What is Tyramine?

Tyramine is a naturally occurring substance in foods

Tyramine is produced in foods with the natural breakdown of the amino acid tyrosine(1). It is thought to cause the dilation and contraction of blood vessels. In other words, as high protein food ages in your refrigerator, tyramine is produced. This is particularly  important for people prone to migraines since high levels of tyramine can be a significant migraine trigger.

For example, aged cheese has extremely high levels of tyramine since it has aged for a very long time. I generally do not eat refrigerated food after three days. If I know that it is going to take me more than three days to finish a dish, I put it in the freezer.

how do you limit tyramine?

It can be difficult to cut back on certain items that are high in tyramine, like red wine and that parmesan cheese but it is the only way if you want to minimize your migraine episodes. However, you need to make sure that you do not take other offending items at the same time.

A personal example

I had made too much beef stew when we were only two people eating. Obviously, the result was a lot of leftovers which went into the refrigerator. I ate the leftovers for three days without any issues. However, on day four, I developed a migraine and I now know that I did a couple of things wrong. First, I should not have made so much food since we were only two people eating. Second, given the large amount, I should have portioned off the stew in Tupperware and placed the containers in the freezer. This way I could enjoy the stew after several weeks and would not have to worry about headaches or growing bored by eating the same dish every day.

Below you will find some of the foods and drinks with the highest concentration of tyramine

  • Beer
  • Red wine
  • Ale
  • Homemade bread
  • Cheese
  • Salami
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Bananas
  • Red plums
  • Avocados
  • Fava Beans
  • Commercial Gravies
  • Eggplant
  • Pickled foods
  • Liver
  • Dry sausage
  • Canned Meats
  • Chocolate
  • Soy Sauce

(1) NATIONAL HEADACHE FOUNDATION, ”Low Tyramine Headache Diet*”, http://www.headaches.org

One response to What is Tyramine?

  1. D Harvey

    Thank you for this information. Is it possible that the same can be said for elevating of blood pressure? I’ve noticed both a headache and elevation of my blood pressure after eating watermelon…

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