10 Foods That Trigger Migraines

A migraine is a headache on one side of the head. Some symptoms that accompany migraine are nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. While the exact cause of migraines is complex and varies among individuals, we have highlighted some common foods that may trigger migraines.


Chocolate contains tyramine, which is known to cause headaches and migraines. The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of tyramine it has. If you are prone to migraines, limit your intake of chocolate.


Caffeine can be both a trigger and a remedy for migraines. While some people find relief from migraines by consuming caffeine, others may experience a migraine after drinking too much caffeine.

Monitor and limit your caffeine intake if you are prone to migraines.


Aged or fermented cheeses like blue cheese or cheddar contain high levels of tyramine, making them potential migraine triggers. If you love cheese but experience frequent migraines, choose fresh cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta.


Alcohol consumption is a common cause of migraines, especially red wine. The sulfites and histamines present in alcohol can widen blood vessels, leading to a migraine. Limit or avoid alcohol if you experience frequent migraines.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits contain high levels of nitrates, which can cause blood vessels to dilate and stimulate migraines. If you enjoy citrus fruits, try to consume them in moderation and balance them with other foods.

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Processed Meats

Hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and deli meats often contain preservatives known as nitrates and nitrites. These substances can affect blood vessels in the brain and induce a migraine.

These meats are also high in sodium, which can also trigger migraines in some individuals.

Monosodium Glutamate (Msg)

MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly used in Chinese food, canned soups, and processed foods. Some people may experience migraines after consuming MSG, as it can affect neurotransmitters in the brain.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are often used in diet soda or sugar-free snacks. These substances can cause a chemical reaction in the brain that triggers migraines in some individuals. Opt for honey or stevia instead.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain sulfites, which can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. This allergic response can lead to a migraine in susceptible individuals.

If you experience migraines after consuming onions or garlic, try cooking them well or avoiding them altogether.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are considered healthy snacks, but they can also be potential triggers for migraines. Some nuts and seeds contain high levels of tyramine, or histamines, that can cause blood vessels to dilate and trigger a migraine. Pay attention to your body’s response when consuming nuts and seeds, and limit intake if necessary.

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