous foods such as aged and fermented foods, including cheese, meats, bread, citrus fruit and some alcoholic drinks. It can even be found in leftover food that have been in the fridge for more than 24 hours.