The topic has been a matter of controversy for some time. Some believe this is a result of the sulfites in the wine and according to experts, the culprits which cause the wine headache are actually tannins, histamines and sugar.
Tannins are antioxidants and naturally occurring compounds in grape skins, seeds and stems. They are the reason for that drying sensation in your mouth after a glug of wine and for many of us, tannins won’t cause headaches.
Some people are understood to be more susceptible to headaches from drinking tannin-rich red wine than others. Those who want to know if they are particularly susceptible to the tannins are advised to brew a tannin-rich tea bag for around 10 minutes before drinking. If it causes a headache, then it could be the tannins in the red wine and not just the alcohol which causes a headache.
The other cause of wine headaches is understood to be sugar. When alcohol and sugar mix, the body requires a lot of water to be able to process these substances. So if you’re not keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll likely suffer from a major headache.
The third culprit is histamines, the chemicals that are released when we have an allergic reaction and cause us to have a runny nose, dry eyes and a headache.
Recent research has found that food and drinks that have been aged, such as dry aged meats and red wines, can cause our body to release histamines and create these allergy-type symptoms. To prevent a histamine headache, simply take a histamine blocker prior to having a glass of red wine.
A little bit of honey in coffee can also help, as the fructose in it helps your body to process the alcohol faster.
So, the best way to avoid wine headaches, drink slowly and drink one glass of water for every glass of wine.
Drink sparingly and choose your wine wisely. Dry wines low in sugar will be less likely to give you a headache than dessert wines and avoid red wines if you suffer from tannin related headaches.