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Why Does Cheese Cause Migraines

A Combination Of Factors

Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

It’s important to note that while there seems to be a link between migraines, barometric pressure and sunlight, scientists still haven’t found an indisputable correlate when it comes to weather, Dr. Klenofsky says.

“If you ask patients, they can have just as many headaches on bad-weather days as they do good-weather days,” Dr. Klenofsky says. And this is reflected in the research: For example, studies find that people report migraines during both low- and high-barometric-pressure days , she says.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a real connection between migraine headaches and weather, Dr. Klenofsky adds. Rather, it may indicate that migraines can be multifactorial. In other words, a variety of weather variables and triggers can produce migraines, and these factors differ from one person to another.

“We, as a scientific community, have yet to identify a concrete mechanism of migraine,” Dr. Klenofsky says. “It may be that a lot of the brain and what it does continues to elude us, but it also very well may be that migraine can occur from a multitude of mechanisms.”


Still not sure about the source of your headaches? Work with your doctor to try to determine the root cause or causes.

Tyramine Containing Foods Are Often Cited As Migraine Triggers

If you’ve done some research on a Migraine diet, you’ve probably run across tyramine. Tyramine is a byproduct found naturally in some foodsparticularly those that are aged and fermented, like cheese.

Foods produce tyramine when the amino acid, tyrosine, is converted to epinephrine, which is an adrenal gland hormone. The resulting byproduct, tyramine can trigger Migraine attacks in those who are sensitive.

Here’s the catch: it doesn’t affect everyone equally. Some people are amine-resistant, meaning they have a difficult time breaking down any amine, tyramine included.

Does Vegetarian Cheese Cause Migraine

Vegetarian and vegan cheese in particular can be a little different from traditional cheeses. We know that cheese is often on the list of foods to avoid for migraine patients. But does vegetarian cheese cause migraine?

Lets be careful about our terms the cause of migraine is a complex mystery. That is, why one person has a migraine attack and another person doesnt. What were actually talking about are things that trigger an attack, such as certain foods, hormonal changes and weather patterns.

Were not sure exactly why certain cheeses trigger attacks, but a likely culprit is tyramine, which is a compound found in many foods. Migraine patients may also be sensitive to other chemicals that are added to highly processed foods.

Vegetarian cheeses may still contain high amounts of tyramine, especially aged cheeses. From what I understand about the process of making vegetarian cheese, the levels will probably be similar to normal cheese. Your best bet is to go with cheeses that are fresher. For more information, check out Can I be Migraine-Free and still eat Cheese?

One downside of vegan cheese is that it tends to be highly processed, which may cause problems for someone with migraine again, depending on the brand.

Some common ingredients in vegan cheese can trigger migraine attacks in some people soy, aged soy, yeast, and nuts, for example .

Recommended Reading: Why Do Migraines Go Away After Vomiting

Avoid Foods That Trigger Migraines Containing Soy Sauce And Msg

Monosodium glutamate , which is found in soy sauce and as a food additive in many other foods, has been found to cause cramps, diarrhea, and a horrible headache in 10 to 15 percent of people who get migraine headaches. “Soy sauce as a migraine trigger is probably due to MSG, but soy sauce is also very salty, which can lead to dehydration, another possible headache trigger,” notes Rosen.

How Can You Tell If A Food Is A Trigger For Your Migraine

What Causes Red Wine Headaches?
  • Eating a certain food should trigger a headache within 12 to at most 24 hours.
  • Limit the food of concern for four weeks and monitor your headache frequency, severity, and response to treatment using a headache diary.
  • If there is no change in your headaches, then that food alone may not be the trigger.
  • Cautiondo NOT restrict all possible trigger foods from your diet for an extended period of time. This is not likely to be helpful, and too much concern about avoiding foods may be another stress, as well as decrease your enjoyment of mealtime.
  • Restrictive diets should not be tried or followed during pregnancy. These diets are not likely to be helpful, and may prevent adequate nutrition for both mother and fetus because of the reduced consumption of calcium-rich and vitamin-rich foods.
  • Restrictive diets should NOT be used in children and adolescents because of doubtful benefit, and significant social disruption. Prohibiting the child from sharing a chocolate Easter basket with his siblings or the teenager from attending a pizza party can significantly add to the social stigma of having headaches.

