Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on June 13, 2020
Food Diary

Food Diary

1/8

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.

Chocolate

Chocolate

2/8

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

Coffee

Coffee

3/8

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.

MSG: Monosodium Glutamate

MSG: Monosodium Glutamate

4/8

This staple of so much Asian cooking bestows a certain savory flavor foodies call “umami.” Some people blame it for their migraines. There are some studies that back this up, but others do not.

Beer

Beer

5/8

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. But know that any kind of alcohol can be a trigger for some people.

Red Wine

Red Wine

6/8

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.

Cheese

Cheese

7/8

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.

Salami

Salami

8/8

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!

Show Sources

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.”