This is a question I am asked more and more these days. For some people headaches are brought on from a long day at the office, yet for others it is the relish tray. Headaches occur for a multitude of reasons - illness, medications, stress, even our dietary choices.
THE BAD GUYS.
Common dietary triggers for headaches include:
- Red wine
- Aged cheese
- Certain beans
- Sour cream
- Cured meat
- Diet drinks
- Sugar substitutes
Each person is affected differently, meaning that while the artificial sweetener aspartame may spur one personâ€™s headaches, the next may only be affected by the sulfates in red wine. As you being to explore your food choices to spot the culprit of our pain it is essential to read through ingredient statements.
As you do so, watch out for ingredients such as:
- Monosodium glutamate
- Food colors
- Artificial flavors
While you might have heard caffeine can cause headaches, it may also cure them. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and as increased blood flow often causes headaches, caffeine may be the solution. In fact, many pain relievers include caffeine in their arsenal for that very reason! Typically headaches will only result from caffeine when a coffee addict quits cold turkey as the withdrawal symptoms may include headaches. In my opinion, the next time you feel a headache approaching, grab a steaming cup of black tea, green tea, or the classic cup of joe.
FOODS TO EAT.
Just as there are certain foods to avoid, there are also foods to enjoy more often. Thanks to the calming effects of magnesium this mineral has been found to slow down the pace of our hearts and ultimately blood flow preventing headaches.
To get more magnesium in your diet seek out:
- Pine nuts
It seems nearly anything that throws your body out of balance may cause headaches, including skipping meals and water so be sure to plan accordingly; drink water throughout the day and eat every 3-5 hours.
To identify the potential dietary cause of your headaches I encourage you to keep a diet record and write down everything you eat as well as your headaches. As you read the ingredient statements of your food packages, take note of any ingredients already linked with headaches as this will help you to narrow down your potential triggers. Eventually you may be able to identify a trend (ex: every time you eat processed lunch meat your head hurts within a few hours) and determine the true cause of your pain.