Many who suffer from headaches are unaware of the different causes of headaches as a factor in their pain, and they start off taking painkillers such as paracetamol.
Food-related headaches shall be explored throughout the following article.

Hunger headache
Hunger headache refers to pulsing pain all over the head. The causes of hunger headache have not yet been proven, however most scientists believe that hunger headache occurs from what happens to the body because of the lack of food coming into it. As a result, your glucose levels drop low. However, causes of such headache usually result from:
  • Skipping a meal.
  • Following a strenuous diet based on deprivation.
  • In such case, you should not take painkillers such as Paracetamol or Panadol. It is recommended to have nourishing meals containing adequate protein, complex carbohydrate, fat and fiber.
    Why you should stop taking Paracetamol?
    Paracetamol is usually nontoxic and is released in urine as it is conjugated by Glutathione amino acid. However, one of its metabolites, N-acetyle-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), can be highly toxic in cases such as overdosing Paracetamol or having low Glutathione level in blood, thus damaging liver. This gets worse as the patient excessively uses Paracetamol instead of simply changing his diet.
    Factors that cause weakness in the efficiency of glutathione:
  • Fasting
  • Malnutrition or deprivation
  • Alcohol addiction


  • Hot dog headache
    Such headaches are usually triggered by sodium nitrites-E250 which is found in processed and cured meats in order to keep them fresh and pinkish. Nitrites trigger headache pain as they cause dilation of blood vessels. Thus, people who suffer from migraine turn to be consuming such nitrites-rich meat products.
    Side effects of sodium nitrate - E250
    Sodium nitrate may not only cause headaches but also:
  • Development of tumors and spread of cancer.
  • Hyperactivity in children.
  • Asthma and its complications.
  • Migraines.


  • Ice cream headache (Brain Freeze)
    The pain you get when you eat ice cream is a reaction to the cold, not the ice cream itself. The pain peaks in about 30 - 60 seconds and goes away quickly. You should eat ice cream or drink cold drinks more slowly.
    Note: This type of headache may be causative factor of migraines.

    MSG E621 headache
    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used as a food additive and flavor enhancer in some types of food such as soy sauce, maggi or knorr cubes and also found in most Asian dishes.
    Large doses of MSG may cause severe headache in 10-15% of those who suffer from migraine headaches.
    Monosodium glutamate can also lead to intestinal contractions and diarrhea.
    Note: Soy sauce is high in sodium and very salty, which may lead to dehydration; another possible cause of headache. Therefore, we recommend consuming soy sauce in moderation with large quantities of water.

    Cheese headache or Tyramine headache
    Aged cheese like Blue-veined cheese, Parmesan, Cheddar, Swiss cheese and Ricotta is high in Tyramine which can trigger migraine. People who often have migraine are advised to avoid aged cheese since Tyramine causes blood vessels to first constrict then dilate causing headache.
    Tyramine, which is derived from amino acid Tyrosine, is also found in processed meat and some sauces but mostly less that it is in cheese.

    Coffee headache
    200 to 400 milligrams of caffeine (about two to three cups of coffee) a day can help get rid of a headache, but too much caffeine can be a migraine headache trigger. Caffeine may be also included in energy drinks and some migraine medications such as Panadol Extra, which contains 65 milligrams of caffeine. So you may need to pay attention to how much caffeine you consume daily.
    Aya Hasanin
    دكتورة صيدلانية فلسطينية متزوجة ومقيمة في السودان ، مديرة صيدلية الاتحاد في غزة سابقا ، عملت في الصيدلية المركزية بمكتب الاونروا بغزة وفي مستشفى الحلو الدولي للعقم واطفال الانابيب . مهتمة بمجال التغذية ، حصلت على دورة تدريبية في التغذية الشخصية و عملت أثناء .إقامتها بالسودان في مركز القلب في الخرطوم