A diet low in tyramine, substances formed by food fermentation, could reduce the risk of migraine episodes.
Migraine is one of the most powerful and disabling headaches known today. According to the Spanish Society of Neurology, in Spain alone there are more than five million people with this type of pain, and up to 1.5 million of them suffer it chronically. For its part, the World Health Organization already considers migraine one of the ten most disabling diseases. Treatments are not very effective at times, but preventive methods usually work relatively well.
Among these preventive methods, at the dietary level, the low tyramine diet could be a potential nutritional weapon to consider. It is currently unknown why migraines occur, but these substances would have been shown to play an important role in their development.
Low tyramine diet: what is its relationship with migraine?
Tyramines are substances capable of producing changes in blood vessels, which is why they are called "vasoactive". The problem is that they are naturally present in many foods, since they are substances that appear after fermentation processes. The exact mechanism by which tyramines can trigger a migraine is unknown, but it is speculated that there would be some increased sensitivity to them in individuals suffering from this type of headache.
Likewise, there are other substances to take into account, independently of the so-called low tyramine diet. Substances such as glutamate, caffeine or alcohol would also have been linked to migraine. In fact, there are substances rich in caffeine that, in turn, are rich in tyramine, so this would be a double problem.
Low Tyramine Diet: What Foods to Avoid
Tyramines are commonly found in small amounts in protein foods. And, the more these foods are aged or cured, the more concentration of tyramines there will be (since they are produced based on fermentation processes). Despite finding similar foods, their processing, storage and preparation can vary their concentration of tyramine. Likewise, it should be remembered that it is not possible to reduce the amount of tyramine in a food when cooking it.
Therefore, within a diet low in tyramine it would be necessary to eliminate foods related to fermentation processes, which can lead to a fairly extensive list, such as the one offered by the famous Mayo Clinic:
· Intense or aged cheeses: Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, Stilton, Gorgonzola or Camembert. In contrast, cheeses made with pasteurized milk (American, Cottage cheese, Ricotta, or farmhouse cheese and cream cheese) are less likely to contain tyramine. The fresh cheese would be the most acceptable within this type of diet.
· Cured, smoked, or processed meats.
· Canned or fermented foods.
· Sauces: Like soy sauce, fish sauce, miso, or teriyaki sauce.
· Soy, peas, beans and derived products.
· Dried or overripe fruits: Such as raisins, prunes, overripe bananas or overripe avocados.
· Pasta extracted from yeasts.
· Alcoholic beverages in general.
· Improperly stored or spoiled food.
For its part, the reasonable doubt in the face of a diet low in tyramine is: what protein products is it possible to eat? In addition to fresh cheese (if we are cheese lovers), there are other foods such as chickpeas (rich in carbohydrates, but also in protein). For its part, since bread is produced thanks to a fermentation process, we can choose to make homemade doughs with other ingredients such as oatmeal or sweet potato.
Likewise, fish in general escapes the list, so we can include it within this type of diet. The meat, for its part, can be included as long as it is fresh and without processing in between.
In conclusion, if we are objective, unless we have a weakness for specific foods like soy or strong cheeses, it is relatively easy to carry out a diet low in tyramines. In fact, this diet can have a healthy, varied and balanced base, since it is necessary to use fresh or barely processed products, always avoiding those that require smoking or fermentation. And, obviously, forgetting harmful substances such as alcohol. Although, for coffee lovers, it can be a complicated type of diet.