Know the Types of Foods That Cause Headaches

Know the Types of Foods That Cause Headaches

Not only stress and lack of rest, headaches can also be triggered by certain foods or drinks. If you have frequent headaches, there are a variety of headache-causing foods that you may need to avoid.


Headaches are common when you eat late or don't drink enough. But in some people, headaches can also occur after eating certain types of food. These headaches usually appear 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating.

Types of Foods that Cause Headaches

The following are some types of foods that are thought to trigger headaches:

1. Chocolate

Although often said to improve mood, chocolate is the most common headache-causing food. Studies have shown that the caffeine and beta-phenylethylamine in chocolate can trigger headaches.

2. Cheese

Cheese is known to contain tyramine, which is a natural substance in food that can trigger headaches. The types of cheese that contain the most tyramine are cheeses that have been preserved for a long time, such as feta cheese, blue cheese, and parmesan cheese.

3. Salty and savory food

Eating too many foods that contain MSG can trigger headaches. Meanwhile, foods that contain a lot of salt can increase blood pressure, causing headaches.

4. Cold food

Consumption of foods that are too cold, such as ice cubes, kimchi, ice cream, or frozen yogurt can also trigger headaches, especially for someone who is sensitive to changes in temperature. Cold foods can usually cause headaches that are more severe when consumed after exercise or when hot.

5. Processed meat

Processed meats, such as sausages, generally contain many preservatives. One type of preservative that is commonly used is a nitrate compound which has the effect of dilating blood vessels. This effect is known to trigger headaches.

Not only food, there are also several types of drinks that can trigger headaches, including caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages, and drinks that contain high sugar.

Foods That Can Treat Headaches

Although there are foods that can trigger headaches, adopting a healthy and balanced diet is actually effective in preventing and even treating headaches. Here are some types of foods that can help with headaches:

  • Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and olive oil
  • Foods that contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin), such as green vegetables, milk, lean meats, nuts, and eggs
  • Foods that contain magnesium, such as leafy green vegetables, avocados, bananas, tuna, soybeans, and edamame
  • Foods that contain potassium, such as bananas, oranges, melons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers
In addition to consuming these foods, there are also several other steps that can be taken to treat headaches, including drinking enough water, taking time to rest, and reducing seeing bright lights, especially from gadgets.

Headaches caused by food can be confusing. If you have headaches that come and go and you don't have a clear trigger, try to make a note of when the headache occurred, the type of food that day and the amount, and the symptoms of the headache. This will help you identify what foods to avoid.

However, if you don't find the trigger and are increasingly bothered by the headaches you feel, you should consult a doctor to find out the cause and get the appropriate treatment.