Foods That Can Trigger Migraines

There are many things that can trigger a migraine to those who are prone to them. Triggers can include foods, drinks, certain physical activities and exercise, sleep deprivation, stress, odors, bright lights, hormones and even medications can bring one on. Here are 5 surprising triggers you probably wouldn't have thought of. It's important to keep in mind migraine triggers can vary from person to person. Risk factors for migraines can be rooted in genetics. More studies are underway and needed to understand the genetic undertones in the development of migraines. If you're immediate family members suffer, you're most likely at risk. 


Alcohol: Red wine is one of the main migraine triggers. According to a review by researchers in Brazil, those who suffer from migraines may play a role in their attacks about 30% of the time or more. Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration which contributes to a headache. 

Caffeine: If you're prone to these headaches, you might want to consider your coffee or soda intake. Too much of it can cause an attack, possibly because caffeine acts on certain receptors in the brain that are linked with migraines, according to one 2009 review. 

Aged cheeses: As much as we all love these delicious delectables, they are also commonly known as migraine triggers. Experts still remain unsure why but research suggests that aged cheese contain compounds called tyramines which may interact with the neurotransmitters in the body and lead to a migraines. 

Cured or processed meats: Think your beloved hot dog or even turkey sandwich, these might set off a migraine as well. They contain sodium nitrate, a preservative that research speculates with this additive that may also cause changes in brain chemistry that contribute to the headache. 

MSG: Monosodium glutamate may also contribute to migraine development. Although more research is needed, one 2008 study suggested that 2.5% of these headaches that may be triggered by the ingredient. 


Think diet soft drinks and other packaged foods, this hidden ingredient can bring on a migraine. 

Chocolate hasn’t been established as a true migraine trigger. While people may believe that chocolate is the culprit behind their headaches", some experts think that the reverse is actually true—that the craving for sweets is a symptom of an oncoming migraine, not the cause of it. According to the 2012 review by researchers in Brazil, people in the earliest stages of a migraine attack can experience chocolate cravings, but that the food itself isn’t responsible for the headache.