Spicy foods can make you dizzy

Pain-inducing foods How a chilli pepper led to a thunderbolt headache

US doctors issued a chilli warning after a young man admitted to the emergency room with an extreme headache. Previously, he was a participant in a chilli pepper meal contest.

From eating contests to vasoconstriction

The 34-year-old ate the "Carolina Reaper", in English "Carolina Reaper", one of the hottest chili peppers in the world. The result was an extremely severe headache for several days. Although they only lasted a few seconds, they were so violent that the man had himself taken to the hospital. Doctors also call this pain a thunderbolt headache. After several examinations, they diagnosed a reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, i.e. a temporary contraction of the vessels in the brain. Not all brain regions could be supplied with sufficient blood.

The young man will recover completely. Still, Dr. Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit before consuming such hot chili peppers and encouraged those affected to seek medical attention immediately should they experience such symptoms.

The nerve cells complain

Not only extremely spicy foods can trigger headaches, but extremely cold ones too. For example, if we eat a lot of ice cream very quickly, it can also lead to severe headaches, the so-called brain freeze. The reason for this are the temperature receptors on our palate. It reports "cold" to the brain, the blood vessels expand and press against the nerve cells. These in turn respond with a pain signal.

Coffee, cheese, headache

But there are also foods that do not rank in the world of extremes, but rather are our everyday companions and can still cause headaches. Especially people who are prone to migraines should be wary of them. For example, coffee can be a trigger - trigger - for headaches. This means that the pain actually only builds up when the body is no longer receiving caffeine. Migraine sufferers should therefore never suddenly reduce their coffee consumption to zero.

People who are histamine or tyramine intolerant should avoid foods such as aged cheese, wine, yeast, herring and, unfortunately, chocolate. Both substances are among the biogenic amines. In high concentrations they have a toxic effect and can trigger symptoms such as headache.

In the body, for example, histamine acts as a neurotransmitter that transmits stimuli from one nerve to the next. It becomes problematic when the histamine cannot be broken down properly. The enzymes diaminooxidase and histamine-N-methyltransferase are responsible for this. They are mainly formed in the lining of the intestine. The doctor can test you for histamine intolerance and certain substances such as zinc and vitamin C even help to support the breakdown of histamine.

Ready meals and processed foods that contain high levels of the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate can also be triggers for headaches. Glutamate is also one of the neurotransmitters that can cause nerve cells to become overexcited.

Food intolerance: Can be tested

People who have frequent headaches and cannot find an explanation for it should definitely ask their doctor for advice. This can test whether the patient suffers from an intolerance. In addition, elimination procedures can be used to find out which foods are tolerated and which are not. Then you have to weigh up whether the delicious chocolate is worth a violent headache attack.