How to counteract tyramine?

In this article, we will answer the question “How to counteract tyramine?”, and what foods are rich in tyramine?

How to counteract tyramine?

Follow the guidelines mentioned below to limit or reduce your tyramine intake. A change of lifestyle or eating habits is the only way to keep tyramine intolerance in check.

  1. Do not store fresh produce for prolonged periods. Eat them while they are still fresh, ideally within 2 days of purchase.
  1. Make sure you read the label before buying any food or beverage. Look for any warning of the presence of tyramine.
  1. Omit spoiled, aged, fermented, or pickled foods from your diet altogether.
  1. Finish the canned or frozen foods, including produce, meats, poultry, and fish in one sitting. Do not eat their leftovers.
  1. Freeze the freshly bought fresh meats, poultry, and fish unless you are going to eat them the same day or thor purchase.
  1. Resist your urge to order takeouts or swing by drive-through because you cannot trust the storage practices of the manufacturer. 
  1. Steer clear of any tyramine-related myths such as “Cooking reduces the tyramine content of food”.
  1. Always thaw your frozen foods in the fridge overnight and not on the counter or at room temperature.

What is tyramine?

Consumers of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and people who often experience migraine headaches are familiar with tyramine. For those of you who don’t know, tyramine is the disintegration product of an amino acid known as tyrosine. It naturally occurs in some foods, plants,  and animals.

What does tyramine do?

To tackle tyramine, the adrenal glands release catecholamines in the bloodstream. These chemicals are released as a fight or flight response and perform the dual functions of hormones and neurotransmitters.

The three main catecholamines released by the kidneys are dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine. As a result of which, the consumer of tyramine experiences increased energy levels due to elevated heart rate and blood pressure.

The sudden blood pressure spike that results from the excessive consumption of tyramine-containing food can prove to be fatal.

When should I consider a tyramine-free diet?

If you are taking MAOIs, or and medications for depression or Parkinson’s disease, tyramine can build up in your body over time. 

High blood pressure lays the foundation of a hypertensive crisis, marked by an increased risk of heart stroke and death. If you have amine tolerance and you cannot digest tyramine or histamine, you may experience an allergy-like reaction after the consumption of tyramine-rich foods.

In amine intolerant individuals, the reaction to an excessive intake of tyramine may result in headaches, vomiting, nausea, and heart palpitations. If you are allergic to tyramine or currently taking MAOIs, consult your doctor when faced with any of the aforementioned symptoms.

Your doctor will prescribe you a tyramine-free or low-tyramine diet to control the intolerance. However, more research is needed to prove the authenticity and effectiveness of this diet in treating migraines.

What foods are high and low in tyramine?

The only way to prevent the buildup of tyramine in your body is to keep your tyramine intake in check. The only way to do this is by limiting your intake of tyramine-rich foods.

High-tyramine foods

Generally speaking, fermented, cured, aged, and spoiled foods are rich in tyramine. More specifically, the following groups of food are a reservoir of tyramine and should be avoided at all costs if you are tyramine sensitive.

  • strong or aged cheeses like feta, cheddar, camembert, blue cheese, swiss, or gorgonzola
  • cured or smoked meats or fish, such as sausage or salami
  • drinks such as tap or home-brewed beer, vermouth 
  • certain overripe fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, pineapple
  • some beans, such as fava or broad beans
  • some sauces or gravies like soy sauce, fish sauce, teriyaki sauce, yeast extract, or bouillon-based sauces
  • pickled products like sauerkraut
  • sourdough bread
  • fermented soy products like miso soup, bean curd, kimchi, or tempeh; some fermented forms of tofu such as “stinky tofu”

Moderate-tyramine foods

Some types of cheese like brie, Havarti, parmesan, American, and farmers have a lower tyramine content as compared to others.

Moreover, foods such as anchovies, wines, raspberries, and avocados also contain moderate amounts of tyramine. Consult your healthcare provider before including beer or any other alcoholic drink in your diet.

Low or no-tyramine foods

Fresh, frozen, and canned meats, including poultry and fish are categorized as low or no-tyramine foods.

Foods lower in tyramine include condiments such as Ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and bread, pasta, or grains. Most of the desserts and sweets are also low-tyramine foods.

Luncheon meats expect salami is a low-tyramine food. Dairy products like yogurt, cream cheese, fresh milk, soy cheese, soy milk, cottage cheese, etc contain tyramine in minute quantities. 


In this article, we answered the question “How to counteract tyramine?”, and what foods are rich in tyramine?