Is Your Lunch Giving You A Headache?


I have this fear of eating shrimp scampi because the last two times that I have, I received terrible headaches. Although I think it comes from garlicy taste, it sometimes happens when I eat tuna. It makes me wonder, can certain food trigger headaches?

According to, food and beverages can be responsible for up to 30% of migranes that people have and not just in the way referring to dietary habits (like skipping meals and not drinking enough). Elaine Magee, the writer of the article, says migranes might happen because of changes in blood vessel tone set by certain substances in food. WebMD lists food that may trigger headaches, such as alcohol, food additives, cold food, aged cheese and other tyramine containing foods. It goes on to list an even more extensive breakdown of headache inducing foods including caffeine, peanuts, dried fruits, pizza, etc.migraine1.jpg

But before you begin to make checklist of foods to avoid (in case you are susceptibleto headaches), Magee also says that there are other "complicating" factors that can determine whether or not the food will trigger a headache. They are:

  • "Often, foods are triggers only when they are combined with other triggers"
  • "Whether you get a migraine from a food or beverage may depend on how much you consume."
  • "You may not get a headache for several hours to several days after eating a trigger food."

But just incase your still iffy on the whole matter and getting those frequent headaches, switching to a low-fat diet can help in reducing the amount of headaches one gets.


As a major migraine sufferer, I most definitely agree with this article. I have to be very cautious of what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat in order to prevent a migraine. I have noticed that one of the major contributors of migraines for me is caffeine (which stinks being in college!). For example, a can of Mountain Dew and I'm done. Other than trigger foods, there are many other factors that can trigger migraines, such as the weather, amount of sleep, lighting, sound and numerous other factors. It took years to figure out how to avoid migraines the best I can and I can definitely say your article is right on cue with migraine triggers.

Something you did not mention in your article but that I thought is also a very big factor in headaches is a person's level of dehydration. For example, usually when I get a headache it is not because of what I've eaten, but what I haven't been. If I have gone a significant amount of time without eating or drinking any water, I can very easily develop a headache. Even if I have been eating, if I have not been drinking water I will definitely develop a headache (especially if I have been drinking soda instead of water). The "water factor" is definitely something that should be considered when discussing headaches stemming from food. I found my information from this article:

Thank you, maybe I will make a post regarding just how your dehydration level can effect your headache/migrane. And if it has a stronger effect than anything else on your headache. I do know that a lot of times when I get a headache, it is because I have not had enough water to drink that day. But in my post I did mention that 30% of food and drink related headaches involved other factors and not just dietary habits (which included skipping meals and not drinking enough).

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