Most of us know what it’s like to get our day ruined by the misery and bad mood a headache can cause. A headache may be a result of various factors such as stress, muscular tension, dehydration, hypoglycemia, hormonal disorders, lack of sleep or even weather changes. As it is difficult to avoid some of these, we can make some of them disappear with simple nutritional changes.
Keep a journal
If you often suffer from headaches, it would be a good idea to write down your symptoms. Note down every little thing you eat and drink (even if you skip meals), and keep notes of everything that is happening in your life, as well as details for every ache you are experiencing.
After a few weeks you will be able to name some of the causes that trigger headache. A very common cause is hypoglycemia. When sugar levels in your blood drop below regular, the brain does not receive enough glucose in order to function regularly.
The body then reacts by sending more blood to the brain secreting at the same time hormones that increase blood pressure.
In order to fight this kind of headache, you should have more frequent meals. Choose meals rich in fibers and starch and you will be able to keep your sugar levels to a regular limit, preventing their dropping that causes headache.
If you tend to have a headache in the morning, eat something light as soon as you get up, when the sugar levels tend to be very low.
Food to blame
Keeping a journal could also help you notice if you have any problems with certain foods. Almost ¼ of the people who suffer from headaches have associated them with something they ate or drank, like for example red wine, chocolate, caffeine, cheese, aspartame and citrus fruit.
It is worth mentioning that some other foods combined with factors like stress, fatigue etc. can cause a headache attack.
Quite often chocolate is found guilty for headaches, but according to a recent research this is not always the case.
In fact, according to this research people who suffered from headaches observed some improvement in the symptoms when they ate chocolate rather than when they ate carbs.
For some people the craving for something sweet is a warning that a headache is on its way. However, it might be just a way for our body to show us that the sugar levels in our blood have dropped.
Since our brain is constituted by 80 % water, it is quite obvious that even the slightest dehydration can cause a headache. This also justifies why some people are more susceptible to headaches during the summer months or after exercise.
You should drink enough water in order to be hydrated at all times, especially when it is really hot and before, during and after exercise. This way you will greatly reduce the chances of getting a headache.
Besides water you could also drink juice, tea and anything else except coffee or alcohol, which contribute to dehydration because of their diuretic attributes.
Even though caffeine seems to be one of the most important causes of headaches, researches show that it can help you feel better regarding other symptoms.
In a research that was conducted by Chicago’s Diamond Headache Clinic, 3/4 of the participants mentioned that their pain was soothed faster when they took 200mg of caffeine instead of a painkiller.
Another research found that the combination of these two can have a greater analgesic action.
Don’t forget your vitamins
Magnesium and calcium are two very significant inorganic substances for muscle relaxation, so make sure you take the required daily amount so as to avoid headaches coming from muscular pain.
Increase your magnesium intake by eating whole meal cereal, green vegetables, nuts, seeds and seafood and your calcium intake by eating dairy products, fish that can be eaten with the bones, beans and dried fruit.
In an Australian research people who were suffering from headache and took a B12 vitamin supplement mentioned that they noticed great improvement in the frequency and intensity of the headaches.
B12 vitamin is important for the natural development and maintenance of the nervous tissue. Consume the required amount by eating more cereal for breakfast, fish, milk, yoghurt as well as yeast (for vegetarians).
Fatty fish is good for your headaches…
Studies conducted in the 1960’s which compared the number of people with migraines in different countries have shown that they were extremely rare to people of Greenland.
This added one more advantage to the theory supporting that omega-3 fat, which can be found in fish rich in fat like salmon, fresh tuna and mackerel, can prevent headaches.
In addition, by increasing the intake of omega-3 fat you will enjoy many more benefits regarding your health, so it’s worth a try.