Wine Headaches 101

Wine Headaches 101

You probably aren’t allergic to sulfites, so drink the wine!

Red wine has a bad reputation for dosing out some pretty bad headaches. Many blame sulfites and opt for “sulfite-free” or organic wines. Wine naturally contains sulfites, however, so the label actually means “no sulfites added.” Regardless, it is unlikely that sulfites cause wine headaches. Tyramine and tannins and the more likely culprits.

Tyramine (TIE-ruh-mean), a natural compound often caused by fermentation, is present in red wine. It is also present in foods such as aged cheeses, pickles, cured meat, and soy sauce. Tyramine may cause headaches by impacting blood vessels near the brain. 

Tannins, also found in black tea and dark chocolate, are mostly present in the skin and seeds of grapes. They contribute to the wine’s flavor and mouth-feel. Because red wine is fermented with the skin on, it has significantly more tannins than white wine. Tannins may cause wine headaches by releasing overwhelming amounts of serotonin at once.

To prevent wine headaches, drink more wine to build your tolerance.

Kidding…a little :) 

To prevent wine headaches, stay hydrated!!! Drink water before, during, and after drinking wine. Keep your metabolism active by moving your body. And don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat something nutritious, but preferably not something that will exacerbate your symptoms such as aged cheeses, pickles, cured meat, or soy sauce. Some suggest drinking caffeine as well, but caffeine is dehydrating just like alcohol, so drink wisely.

You may also want to take pain relievers that medical professionals suggest, or consume natural anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, leafy greens, and raw garlic.

What is your wine headache remedy?



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1 comment

Hydration is key. Also if you can stand up, do so! When you’re seated and stationary your body doesn’t have much to do so your metabolism slows (think about sleeping) and you’re on a fast train to hangover.

Sedale McCall

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