Keeping a headache diary and following your lifestyle factors along with diet may help you identify patterns to your headache. Onset of menstrual cycles, work stress, sleep routine changes, and fasting may all be confounding what is thought to be a food trigger for headache.

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Also Check: Migraine Side Effect

How To Keep A Food Diary

When keeping a food diary, it is important to write down everything you ate and when along with any symptoms experienced. It is also important to jot down compounding factors like the details of your menstrual flow , major weather events, outside stressors, and sleep patterns.

Mobile apps take the guesswork out since they often factor in weather in your area and perceived sleep patterns, saving you the effort of adding that data yourself. Because triggers are additive, you might be able to enjoy a triggering food one day, and find it problematic if consumed on a high-stress day when a storm is brewing outside.

Once you have a clearer picture of your own Migraine food triggers, you can choose to avoid them. Theres no need to avoid the whole laundry list of potential foods.

Migraine Again founder Paula K. Dumas gave up aged cheese for nearly 15 years before discovering it wasn’t necessary at all. For her, it wasn’t one of her personal migraine food triggers.

Triggers Of Migraine Headaches

  • Sleep changes. Getting too much sleep or too little sleep can lead to migraines in some people. 30%-50% of individuals who suffer from migraines also experience disturbed sleep.
  • Beverages. Certain beverages including alcohol and drinks with caffeine are common triggers of migraines. Alcoholic drinks, particularly wine, contain byproducts known as congeners. They are linked to headaches. Alcohol also signals the immune system to produce more histamine which increases inflammation throughout the body and can lead to headaches. Caffeine-filled drinks such as coffee are linked to migraines. The chances of experiencing a migraine increase when an individual consumer three or more caffeinated beverages per day.
  • Stress. Everyone experiences stress at home and at work. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage or control, but too much stress can wreak havoc on the body and lead to migraines.
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    The Fallacy Of Sulfites

    Youll often see the wording contains sulfites on wine bottles, which means the product contains a sulfur-based preservative to prevent oxidization and retain freshness. Sulfites are naturally-occurring chemical compounds that prevent microbial growth and reproduction, and winemakers often add extra sulfites to the wine to extend its shelf life. Sulfites are also found in foods, and are believed to trigger asthma attacks more than migraines.

    Red wine usually contains fewer sulfites than white or sweet wines do. If experience shows that sulfites could help to provoke an episode, stick to organic wines that usually have lower levels of sulfites. You can expect these to both taste differently and differ in cost as well.

    Overripe Dried Or Citrus Fruits

    Does Dairy Cause Headaches?

    Certain fruits can lead to migraines, particularly those that are exceptionally sweet. Dried fruits, citrus juices and overly ripe fruits are amongst these. Examples include figs, raisins, papaya and overripe bananas. Canned fruit stored in sweetened syrup or with added preservatives can also serve as culprits. In general, fresh fruit is best.

    • Certain fruits can lead to migraines, particularly those that are exceptionally sweet.
    • Canned fruit stored in sweetened syrup or with added preservatives can also serve as culprits.

    Read Also: Do Daith Piercings Help With Migraines

    Tips To Help Identify Migraine Triggers

    One of the most effective ways to help identify migraine triggers is through what is referred to as the elimination diet. It is designed to help you track unusual pain triggers.

    You can start by developing a diet that includes pain-safe foods and avoids all the foods that could potentially cause migraine headaches. You can add new foods one at a time to see if migraine symptoms occur.

