woman eating and taking notes
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Food Diary

The best way to figure out what foods cause your migraines is to keep careful track of what you eat. Just because you eat a food right before a migraine doesn’t necessarily mean it was the cause. It’s important to see patterns.

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chocolate bars
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Chocolate

It’s often thought of as a trigger, but studies show chocolate probably doesn’t cause migraines and may help prevent them. It might be that people crave chocolate just before getting a migraine, and that’s what gives it a bad rap.

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woman drinking coffee in cafe
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Coffee

Java can be both good and bad. An occasional cup -- once or twice a week -- may help prevent migraines. But if you have a daily caffeine habit, it may not be as helpful. In fact, skipping your morning coffee could become a trigger.

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chinese chicken dish and rice
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MSG: Monosodium Glutamate

This staple of so much Asian cooking bestows a certain savory flavor foodies call “umami.” Some people blame it for their migraines, but studies generally say it isn't a culprit.

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pouring beer from tap in bar
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Beer

Beer on tap has about 25 times the migraine-inducing tyramine as beer in bottles. So if you really want a cold one, ask for a bottle. Or change it up and order a bourbon. It doesn’t have any of the stuff.

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glasses of red wine
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Red Wine

This is widely thought to be a trigger, but an Italian study involving more than 300 people found no connection between migraines and red wine. So it may not be the vino. Unless you drink the whole bottle -- then a headache might be the least of your problems.

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variety of cheeses
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Cheese

Do you like that eye-tearing sharp cheddar or stinky aged brie? Both are likely to have high levels of tyramine, a substance linked to migraines. Milder cheeses, like mozzarella and ricotta, are fine, though.

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salami sandwich
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Salami

Cured meats are also high in migraine-linked tyramine, so if you crave a hunk of red meat, go for a burger or steak instead. Not everyone is sensitive to tyramine, so if you know it doesn’t affect you, go ahead and order that salami sandwich!

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 06/18/2016 Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on June 18, 2016

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Jupiterimages / Thinkstock

2) Webkatrin001 / Thinkstock

3) Tassii / Getty Images

4) klublu / Thinkstock

5) Bogdanhoda / Thinkstock

6) webphotographeer / Getty Images

7) iStockphoto / Getty Images

8) DronG / Thinkstock

SOURCES:

American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education: “Caffeine and Migraine,” “Controversies in Headache Medicine: Migraine Prevention Diets.”

PubMed: “A double-blind provocative study of chocolate as a trigger of headache," “Foods and supplements in the management of migraine headaches.”

Vanderbilt University: “Avoiding High-Tyramine Foods Made Easy.”

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on June 18, 2016

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.