It isn't just binge drinking that can bring on a massive headache the next day. Doctors say a lot of unexpected foods, from bananas to yogurt to citrus fruit, can have the same result.
Dr. David Buchholz is a neurology professor at Johns Hopkins University, and author of the book "Heal Your Headache." And he says a lot of us don’t realize the foods we love gives us splitting headaches. Because the time lapse between consuming a food and getting a serious headache can be anywhere from a few hours up to 2 days! So, we tend to blame the pain on being tired or stressed – or the last thing we ate.
But growing research shows an undeniable link between certain foods and reactions in the brain and blood vessels that result in major headache pain.
To start, the National Headache Foundation suggests staying away from anything with tyramine – that’s a naturally occurring chemical in foods, that transmits signals along pain nerve endings. It’s typically found in aged, dried and fermented foods. That means, avoid: pepperoni and salami and aged cheeses, like blue, Brie, and Cheddar.
But tyramine is also found in fresh foods, like bananas, onions, citrus, and nuts.
Fermented foods include beer, vermouth – and soy products like miso soup, teriyaki sauce and soy sauce.
Other headache triggers include: Pickles, olives, yogurt, caviar and wine. They can be incredibly good for you – but they’re also fermented.
So now that we’ve just about crossed everything off your grocery list – what are you supposed to eat? And how can you know which food is the headache culprit? Experts say keep a food journal and go over it with your doctor, eliminating foods one by one that seem to trigger pain. These triggers can build up in your system, until you’re incredibly sensitive and just a bite sets you off. But once your body has flushed out all the chemicals that trigger pain, you can add small amounts of these foods back into your diet. You may not be 100 percent headache free – but you can realistically reduce their frequency from 3 times a week to once a month.