Migraine Trigger Close-up: Watermelon

Watermelon is wonderful this time of year – sweet, juicy, and crunchy. If you can get watermelon that is cold, it is even better. Consuming watermelon is also great from a health standpoint. The vegetable contains lycopene which is said to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Unfortunately, migraine sufferers will likely experience increased migraine episodes, the riper the watermelon is.

After a certain period of time, sugars are broken down into alcohol and CO2. This process of decay also produces tyramine, a migraine sufferer’s worst nightmare. Several health websites, including those of some prominent Universities, state that watermelon is safe to eat for those of us with migraines. This is only true under certain conditions as the watermelon cannot be too ripe or unripe – it has to be perfect.

What do I mean by this?

When a watermelon is a pale shade of green or white, it is unripe. If you eat the watermelon at this stage, you experience an acidic taste. For migraine sufferers, the increase in acidity will likely cause a migraine headache.

Watermelon that is unripe


If the watermelon is too ripe, it develops dark red soft spots as in the picture shown below.



Watermelon that is too ripe

It will also have light pink/white indentations that may or may not contain seeds. It also tastes too sweet, with a slight bitter after taste. If you see any of these spots, throw the watermelon in the trash. The spots are indicating that the vegetable is high in tyramine. When you cut the watermelon in half, it should be the same pink color across. If it is too red, it is also a cause for concern. You also need to make sure that the inside is not bleeding out into the shell as shown below.


As I have written previously, cut the watermelon up immediately when you bring it home from the grocery store. If it is a large piece, only put as much as you are going to eat that same day and the day after. Place the rest of the chopped up pieces in a one or more zip lock bags and into the freezer. This will guarantee that each piece remains fresh.

Do not leave the watermelon out for anymore than two days if you suffer from migraines.

More importantly, do not follow any advice that says you can safely leave the watermelon out to ripen for two weeks if it is not ripe.

Instead, make sure you buy a watermelon that is as perfect as it can be and then refrigerate/freeze as necessary. This may or may not be easy to do in the beginning but you will learn and be thankful for it later on.

2 responses to Migraine Trigger Close-up: Watermelon

  1. Asaf

    Thank you so much for the information. I recently discovered that after eating watermelon I have migraine attacks, which made me search in google for it. I landed on your site and now it’s all comes clear to me…

  2. Tudy

    I just had water melon less than an hour ago and I suddenly started having this horrible headache. I usually have very bad migraine attacks so I decided to search in google if water Melon triggers migraine and your page was the first. Thank God I’m not a fan of water melon cause apart from the migraine, it also has a bad effect on my bowels. Thanks a lot you just saved my life :*

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