Nov 292010

headache eat foodThough many diseases have been linked to how you eat, headache and diet is one that is very well documented. Although the headache and diet connection is not always understood, about half of migraineurs that are aware of something that triggers their migraines list a food trigger. Not only migraines, but various types of headaches seem to be triggered by foods, or lack of foods. Researchers believe food will fight headaches.

Believe it or not, certain foods may trigger headaches. The throbbing pain has ended for some people who took action, and changed their diets. It isn’t necessarily difficult; it’s just about finding which foods you need to avoid, and which ones you want to eat more of.

At the top of the list are two major culprits which are common in the American diet – wheat and dairy. These two foods account for numerous sensitivities, and their regular consumption can result in other food sensitivities. In this respect, an elimination diet can be quite simple. All foods containing these ingredients are removed from the diet for at least four to six weeks.

Other foods, especially those with nitrates, may contain triggers that constrict or dilate the blood vessels in the brain, and may result in a throbbing headache. Examples are aged cheeses, like cheddar and parmesan; cured meats, like hot dogs and ham; and I really, really hate to say this…chocolate. Don’t shoot the messenger!

An elimination diet is a valuable tool that can make the particular trigger much more obvious. In order to figure what foods (or perhaps activities) cause your headaches, keep a diary. Log the time, place, and what you just ate or did right before having the headache. After a time, a pattern may appear and you will be able to avoid the cause of your headache.

After the suggested period, you can begin to reintroduce the potential trigger foods into your diet, one food at a time. Wait for a week or two before adding another. That way you can more accurately determine the effect of a particular food on your headache pattern. After a period of elimination, these symptoms often occur immediately upon ingestion of the culprit food, or within the first 24 hours.

If your headaches increase after introducing a food, then you should assume it is a trigger and avoid it permanently. If the food does not result in any change in your headache pattern, you are not sensitive to it.

In the world of diet-headache-migraine cures, the best advice is simply to eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh, non-processed foods. That includes a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables. But here are a few specific foods that you may want to introduce into your diet that could cut down your pain:

Peppermint, Cayenne pepper, Ginger, Fish and fish oil, Foods rich in calcium (such as spinach, broccoli and kale), Foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, legumes, bran flakes, and any dark green leafy vegetables. Also include fruits, such as avocado, banana, mango, and papaya.

Of course, a healthy lifestyle certainly improves our ability to cope with pain and disease, even if it doesn’t completely eliminate it. If your headache is becoming too bothersome, a visit to the doctor is a good idea. It is sometimes necessary to have a food sensitivity test.

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