    Here are a few tips to help you pinpoint triggers:

    • Foods that cause headaches were eaten within three to six hours of the attacks.
    • The headache did not show up until a large amount of the food was consumed.
    • Tolerance can change depending on time. For example, a woman might be able to eat half a box of chocolates with no problem, but a single chocolate triggers a migraine as she approaches her period.
    • Triggers can change over time.

    Tracking what you eat, when you eat it, how much you eat, and how you feel after you have a meal or snack can seem tedious, but its a system that has worked for literally millions of migraine sufferers.

    Tyramine In Your Diet

    Although the role that foods play in triggering migraines remains controversial, some sufferers find that eliminating selected foods from their diet reduces the number of migraines that they experience.

    Learn more by checking out this low-tyramine diet suggested by the National Headache Foundation. You can also make some simple food in your everyday eating habits that may help reduce migraines for some. For example, swap aged cheese for fresh varieties, choose raw vegetables over pickles, and use fresh herbs instead of soy-based condiments for seasoning.


  • Martin VT, Behbehani MM. Toward a rational understanding of migraine trigger factors. Med Clin North Am. 2001 85:911-941.
  • Sun-Edelstein C, Mauskop A. Foods and supplements in the management of migraine headaches. Clin J Pain. 2009 25:446-452.
  • DAndrea G, DArrigo A, Carbonare MD, Leon A. Pathogenesis of Migraine: Role of Neuromodulators. Medscape Oncology.
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    Foods That Trigger Headaches

    Headaches and migraines are often triggered by certain foods. But not all headache triggers deserve their bad rap.

    Theres nothing like a pounding headache to make you seek refuge in a dark, quiet room and hide from the world. If you suffer with chronic headache pain, you have great company. More than 45 million Americans have chronic headache pain from migraine, tension, or cluster headaches.

    Women suffer headaches more frequently than men, perhaps because of variations in the brain chemical called serotonin, which plays a role in pain and depression. When levels of the hormone estrogen plummet, levels of serotonin change as well.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headaches include:

    • Cluster headache
    • Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia , cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicranias

    Whether you suffer with migraines, tension or sinus headaches, or headaches from arthritis or jaw pain, all headaches have one central thread that weaves them together: inner or outer triggers cause the body to react with pain thats felt in the head. These triggers may stem from foods, tobacco, chemicals, stress, environment, or your hormones, among other things, and may vary from one person to the next.

    What Is Tyramine And Is It Causing Your Migraines

    Headache causes

      Migraines sufferers, more than most people, know that the brain is a complicated organ, that can be affected by chemicals, electrical impulses, environmental factors and lifestyle. It is the complexity of the brain that makes pinpointing and treating the exact causes of your migraines so difficult, and often makes finding the best treatment a matter of trial and error.

      Most migraine sufferers, however, share common traits and triggers, and a sensitivity to tyramine is one of the more common triggers. Here is what you need to know about it.

      Read Also: What Pressure Points Get Rid Of Migraines

      How Can I Determine The Source Of My Migraines

      The only way to truly determine what is causing your migraine is to speak with your doctor, who may suggest keeping a migraine diary. This will help you look for any patterns and discover what triggers an attack.

      The internal medicine physicians at Raleigh Medical Group take a comprehensive view of your overall health, enabling us to create a tailored plan for you. Well work closely with you to pinpoint the cause of your migraines and craft an effective solution.

      Top Triggers Of Migraine Headaches

      Migraines can come on at any time causing a significant amount of discomfort. From severe throbbing and pain to nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound, migraine attacks can last for hours, even days.10%-15% of the U.S. population, mostly women, suffer from repeated migraines. Medications are available, but preventing the onset of a migraine can be difficult. While there are a number of different things that can cause migraine headaches, below are seven of the more common triggers people may experience.

      Recommended Reading: Why Does Caffeine Help Migraines

      Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

      Developing healthy lifestyle habits can be helpful for mitigating barometric pressure headaches . For example, proper nutrition and regular exercise help build a strong immune system, which can stave off sickness when the weather shifts, Dr. Klenofsky says.

