Migraine Diet

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Low Tyramine Headache Diet*

Tyramine is produced in foods from the natural breakdown of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyramine is not added to foods. Tyramine levels
increase in foods when they are aged, fermented, stored for long periods of time, or are not fresh

Food Group
Use With Caution

Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs
Freshly purchased and prepared
Bacon*, sausage*, hot dogs*,
Aged, dried, fermented, salted,
meats, fish, and poultry
corned beef*, bologna*, ham*, any
smoked, or pickled products.

luncheon meats with nitrates or
Pepperoni, salami, and liverwurst.

nitrites added.


Non-fresh meat or liver, pickled
Tuna fish, tuna salad (with allowed
Meats with tenderizer added caviar

Milk: whole, 2% or skim
Yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream: ½

cup per day

Cheese: American, cottage,
Parmesan* or Romano* as a
Aged cheese: blue, brick, brie
farmer, ricotta, cream cheese,
garnish (2 tsp.) or minor ingredient
cheddar, Swiss, Roquefort, stilton,
Velveeta, low-fat processed
mozzarella, provolone,
emmentaler, etc.

Breads, Cereals, Pasta
Commercially prepared yeast
Homemade yeast leavened breads
Any with a restricted ingredient

and coffee cakes

Product leavened with baking
Sourdough breads
powder: biscuits, pancakes, coffee
cakes, etc.

All cooked and dry cereals

All pasta: spaghetti, rotini ravioli,
(w/allowed ingredients), macaroni,
and egg noodles

Asparagus, string beans, beets,
Raw onion
Snow peas, fava or broad beans,
carrots, spinach, pumpkin,
sauerkraut, pickles and olives
tomatoes, squash, zucchini,

broccoli, potatoes, onions cooked
Fermented soy products like miso,
in food, Chinese pea pods, navy
soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce
beans, soy beans, any not on
restricted list

Apple, applesauce, cherries,
Limit intake to ½ cup per day from
apricots, peaches, any not on
each group: Citrus: orange,
restricted list
grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple,
lemon and lime

Avocados, banana, figs*, raisins*,
dried fruit*, papaya, passion fruit,
and red plums

Nuts and Seeds
All nuts: peanuts, peanut butter,
pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds,
walnuts, pecans

820 N. Orleans, Suite 217, Chicago, IL 60610-3132 Toll Free (888) NHF-5552 Fax (312) 640-9049 www.headaches.org

Food Group
Use With Caution

Soups made from allowed
Canned soups with autolyzed or
ingredients, homemade broths
hydrolyzed yeast*, meat extracts*,
or monosodium glutamate*(MSG)

Decaffeinated coffee, fruit juices,
Limited caffeinated beverages to
Alcoholic beverages: Chianti,
club soda, caffeine-free carbonated
no more than 2 servings per day:
sherry, burgundy, vermouth, ale,

beer, and non-alcoholic fermented
Coffee and tea: 1 cup = 1 serving
beverages. All others not specified
carbonated beverages and hot
in caution column
cocoa or chocolate milk: 12oz = 1

Limit alcoholic beverages to one

4oz Riesling wine, 1.5oz vodka or
scotch per day = 1 serving per day
(May need to omit if on MAOI)

Desserts & Sweets
Any made with allowed foods and
Chocolate based products: ice
Mincemeat pie
ingredients: sugar, jelly, jam,
cream (1 cup), pudding (1 cup),
honey, hard candies, cakes,
cookies (1 average size), cakes (3”
cube), and chocolate candies
(½oz). (All count as one serving of
caffeinated beverage)

Ingredients Listed on Food Labels
Any not listed in the restricted
MSG* (in large amounts), nitrates
and nitrites (found mainly in
processed meats), yeast, yeast
extracts, brewers yeast, hydrolyzed
or autolyzed yeast, meat extracts,
meat tenderizers (papain,
bromelin) seasoned salt
(containing MSG), soy sauce,
teriyaki sauce

Fats, Oils, and Miscellaneous
All cooking oils and fats

White vinegar
Wine, apple, or other fermented

Commercial salad dressing with
allowed ingredients

All spices not listed in restricted

Caffeine Content of Selected Beverages
Carbonated beverages 12oz=30–
Coffee 6oz=103mg
Decaffeinated coffee 6oz=2mg
Tea 6oz=31-36mg
50mg (Regular and sugar-free)
(Instant and 3-minute brew)

General Guidelines
Each day eat three meals with a snack at night or six small meals
The foods listed in the “CAUTION” column have smaller amounts of
spread throughout the day.
Tyramine or other vasoactive compounds. Foods with an * may
Avoid eating high sugar foods on an empty stomach, when
contain small amounts of Tyramine. Other foods in the “USE WITH
excessively hungry, or in place of a meal.
CAUTION” column do not contain Tyramine but are potential
All food, especially high protein foods, should be prepared and eaten
headache “triggers”. If you are taking an MAO inhibitor (Monoamine
fresh. Be cautious of leftovers held for more than one or two days at
Oxidase Inhibitor) you should test the use of restricted foods in
refrigerator temperature. Freeze leftovers that you want to store for
limited amounts.
more than 2 or 3 days.
Each person may have different sensitivities to certain level of
Cigarette and cigar smoke contain a multitude of chemicals that will
Tyramine or other vasoactive compounds in foods. If you are not on
trigger or aggravate your headache. If you smoke, make quitting a
an MAO inhibitor, you should test the use of restricted foods in
high priority. Enter a smoking cessation program.
limited amounts.
Adapted from the Columbus Hospital & Diamond Headache Clinic
Low Tyramine Headache Diet.