Headache Triggers

If you are plagued with headaches, the latest research might prove to be of importance to you. Some foods have been targeted as triggers to bring on headaches. Many patients have found relief by avoiding these foods. This information might also benefit you.

For some people headaches are an all too common experience. They may become so frequent and painful as to make normal life impossible. If we only knew why, but unfortunately there is no easy answer. No one factor can be singled out. The list of suspected causes is long. Among the best known causes are allergies, medications, tension, hormonal factors, lack of sleep and food. Doctors have listened for years to patients complain that certain foods give them headaches, and medical researchers have started to listen to these complaints.

In this search, researchers look for the obscure. Chewing gum is one example. Seymour Diamond, M.D. of the Diamond Headache Center in Chicago,, found that his gum chewing patients spent so much time chewing that they overworked the muscles in the jaw area, triggering headache. Dr. Diamond says that the type of headache that goes with this activity is felt at the front and sides of the head. Another suspect is ice cream, an all American favorite. The cold of the ice cream activates nerves in the roof of the mouth that sends a message to the brain that trips the pain alarm.

A third suspect might come as a surprise, salt. Why this is isn’t clear but Dr. Diamond finds that patients often develop headache a few hours after eating salty food. Dr. Norma Cornwell and co-workers at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia, says the problem is real, and not at all rare. When 26 patients followed a special diet designed to eliminate certain foods, such as monosodium glutamate, yellow and red food coloring, yeasts and nitrites, they found relief. Patients reported half as many headaches and those that happened were not as severe. Some foods to avoid follows. If you have headaches it might be worthwhile to exclude these foods from your diet and see if it brings relief.



Red wine

Beans, green beans are okay.



Cured foods, such as bacon, cold cuts,smoked fish, hot dogs, and salami.

MSN (monosodium glutamate)


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