      Similarly, keeping a consistent sleep schedule can reduce your migraine risk, as sleep deprivation has been linked to a higher incidence of headaches, per the Cleveland Clinic.


      Trying relaxation techniques before bed and sleeping in a dark, cool and quiet room may also help you get some solid shut-eye.

      Types Of Foods Which Can Trigger Vertigo

      Migraine Headache : Causes & Triggers | Why do we get Migraine? – Dr.Anil R

      According to estimates, between the years 2001 and 2004 approximately 69 million people in the USA greater than age 49 years suffered from vestibular dysfunction. Vestibular system is present in your brain and it helps you to maintain balance, move freely and stand in upright position. These functions are disrupted during vertigo and you feel spinning of your surroundings. Causes of vertigo are injuries, migraines, seizures and problems with inner ear. Apart from medical treatment, avoiding certain foods can also improve symptoms of vertigo.

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      Heres How Cheese Causes Headaches With Tyramine

      I love cheese and eat all kinds of it, but thats because I am among the lucky ones who has no genetic problems processing it. Today Im going to talk a lot about cheese, just as one example to make the case against tyramine which causes headaches.

      Cheese, all of them Sauerkraut

      Elevated blood pressureSevere hypertensive crisis May include symptoms above as well as signs of impending stroke

      4. A person who is deficient in Vitamin B6 either due to poor nutrition, or from taking a drug mugger of B6Vitamin B6 is needed to finish the methylation pathway and form 5-MTHF , and without B6, this process cannot be accomplished. MAO inhibitor drugs will impact B6, and therefore suppress folate production in the body. If you have SNPs in this pathway . I do realize this information is complex, and there is an interconnectedness with genes, vitamins and disease states, so please talk to a qualified, holistic physician who understands all this. I am not a doctor, so I am unable to weigh in beyond the educational information presented here.

      If you need more help, there is a lot of information at the National Headache Foundation:

      Ive also written a book on the topic available HERE.If youd like to lower your tyramine levels, there is a DIET listed HERE.

      Diet Tips For People With Vertigo

      After discussing foods that can cause vertigo lets discuss diet tips for people with vertigo. An individual suffering from vertigo requires a diet, which is rich in iron and low in cholesterol and sodium. Few tips to help individuals suffering from vertigo are as follows:

      • Eat more fish as part of your diet.
      • Consume magnesium rich foods such as nuts, beans, leafy green vegetables and seeds.
      • Eat whole grain products instead of white bread.
      • Drink vegetable juice rather than consuming carbonated or sugary drinks.
      • Consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as niacin, potassium and B complex.
      • Avoid foods containing high amounts of trans fats.
      • Vertigo can also result due to anemia. Hence, include fresh vegetables and meat that have high iron content in your diet.
      • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
      • Avoid caffeinated beverages as it causes dehydration and triggers migraine and vertigo.
      • Avoid consuming foods containing tyramine such as non-processed cheeses, cured meat and dry sausages.
      • In case you develop nausea, consume alkaline foods including nuts, vegetables and fruits. They will help in maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in your body.

      Also Check: How To Get A Migraine

      How To Deal With Headache Food Triggers

      The National Headache Foundation recommends keeping a food log of the foods you have eaten before a headache. Note the time you ate and when the symptoms occurred. Identify the trigger foods and see if eliminating them from your diet reduces or eliminates your headaches. Dont miss these easy ways to reduce your risk of headaches.

      Blame The Cold For Headaches After Eating Ice Cream

      Why Does Ice Cream Cause Headaches?

      The stabbing headache after eating ice cream is a reaction to the cold, not the ice cream itself. An ice cream headache is more likely if you are overheated. The pain peaks in about 30 to 60 seconds. “Cold foods, like ice cream, may be migraine triggers for people who suffer from migraines, but for most people, the pain goes away quickly. The solution is to eat your ice cream or drink your cold drink more slowly,” advises Daroff.

      Read Also: A Lot Of Headaches During Pregnancy


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