Three reasons wine can give you a headache — and sulfites aren’t one of them


Hey all,

Here is a list of things that gives me headaches:

  • My mother
  • Stress — see above
  • Crying a.k.a. dehydration
  • Loud music
  • Screaming babies
  • Trying to win my FitBit Challenges and running out of water, again, dehydration
  • Drinking too much

Sulfites, my friends, do not give you a headache.

Sulfites are a naturally occurring substance in all wine, and it is a by-product of fermentation. In fact, sulfites occur in a lot of foods like dried fruits, shrimp, maple syrup and mushrooms. They are also an antioxidant and preservative.

Water: The number one reason people get headaches from wine is because they are dehydrated — as you can tell from my list above. A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water between every glass of wine. This also keeps red lips stains at bay.

Tannins: Tannins give you the dry taste in your mouth and are from grape skins, stems, and seeds. Most people don’t get headaches from tannins, this compound is actually an antioxidant. If you are sensitive to tannins then stay away from malbecs and cab savs. Vinepair gave me a great tip to check if you are getting headaches from tannins: steep black tea for about ten minutes. Drink it and see if you get a headache. If you get a headache from it then stick to wine without tannins, and make sure you are hydrated.

Sugar: Alcohol + sugar = headache city. When you aren’t hydrated — I’m seeing a theme here — your body takes water from other parts of the body, like your head. This is also why you feel so skinny after a long night of drinking wine and no water. It’s also a great time to trick yourself and your FitBit into thinking you lost weight. Sweet white wines and white zins have more sugar, so you have a higher chance of a getting a headache.

Histamines: Sulfites can also cause asthma symptoms. Histamines are chemicals released when you have an allergic reaction. About 1% of people have an allergy to sulfites. If you are one of these people, I acknowledge that sulfites might actually give you headaches, but there you are the exception to the rule!



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