We've all been there: we're at the end of a long night, after drinking too much wine, and a severe headache begins to form. For most of us, the cause of a wine headache is simply drinking too much wine and not enough water. The simplest solution here is to always be aware of the amount of alcohol you consume and always stay hydrated.

However, for a small portion of our population, wine headaches can occur even when we don't drink much. So what causes these types of headaches and how can we avoid them?

There are three main culprits and solutions, but before we explain them, we want to clear up a myth: sulfites do not cause headaches. While sulfites can cause asthma symptoms, they do not cause headaches.

Guilty One – Tannins:

As we discussed in our post on tannins, tannins are natural compounds that exist within the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes. You experience the effect of tannins every time you drink a wine that creates a dry sensation in your mouth, and for most of us, tannins do not cause any headaches. In fact, tannins are a great source of antioxidants. But, if you seem to get wine headaches more often when drinking red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, you can do a quick test to see if tannins are the source of your headache problems. Brew a cup of black tea and let it steep for five to ten minutes longer than the package suggests. Black tea is strong in tannins and steeping the tea too much will ensure that they are all released into the water. Drink the tea and see if you get a headache. If so, you are susceptible to tannins and avoiding red wines will solve your headache problem.

Guilty two – Sugar:

Alcohol and sugar are two substances that when combined can create a powerful headache. When your body consumes alcohol or sugar, it needs a lot of water to help process the substances. If you are not well hydrated, your body begins to draw necessary water from other parts of your body, including your head. As the fluid in your head begins to run out, a headache forms. To prevent this problem, avoid sweet dessert wines and white wines like Riesling that are labeled semi-dry or sweet (if you like Riesling but don't want the sugar headache). , make sure the wine is labeled dry). Cheaper wines should also be avoided, which tend to have more sugar due to the fact that mass producers add sugar during fermentation to increase the alcohol.

Guilty Three – Histamines:

Histamines are chemicals that are released when we have an allergic reaction and can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, dry eyes, and headache. Recent research has found that foods and drinks that have been aged, such as dried meats and red wines, can cause our body to release histamines and create these allergic-type symptoms. To prevent a histamine headache, simply take a histamine blocker like Claritin before having a glass of red wine.

Again: for most of us, the cause of a wine headache is simply drinking too much wine and not enough water. The mythical cure for wine headaches? It's simple: the cure for a wine headache is to stop it before it starts. In other words, don't go overboard... especially at an office party!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Latest Stories

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.