Why are chocolate and cheeses such common triggers for migraines? Is it because of the tyramine?
It's the tyramine content as you rightly pointed out. The aspect of craving during stress could be an additional factor but the major culprit here is Tyramine
There are numerous papers on foods that appear to induce headaches. One recent paper (part 1) is Martin & Vij (2016).
It goes into detail into the major players in foods that induce headaches. Tyramine has a strange history with headaches, because originally, as Martin and Vij (2016) point out, people noticed that individuals on MAOI drugs who ate tyramine rich foods developed hypertensive headaches. When thinking about migraines, it's strange to think that a vasoconstrictor would induce a migraine, since triptans and caffeine are used to treat migraines.
However, this paradox leads to the thought that while the treatment of migraines may be vascular, the disease itself may be one of metabolism, as I mentioned in another migraine post and referenced Kokavec, A. (2016).
The question is a good one, and likely, as has been mentioned, tyramine may play a role in the answer. To your point, though, tyramine is only one of the biogenic amines. Histamine and phenylethylamine are also thought to play a role in headaches, which are also found in food we eat.
Kokavec, A. (2016). Migraine: A disorder of metabolism?. Medical hypotheses, 97, 117-130. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.10.029
Martin, V. T., & Vij, B. (2016). Diet and headache: part 1. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 56(9), 1543-1552. doi: 10.1111/head.12953
Some who suffer from migraines list chocolate as a possible trigger food. Some neurologists say it is a migraine trigger because it contains the amino acid tyramine. But the connection could be that women tend to crave chocolate during stress and hormonal changes, both of which also may trigger headaches.
While what triggers a migraine is different for everybody, the most common food culprits out there contain tyramine or phenylethylamine, two amino acids found in chocolate, aged or fermented cheese (including cheddar, blue, Brie, and all hard and “moldy” cheeses), soy foods, nuts, citrus fruits, and vinegar