Traditional monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) remain an important class of drugs for a variety of psychiatric conditions, including depressive illnesses, anxiety, and eating disorders. It was the objective of this study to refine the MAOI diet by determining the tyramine content of a variety of untested and "controversial" foods that continue to appear on MAOI diet-restricted food lists. A secondary objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of freshness on the tyramine content of some foods. Fifty-one food samples were evaluated for tyramine content by liquid chromatography. Food samples included a selection of sausages, beverages, sliced meat products, including chicken liver, and some fruits, including raspberries, bananas, and banana peels. Foods that were found to have dangerously high concentrations of tyramine (> or = 6 mg/serving) included chicken liver aged 9 days (63.84 mg/30 g), air-dried sausage (7.56 g/30 g), soy sauce (0.941 mg/ml), and sauerkraut (7.75 mg/250 g). Of the foods analyzed in this study, only those with high tyramine content per serving should continue to be absolutely restricted. All other foods are either safe for consumption or safe in moderation. The data provided should be combined with the data from other similar analytical studies to develop a list of foods that should be absolutely restricted. A more accurate list of restricted foods may enhance patient dietary compliance.