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Love cheese?

According to the National Headache Foundation, eating foods that contain tyramine can set off a chain reaction that causes vasoconstriction — or narrowing — of some of the blood vessels in the brain. This vasoconstriction is then followed by dilation — or widening — of the blood vessels. This back and forth narrowing and widening causes the characteristic throbbing of a migraine headache.

One of the items on the migraine foods to avoid list that contain tyramine is aged cheese. which is the process of allowing the cheese to sit for a certain period of time after it's made so it can develop a deeper flavor and a different texture. Different cheeses are aged to different degrees, but as a general rule, aged cheeses are typically harder than fresh cheeses. Some examples of aged cheeses that migraine sufferers may want to avoid are:

  • Parmesan

  • Asiago

  • Pecorino Romano

  • Gruyere

  • Havarti

  • Sharp cheddar

  • Swiss made in Switzerland (Emmental)

  • Fontina

  • Monchego Viejo

  • Romano

  • Stravecchio

  • Mozzarella

  • Gorgonzola

But aged cheese isn't the only thing with tyramine. There are lots of others foods that contain the compound that have been linked to the onset of migraines as well. The cleveland clinic notes that about 20% of headache and migraine sufferers are sensitive to foods. Because headache triggers can vary from person to person, patients with migraines are advised to keep a food and headache diary so they can try to determine which foods may be associated with headaches for them.

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