Health - Wellness
The Ingredient In Your Food That Could Be Giving You Headaches
Headaches are caused by many factors, such as stress, irregular sleep, dehydration, and hormones, but food can be a big trigger as well. Food additives such as nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs and lunch meats may trigger headaches, because the compounds enlarge brain blood vessels, while monosodium glutamate (MSG) may trigger dizziness and head or stomach pain.
Alcohol can be another headache trigger, as it increases dehydration and lowers serotonin levels, and red wine, in particular, contains sulfites and tyramine. Caffeine intake can also trigger headaches in some people, especially for those who don’t take it regularly, since fluctuations in caffeine intake can cause withdrawals.
The amino acid tyramine in pickled foods like kimchi, processed meats, aged cheese, nuts, and some beans (like fava) can also trigger migraine attacks. Chocolate and citrus fruit are also commonly identified as headache triggers.
B. Lee Peterlin, director of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Headache Research, told WedMD that aside from food triggers, “skipping a meal is far more frequently reported as a headache trigger.” The best practices to combat this are scheduling mealtimes, staying hydrated, and getting quality sleep each night.