Avoiding Migraines During the Holidays

The holidays are, without a doubt, a very enjoyable time for us. Seeing your loved ones, exchanging wishes and gifts, and enjoying delicious home-cooked meals are all reasons to look forward to the holidays coming up. However, for many people, this season may not end up being all that joyful due to one very specific unplanned reason: migraines

If you or a person close to you suffers from migraines, then you know they can be very unpleasant and disruptive to your everyday life.  They will make it hard to enjoy all those precious moments.

Avoiding Foods that Cause Migraines

Though the mechanisms that cause migraines are yet to be fully understood by experts, there are ways you can reduce the likelihood of getting migraines by avoiding foods that are known to trigger them.

In this article, we'll talk about some of the most common food migraine triggers and also explain how it is now possible to enjoy your favorite wines without suffering from unpleasant consequences. Make sure to stay with us until the end of the article to find out how you can make yourself or your loved ones suffering from migraines, more comfortable during this holiday season.

Holiday Foods that Cause Migraines

There is a variety of foods that can be responsible for triggering migraines. Some of the most common ones you can avoid include:

●     Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners that can be found in a variety of processed foods and soft drinks. While it can be tempting to choose a soft drink or a dessert containing less calories, make sure it doesn't contain aspartame which is thought to trigger migraine episodes for people who are intolerant of this artificial sweetener.

●     Cured Meats

During the holidays, it's very likely that you will be presented with a charcuterie board and while it may appear delicious, it's best to avoid it if you commonly suffer from migraines. Cured meats contain preservatives, called nitrates, that are used to preserve color and flavor. These foods can release nitric oxide into the blood, which is thought to dilate blood vessels in the brain and cause migraines.  

Cured and dried meats can also contain a high level of histamines that are formed during the curing process. Histamines also cause blood vessels to dilate and are closely linked to the onset of migraines.

●     Aged cheeses

Aged cheeses contain a substance called tyramine that is formed during the aging process.  The milk proteins are converted into a variety of histamines of which tyramine is one of the most common. The longer the cheese has aged, the higher the tyramine content will be. Tyramine is another chemical identified as a trigger for migraines.

●     Alcohol

Finally, a well-known substance that is commonly suspected to cause migraines is alcohol (ethanol). A big factor in the onset of headaches and migraines is dehydration, which can also be brought on by excessive alcohol consumption. Wine is regarded as one of the alcoholic drinks that causes headaches the most, but typically only contains 10-15% alcohol.

Wine and Migraines

Generally speaking, alcohol can widen blood arteries in the brain, which can lead to headaches. Heavy bodied red wines have a reputation for causing headaches. This isn't always the case because there are many different triggers that can cause a migraine and drinking a glass of wine may not be the single contributing factor.  As such, we shouldn't view red wine as the enemy.

Can Red Wine Cause Migraines?

There are several hypotheses that have been put forth to explain why red wine is such a frequent trigger for migraines.  Keep in mind that the physiology of migraines is quite complex and medical experts are still striving to understand the range of mechanisms underlying migraines. Some of those hypotheses include:


Histamine is a chemical component that is integral to the proper functioning of our immune, digestion, and central nervous systems. However, in high quantities, it has been linked to headaches, fatigue, nasal congestion, and nausea. Grape skins contain the precursors to histamine formation, therefore if you have a histamine sensitivity, eating meals high in this component and drinking heavy-bodied red wines may make you more prone to migraines and other inflammatory side effects.


Grape skins and stems also contain naturally occurring chemicals called tannins, which are responsible for the wine's astringency and flavors. When consumed, tannins signal the brain to release serotonin, which can be a headache trigger for some people. Tannins are also found in a variety of foods including tea, chocolate, berries, and nuts, so consuming large amounts of the foods at the same time might lead to a headache or migraine.


Sulfites are substances that are usually blamed for causing wine headaches since they are commonly found in wines.  They are very effective antioxidants and preservatives that help to ensure a good shelf-life for wines. Actually, sulfites are more likely to cause breathing problems to those with a sulfite allergy, but in combination with histamine and tannins, they can also cause headaches and migraines.

Enjoy Wine Without Migraines

Enjoying wine without suffering from any undesirable side effects is entirely possible and you don't have to do anything extreme to achieve that.

Drink Wine in Moderation

Our first tip when it comes to drinking without getting migraines is to drink in moderation. It sounds very obvious, but it's one of the best tips we could give you. If you drink in moderation you are going to avoid both the headaches and migraines that come from consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, but also those that come from dehydration.

Wine that Doesn't Cause Migraines

Another great tip is finding the wine that is right for you. As we mentioned earlier, histamine, tannins, and sulfites can all trigger migraines. White wines contain way fewer histamines and tannins than reds because they are made without the presence of grape skins where these two culprits are found. If you are known to have a sulfite sensitivity, then organic and ”biodynamic” wines usually contain lower levels of sulfites because they're considered "low-intervention wines".  Winemakers try to use as few additives as possible during the winemaking process. These types of wines are less likely to cause migraines.

What is the Best Red Wine for Migraine Sufferers?

The best red wine for migraine sufferers is your favorite wine. "Wait what?", you say. As we explained above, red wine migraines are most likely triggered by the histamines and sulfites found in all red wine, even your favorites. 

PureWine products filter out these migraine-triggering elements without affecting the taste, color, or viscosity of the wine.  PureWine products filter out histamines and sulfites that are found in wines as a result of the winemaking process. These products also improve wine flavor by aerating it when you pour a glass.  So it's a win-win situation. 

Wine Histamine Remover

Migraine Free Holidays

Having PureWine's products on hand is always a good idea, whether you're the one suffering from migraines or you're hosting a holiday dinner and want to ensure that no one suffers from any nasty headaches. PureWine has created a range of wine purifiers including the Wand, Wave and Phoenix.  All of these revolutionary products remove histamines and sulfites that are found in wines as a result of the winemaking process. These products also improve the natural wine flavor by aerating it as you pour a glass. So it's a win-win situation. You receive a delicious, purified glass of wine without having to worry about the ugly side effects or the inconvenience of decanting. With PureWine products, you can ensure your migraine-affected loved ones feel cared for and can enjoy all your fantastic wine selections that will accompany your tasty recipes this holiday season.

Avoiding Migraines During the Holidays - Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you identify some of the most common culprits that can trigger migraines and how to avoid them.  You can now confidently make sure your holiday parties will be a migraine-free zone. Luckily, thanks to the wide selection of terrific wines in the marketplace and with the help of PureWine products, this doesn't mean that it also has to be an alcohol-free zone.


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