How you can Keep away from the Dreaded Pink Wine Headache

Two glasses of red wine on a rustic table in front of a charcuterie platter.
Natalia Van Doninck/Shutterstock

For many individuals, a glass of vino is concurrently a pleasant deal with and the bane of their existence. For those who’re acquainted with the all-too-common “red-wine headache,” right here’s what causes it, and how one can stop it.

What Causes Pink Wine Complications?

Though some wine complications are only a run-of-the-mill hangover, that’s not all the time the case. Some individuals expertise them very often every time they drink crimson wine—even in small portions. The phenomenon is so widespread, it’s also known as a crimson wine headache (RWH), and intensive analysis has been completed on the matter.

Sadly, no absolute trigger has been found, however a number of potential culprits have been recognized.


You may need heard that sulfites trigger RWHs, however that’s really extremely unlikely. Sulfites exist naturally in grapes, and, normally, they’re additionally added to wine as a preservative to increase its shelf life. Whereas roughly 1 % of the inhabitants is allergic to sulfites and have a response to them, these individuals are likely to expertise respiratory issues, not complications.

Nonetheless not satisfied? Nicely, take into account that white wine really incorporates extra sulfites than crimson. Additionally, meals like dried fruit and cured meats, and different drinks, like canned sodas, comprise even increased quantities of sulfites than white wine.

So, for those who don’t have complications once you drink white wine or canned soda, or once you eat the above-mentioned meals, sulfites aren’t accountable.


One other concept factors the finger at tannins. This compound is within the pores and skin on grapes. Tannins give crimson wine its bitter style and likewise trigger your mouth to really feel dry. Though tannins comprise antioxidant properties, additionally they stimulate the manufacturing of serotonin within the mind, which, in excessive doses, could cause complications.

Grape pores and skin isn’t used to supply white wine, so it is smart that the complications would solely happen after a number of glasses of crimson.

Nonetheless, excessive doses of tannins are additionally in tea, chocolate, and soy merchandise. Except you additionally end up working to the medication cupboard after you take pleasure in some chocolate or sip your favourite afternoon tea, chances are high one thing else is making your head damage.

Histamine and Tyramine

It’s been prompt that histamine and tyramine are probably the most possible culprits of RWHs. When somebody has an allergy, their physique naturally releases histamine when it’s triggered by the allergen. This causes irritation and the dilation of blood vessels, that are main precursors to complications.

Individuals who are likely to expertise RWHs extra usually may need an enzyme deficiency that forestalls their our bodies from efficiently metabolizing histamine, which leads to increased quantities of the compound of their blood. What’s worse is alcohol alone can improve the histamine degree within the physique. This implies the unfortunate of us who lack this much-useful enzyme can’t actually keep away from complications every time they drink alcohol. Life positive could be merciless generally.

One other potential offender is tyramine, which is a by-product of the fermentation course of. This amino acid constricts blood vessels and will increase blood stress, which typically results in a headache. People who find themselves susceptible to migraines have problem breaking it down.

As a result of different fermented merchandise even have excessive quantities of tyramine, these individuals in all probability additionally expertise complications once they eat issues like cheese, yogurt, yeast, and soy sauce, in addition to produce, like coconuts, avocadoes, and eggplants that are excessive in amino acids.

This isn’t the information wine and cheese lovers need to hear.

Tricks to Forestall Pink Wine Complications

A woman smelling a glass of red wine with her eyes closed.

Earlier than you pour the remainder of your loved one crimson wine down the drain and query the way you’ll go on residing, you may be happy to know which are methods you possibly can stop insufferable RWHs. Though none of those are assured to forestall your complications, they might enhance your vino expertise.

Earlier than you head out to your subsequent wine-tasting or feast, attempt a few of these preemptive strategies, so you possibly can hopefully keep away from an unsightly RWH:

  • Hydrate: Alcohol is a diuretic (that’s, it causes you to pee lots), which may result in dehydration, which may trigger a headache. Since crimson wine has increased alcohol content material than white, it’s crucial that you simply drink sufficient water. For each glass of wine, drink eight ounces of water.
  • Keep away from fermented meals: Sure, pairing cheese with wine is scrumptious, however it’s finest to keep away from it for those who’re consuming crimson wine attributable to its excessive histamine and tyramine content material. To reduce your probabilities of discomfort, go for non-fermented meals and snacks, as an alternative, and revel in your vino like royalty.
  • Keep away from sugar: No cheese or dessert? Sure, it sounds fairly grim. The issue is your physique wants a considerable amount of water to course of the mix of sugar and alcohol. When it doesn’t have sufficient water, your physique will begin depleting the much-needed fluid from different areas, like your head, which is able to finally trigger your head to ache. For those who don’t need to skip dessert or bread, go for a dry crimson, as they have an inclination to have much less sugar.
  • Persist with high-quality wines: Not solely do they style higher, however they’re additionally more healthy. Low-cost wines are likely to have extra alcohol, residual sugar, sulfur, and fining brokers, like gelatin, which all contribute to RWHs. This stuff are additionally extra prone to improve the discharge of prostaglandins in your physique, that are lipids linked to irritation and ache. Subsequent time you’re on the liquor retailer, chunk the bullet and seize that pricier crimson you’ve been eyeing ceaselessly—your checking account won’t thanks, however your head positive will.
  • Go for lighter reds: As a result of full-bodied wines comprise increased quantities of tannins, go for lighter reds that may style simply pretty much as good, however decrease your probabilities of getting a headache. Pinot Noir, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Rioja are all nice choices to contemplate. Attempt some totally different ones till you discover the one which works for you. Complications happen about 15 minutes after the primary couple of sips, so for those who’re nonetheless loving life after you’ve drunk half a glass, you recognize you’ve discovered the appropriate one.
  • Take an antihistamine or painkiller beforehand: Many individuals discover in the event that they take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen about an hour earlier than they drink crimson wine, they don’t get a headache later. Whereas this may be efficient, it may also be harmful. A few of these merchandise can have harmful negative effects, together with liver injury, once they’re mixed with alcohol. It’s all the time finest to do analysis or speak to your physician first.

Regardless of the painful aftertaste, it’s generally actually onerous to withstand an excellent glass of crimson wine. Whereas there’s no foolproof approach to keep away from RWHs, for those who take the appropriate preemptive step, it may help you in your quest to take pleasure in your crimson wine to the fullest. Bear in mind to remain hydrated and drink sparsely every time potential to attenuate your probabilities of getting an alcohol-related headache, or, even worse, a hangover.

With New 12 months’s Eve simply across the nook, it’s going to be onerous to observe this recommendation, however for those who take a look at out a number of the following tips beforehand, it’d provide you with a approach to welcome the brand new decade with a giant smile in your face—and no headache. Cheers!

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