Can Cheese Cause Migraines?

At Advanced Radiology, we know that migraine triggers can vary from person to person. Stress, fluorescent lighting, certain smells and changes in the weather can all trigger the onset of head pain. But what about cheese?

Can Cheese Cause Migraines?

Yes. Some types of cheese can cause migraines in some people. The cheeses linked to migraines are certain aged or fermented varieties high in tyramine. Tyramine is a protein byproduct and contributes to migraines because it causes narrowing of the blood vessels. When blood vessels narrow, blood pressure increases and causes headaches and migraines. 

 The most common types of cheese known to cause migraines include cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, blue cheese, English Stilton, Gorgonzola, feta and Brie.

What Other Foods Trigger Migraines?

Cheese is just one food linked to the development of migraines. Other aged and fermented foods such as vinegar, pickled items, sauerkraut, kimchi, wine and beer contain tyramine.

Other migraine-causing foods include those that contain salts known as nitrates or nitrites. Nitrates and nitrates are found in hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meat and other processed meat products like pepperoni and beef jerky. Like tyramine, nitrates and nitrites cause the blood vessels to narrow and the blood pressure to rise.

Foods that contain the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) also can cause migraines in some people. A large number of processed foods, seasoning mixes and Asian foods contain MSG. Many people who are sensitive to MSG often experience tightening of the chest, facial flushing and abdominal pain in addition to head pain.

Some Beverages Also Linked to Migraines

Certain beverages have also been identified as migraine triggers. Drinks with caffeine like coffee, tea, energy drinks and soft drinks can trigger the start of head pain for others. Chocolate, cocoa and some medications also contain caffeine and contribute to the onset of migraines. Many diet sodas are also migraine-inducers for some individuals because they contain aspartame and other manufactured sweeteners.

Do you suffer from migraines? Advanced Radiology can help. Call us at 855-201-1519 for your consultation.