Yes, many foods and drinks can cause headaches. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Red wine
Of all the alcoholic drinks, this one most often triggers a headache. Red wine contains the amino acid tyramine, which causes headaches in sensitive people. However, some people with headaches are sensitive to all alcoholic drinks.
- Caffeinated drinks
The problem is not when you drink coffee, tea, soda or other drinks that contain caffeine. The headaches come on if you suddenly stop taking in the caffeine.
- Aged foods
As cheese ages, the breakdown of the protein releases the amino acid tyramine, the same ingredient that is the cause of headaches related to red wine.
- Processed foods
Foods like hot dogs and pepperoni often contain nitrates, another headache trigger. Some processed foods also are rich in tyramine.
A little bit of chocolate usually won't trigger a headache. When chocolate does cause a headache, tyramine is probably the culprit.
- Very cold foods
An ice cream headache usually comes on quickly and lasts less than a minute. But for some people who experience migraine headaches, eating ice cream can trigger a more prolonged migraine attack.
The best way to find what foods and/or drinks cause your headaches is to keep a diary. Every time you have a headache, write down everything you ate and drank before the headache started. You might discover that it is not the food that's causing the trouble, but one of the additives.