Food Triggers and Migraines: What Are Your Food Triggers?

So, as I’m typing this I’m on Day 6 of another migraine attack.  My migraines are always worse in the spring and summer. It’s a bummer because I live in Michigan and these are two of my favorite times of the year.   Today it took the entire two Imitrex, a Benadryl and two cups of tea to help provide enough pain relief to get through my work day.  I’m also diffusing essential oils but due to FDA requirements I’m not allowed to tell you which ones!  However if it comes back before I go to bed, I’m screwed because you can only take 2 Imitrex in a 24 hour period. I can tell you after I’m done with this article, I’m going to have to sleep after this.  Between the medication side effects and forcing myself to keep going even though I’m still in some pain is exhausting.

I was reaching for my lunch today which was going to include an avocado that is about to go bad at any moment, and that’s when I remembered that avocados can be a migraine trigger.  Then I remembered that we had a few avocados over the last couple of days that I needed to use, so we’ve had them with our dinner that last couple of nights.   Sadly, I put the avocado back knowing it could potentially make things worse.

Avocados can be a trigger because they are high in Tyramine.  It essentially a compound found in many foods, but especially foods that are fermented, aged, pickled, red wine and beer.  I have noticed I can only eat three types of cheese due to tyramine;  mild cheddar, mozzarella and muenster. Tyramine can cause your blood pressure to rise thus causing a migraine.  This was based on a study with patients who were taking MAOI inhibitors and starting getting migraines.   According to WebMD  “One explanation is that tyramine can cause nerve cells in your brain to release the chemical norepinephrine. Having higher levels of tyramine in your system — along with an unusual level of brain chemicals — can cause changes in the brain that lead to headaches”.

I KNOW any red wine gives me a headache, not always a migraine.  Certain white wines give me a headache.  Oddly enough, Vodka and Tequila do not give me headaches.  Weird? I also can eat pickles and olives without issues. Adieu to my beloved Brie cheese, wines and now possibly avocados.

A more complete list of these trigger foods high in tyramine can be found here:

More helpful information on food triggers can be found here:




Published by Amy Ewald

I’m a wife and mother of a 7-year-old daughter. I’ve worked in the IT industry as a Systems Administrator for over 18 years. I experienced my first migraine at age 11. My migraines have progressively grown in frequency after the birth of my daughter. I was diagnosed with chronic migraine. I write to help migraine sufferers, I also enjoy, walking, yoga, writing, reading and spending time with my family. I'm currently writing and illustrating a children's book for parents with migraines to help their children understand the problem and how they can help!

3 thoughts on “Food Triggers and Migraines: What Are Your Food Triggers?

  1. Two people in my family have quite a few triggers due to tyramine, so I’ve had to come up with different meals to cook. I’m posting these and my thoughts if you would like to visit.


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