Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why Certain Foods Cause Headaches

Foods containing tyramine may trigger severe headaches in some people.

 

The headache is a perplexing ailment that afflicts most people at some point. It's a symptom of dozens of different diseases, and it can also have dozens of causes — or no apparent cause at all.

Researchers have now found evidence that ordinary foods like nuts, beans and cheese may be linked to severe, incapacitating headaches in some people, reports the Wall Street Journal. The culinary culprit? Tyramine.

Tyramine occurs naturally in food from the breakdown of amino acids, and it's believed to trigger an immune response — plus a splitting headache — in certain people. High levels of tyramine are often found in foods that are aged, pickled or stored for long periods: Cheeses like brie, cheddar and provolone, pickles and salami and other cured meats contain high levels of tyramine, as do peanuts, Brazil nuts, avocados, bananas and fava, navy and pinto beans, according to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. 

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