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The following list of foods may provoke headaches in some people.  This list should be used in collaboration with a food and symptoms journal.  If you routinely get a headache after eating any of the foods listed below, it is a good idea to avoid the particular food(s) for 2-4 weeks.  Then slowly reintroduce the food(s) one at a time to see if they are causing a headache for you.  Alcohol, chocolate and tyramine containing foods are also known triggers.

Food Group

Foods Suggested

Foods to watch out for


Decaf Coffee
Decaf Soda
Limit caffeine sources to 2 cups per day (includes coffee, tea, colas, fruit juices, club soda

Wine (especially red)
Non-alcoholic fermented beverages


Whole, 2% or skim


Dairy Products

Cottage Cheese
Yogurt (limit to ½ cup)
Sour Cream (limit to ½ cup)

Ice Cream
Aged or processed cheeses – cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, Roquefort blue cheese

Meat, Fish, Poultry

Fresh meat, fish, poultry
Tuna fish

Aged, dried, salted, smoked, cured or processed meats and those containing nitrates
Pickled, dried or smoked herring
Sausage, bacon, salami, bologna, hot dogs, chicken liver and marinated meats


Asparagus, string beans, beets, carrots, spinach, pumpkin, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, broccoli, potatoes, cooked onions, navy beans, soy beans

Raw onions, fava or broad beans, lima beans, pea pods, snow peas, pickles, olives, sauerkraut


Apples, applesauce, cherries, apricots, peaches

Limit to ½ cup per day:
Oranges, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon, lime, avocados, bananas, figs, raisins, dried fruits, papaya, passion fruit, plums


Commercially prepared yeast products leavened with baking powder such as biscuits, pancakes, coffee cakes, etc.
All cooked/dried cereals
All pasta

Homemade yeast breads
Fresh coffee cake
Yeast and yeast extracts
Sourdough breads
Bread or crackers containing cheese, chocolate or nuts

Flavor enhancers/


Food containing MSG- nitrates, nitrites, soy sauce,
Teriyaki sauce, Chinese foods
Instant foods such as canned soup, TV dinners
Processed meats
Potato chips
Many boxed food items

Nuts and Seeds


All nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans


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