Sulfites in Wine Is Not The Reason For Your Headache
For most of us, the cause of a wine headache is simply drinking too much wine and not enough water. The simple solution is to monitor your consumption and to be sure to stay hydrated.
However, for a small section of our population, less than 1 percent, headaches from wine can occur even when we don’t drink a lot. So what causes these kinds of headaches and how can we avoid them?
Many people believe it is the sulfites in wine that cause their headache. This is a MYTH. Sulfites can cause asthma symptoms, but they do not cause headaches. However, there are three main culprits and solutions that can have an effect on headaches.
First, if you tend to get headaches after enjoying red wine, the culprit might be the tannins. Tannins are the naturally occurring compounds that come from the grape skins, stems, and seeds. Wines higher in tannins can often be noticed by the drying sensation of the mouth one sometime’s notices when drinking such wines. To avoid the headache you would need to avoid red wine.
Second, is the combination of alcohol and sugar. Our bodies require lots of water to help process these substances. When we allow ourselves to become dehydrated our body starts to pull the necessary water it needs from other parts of the body. This includes the head and as the liquid in our head is depleted, a headache forms. Avoid sweet wines, such as sweet Riesling, dessert wines and less expensive wines where producers add sugar during fermentation to boost alcohol levels or, in their opinion, to make a wine more enjoyable.
The third reason, histamines, has come from more recent research that has found that aged wines can cause our body to release histamines. This can create allergy-type symptoms such as a runny nose, dry eyes and a headache. So take a histamine blocker before enjoying that aged wine.
Do not fear sulfites. They are used for their antioxidant and antibacterial properties and play an important role in preventing oxidation and maintaining a wine’s freshness. But, they will not be the cause of your headache.