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Food headache

For many people, headaches and other symptoms are related to certain foods that they eat. Too much of a certain food or chemical contained in food, can cause symptoms to develop, as can sudden withdrawal from that food or chemical component.

Common substances in food that can bring on headaches are serotonin, histamine, tyramine and tryptamine. These are in cheese, shellfish, strawberries, red wine and avocados. For some people, headaches and other symptoms can develop after eating some of these foods. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is often blamed for causing headaches and is found in Chinese food and appears naturally in other food including Camembert cheese, Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, mushrooms and tomatoes.


      • A drop in blood sugar levels

      • Not drinking enough water

      • Allergy to certain types of food

Facts to note:

      • Can be avoided by identifying which foods cause the headache and avoiding them

      • Will last as long as the food is in your system

Relief of food headaches

Like a migraine, preventing a food headache is only possible when you learn to recognise and avoid the trigger. By ensuring that you drink at least two litres of water a day, you should avoid any headaches caused by dehydration, too. Making sure you always have an adequate blood sugar level, which can drop if you have not eaten and cause a headache. See the section on diet headaches for more information on food headaches.


Some painkillers can irritate your digestive system. To avoid the side effects that can be associated with taking painkilling pills, try applying 4head Stick instead, which contains 90% levomenthol for fast headache relief. Read more...