Avoid Aged Foods for Fewer Headaches
An estimated ten to 15 percent of the population suffers from repeated migraines, while as many as 40 percent of people regularly get headaches. Headaches can be triggered by a range of factors, from lack of sleep to a change in the weather or stress, and everyone’s triggers are different.
Can foods cause headaches? Unfortunately the biological links between food and headache aren't fully understood. Some believe there may be a chemical reaction that leads to some headaches, while others think foods could trigger a vascular response involving nerves and blood vessels. One thing to keep in mind, we’re all individual and a trigger for one may be completely different for another.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, more than fifty percent of migraine sufferers change their diet or avoid specific foods, according to an analysis of studies on headache triggers published last year in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology. As many as one-third of people who regularly get common headaches have reported a link between eating and drinking and headache.
According to WebMD, certain foods and drinks, or components they contain, can trigger migraines. One well-accepted migraine trigger is tyramine. Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods. It is an intermediate in the conversion of tyrosine, an amino acid present in many proteins, to epinephrine (a hormone produced by the adrenals). The National Headache Foundation suggests headache sufferers try to limit their intake of tyramine to see if headache patterns change and if symptoms subside.
Tyramine can be found in aged and fermented foods like: aged chicken liver, aged cheese, beer on tap, meats that have been fermented or air-dried, such as summer sausage and pepperoni, red wine, sherry, burgundy, vermouth, sauerkraut and soy sauce. Other foods that may contain tyramine include: sauces containing fish or shrimp, miso soup and yeast extract.
Tyramine's connection to headaches was realized with the advent of a class of antidepressants, known by as MAOIs. The drugs block an enzyme that breaks down excess tyramine, which can boost blood pressure and cause headaches and nausea when it accumulates in the body.
If you suffer from migraines or headaches it may be worth cutting out tyramine rich foods from your diet. As always speak with your health care practitioner before making any changes to your diet.