Why Does Red Wine Give Me A Headache Than White Wine?

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Red wine is an amazing drink that is very popular worldwide and in the USA. But it is not all about giving your taste buds the sweetness of grapes. Have you ever gulped a glass of red wine only to confront a throbbing headache? No, right? If yes, we have to talk about it.

red wine

Red wine is a wine variety made using dark-colored grape varieties. It mostly has a fruity, spicy flavor, but the taste can vary depending on the type of red wine. Apart from being a social drink, it adds flavor, aroma, and moisture to recipes. 

With these good points in mind, let us also talk about why red wine is now the most commonly reported alcohol that causes headaches. Is it the sulfites, the tannins, or something else entirely?

This article examines why red wine is more likely to cause headaches than white wine.

What Is Red Wine?

Red wine is a type of wine prepared using dark-colored grapes. These grapes are crushed and fermented with their skins and stems.

Red wine is deemed healthier than other wines primarily due to the presence of grape skins. Generally, red wine has a rich, sweet flavor, but it can be sour, bitter or spicy, or a blend of all three depending on the type of red wine.

Why Are More People Joining Red Wine Clubs?

There has been a recent increase in the popularity of red wine clubs due to the benefits of red wine. Red wine is full of great antioxidants, which can help to protect the body from cell damage.

It also contains resveratrol, a compound linked to several health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and dementia.

Red wine is also thought to have anti-aging properties because it can help improve the skin’s elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Red wine can indeed cause headaches, and there are also many reasons people choose to drink it.

What Causes Red Wine Headaches?

Many deem it a myth that sulfites and tannins in red wine cause headaches. Before we know for sure, let us find out what sulfites and tannins are.

What are Sulfites?

Sulfites are a common preservative found in both red and white wines. However, they are thought to be more likely to cause headaches in red wine drinkers because red wine is typically aged for longer than white wine.

This means there is more time for the sulfites to break down and release their chemicals into the drink. Red wine in the USA tends to have more sulfites than white wine. Some people can be more sensitive to sulfites than others.

So if you frequently get headaches after drinking red wine, it’s worth trying a bottle labeled “sulfite-free.” You may also want to avoid wines that have been aged in oak barrels, as these can also contribute to headaches.

What are Tannins?

Tannins are another possible culprit for why red wine causes more headaches than white wine. Tannins are in the skins and seeds of grapes, giving red wine its astringent taste. They can also cause headaches by constricting blood vessels in the brain.

So, whom should we blame for those nasty red wine headaches? The answer is histamines and tyramine.

What Are Tyramines and Histamines?

Tyramine is an amino acid that is obtained as a result of fermentation. It can mess up your blood pressure if not broken down properly. This can cause headaches.

If your body lacks the specific enzyme needed to process tyramine, tyramine constricts and dilates the blood vessels. This spikes the blood pressure causing headaches.

You are in for a real treat (not!) if you suffer from migraines since tyramine is a well-known trigger compound.

Histamines are also byproducts of the fermentation process. These compounds are released whenever there is an allergic reaction. Being sensitive to histamine can also contribute to inflammation and headaches.

Histamines are present more in red wine than in white wine, thus the name red wine headache. 

Other Factors Which Can Cause Red Wine Headache

Apart from the above-mentioned causes or the combination of all those causes, certain other factors can also contribute to red wine headaches.

Some of them are ingredients in the drink, stress, fatigue, the food you have consumed before, and whether or not you consumed wine on an empty or full stomach.

How To Get Rid Of Red Wine Headache?

Enjoyed a glass of red wine and banging your head against the wall? You are not alone. You can take a few steps to eliminate the red wine headache. 

  1. Choose to take a rest in a dark room by lying down. 
  2. Hydrate yourself – drink lots and lots of water.
  3. Eat foods rich in carbohydrates to boost the blood sugar levels in your body.
  4. You can take the help of a cool compress to mitigate the pain.
  5. Go for some coffee or any other caffeinated drink (without forgetting to drink water).
  6. You can also try eating ginseng, a herb known for its anti-inflammatory properties. 
  7. If nothing works out, go for over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen.

How To Avoid Red Wine Headache?

Now that you know what a red wine headache feels like, you sure don’t want history to repeat itself. Not to worry. The following steps will help you avoid red wine headaches.

  1. Enjoy small sips of wine, which are of superior quality, very slowly.
  2. Be mindful of the wine you enjoy. Some of the wines may have high levels of tyramine or histamines, which can cause headaches in a jiffy. Refrain from drinking these types of wine.
  3. Do not drink wine on an empty stomach.
  4. Water yourself all the time – that’s right. Staying hydrated reduced the occurrence of red wine headaches. For every glass of wine, drink an extra glass of water. Also, wait for an hour at least before drinking another glass of wine.
  5. If you have had red wine headaches before, it may be time to switch to wines devoid of chemicals and sugars.

Final Word

Red wine is immensely popular as a beverage due to its taste, flavor, and health benefits. However, it has become infamous these days owing to the headaches it causes after consumption. Many consider sulfites and tannins as not the major cause of headaches.

Rather, a combination of sulfites, tannins, histamines, tyramines, and various other factors can cause red wine headaches. The steps given to tackle red wine headaches should help you cheerfully attend the wine-tasting event next time!

So, if you’re looking for a delicious red wine to enjoy, check out some of the best wines from the USA, or join a red wine club and make new friends, but always remember to drink red wine in moderation and be aware of the potential for headaches.

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