Eliminate Tyramine from your Diet- Some common- and not so common- foods that trigger migraine headache attacks.
What is tyramine?
Tyramine is an amino acid product that is essential for regulating blood pressure. Certain foods with tyramine include aged cheese, processed meats, and overripe fruit. Scientists found that by prescribing MAOI antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), which prevent the breakdown of tyramine, patients are able to overcome their symptoms of depression. Still, too much tyramine can cause a “tyramine reaction,” which can have detrimental side effects. For that reason, the Mayo Clinic advises individuals who take MAOI’s to follow a tyramine-free diet.
What are the side effects of too much tyramine?
The most common symptoms of tyramine reaction are:
- High blood pressure
Do foods containing tyramine cause migraine headaches?
There is no scientific evidence proving that tyramine directly causes migraines, but there is a high correlation. According to Migraine.com, the foods that trigger migraines overwhelmingly contain high levels of tyramine, with chocolate at the top of the list, accounting for 75% of all migraine food triggers.
What are the best foods to avoid in a tyramine-free diet?
Below is a checklist of some food groups that contain high levels (6mg or more) of tyramines:
Processed meats, poultry, and fish
Opt for fresh beef, chicken, and seafood at all times- dried salamis contain food coloring, preservatives, and sugar, in addition to tyramine. Aged chicken liver contains the highest levels of tyramine, according to some reports. Other meats and fish to avoid are:
- Smoked, dried, or cured meats
- Hot dogs, sausages, and pepperoni
- Beef jerky
Tyramine levels in cheese increase with age. Pizza, lasagna, and other cheesy meals are therefore restricted on a low tyramine diet. Cheese products that contain the most tyramine are:
- Blue cheeses
- Sharp Cheddar
- Processed cheese (example: Velveeta) and aged cheese spreads
Fermented foods, condiments, and yeasted dough
All soybean byproducts contribute to tyramine reaction. These include: tofu, miso, soy sauce, and cooked soybeans. Sauerkraut is also a red-flag item on the tyramine-free diet, in addition to sourdough bread, chocolate, and non-alcoholic beer.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies are the most unlikely migraine-triggering culprits, and the most frequently misunderstood. For example, bananas are high in tyramine, but only if they become overripe. The tyramine is in the banana peel, not the pulp. Tyramine levels increase with time, as the bananas brown and ripen. Fruits and vegetables to omit from the tyramine-free diet are:
- Brown bananas
- Certain beans, such as fava beans, lima beans, and navy beans
- Red plums
If your doctor has advised you to limit your tyramine intake, then avoid consuming the following beverages:
- Beer, lager, or ale- either from tap, bottled, or canned, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer.
- Red and white wine
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