Whether they affect you every now and again, or pester you on a regular basis, headaches are never fun to deal with. We're here to help! Olivia Murphy from nutritional website Inner Me explains how you can cure your own head pain in five easy steps. Her guide is especially suited to those who don’t like to reach for painkillers.
1. Identify your Trigger Foods
Number one on Murphy's list is finding out which foods trigger a headache. Much like a migraine, certain foods are known to bring a headache on.
“The most common culprits are dairy products, chocolate, refined sugar, foods with MSG, gluten, and caffeinated drinks,” Murphy told Cover Media. “However, onions, citrus fruits, nuts, and nut butters (including peanuts—technically legumes), fermented or pickled foods, and cured meats can also cause headaches.
Aged cheese, smoked fish, red wine, figs, and some beans are also known as triggers thanks to the amino acid Tyramine.
Murphy suggests keeping a food diary to identify triggers, and also listening to your body. However, do not cut out certain foods because they work for a friend. Everyone is different, and learning your individual triggers can save you a lot of future pain.
2. Up your H2O
“Not drinking enough water is one of the most common causes of headaches,” Murphy said. Many experts believe headaches are caused by the blood vessels in your head becoming narrow in an attempt to regulate your body’s fluid levels. Dehydration caused by alcohol consumption plays a major role in hangover headaches too. Aim to drink 4-6 glasses of water a day, plus herbal teas where you can.
3. Move more
Getting your blood flowing can help prevent headaches, so it’s important to get up and move around throughout the day. Light stretching, even at your desk, can help too.
“Stretches will help prevent neck and shoulder pain that can cause a blockage of blood supply to your head and create a nagging headache,” Murphy pointed out.
4. Vitamin deficiency
Your headaches could actually be a symptom of anaemia, which is often caused by a lack of iron, B12 and vitamin C. Make sure your diet is varied and full of all food groups to get the maximum vitamins from your meals. Of course vegetarians and dairy intolerant folk can’t eat everything, so taking vitamin tablets is a smart option.
5. Bowel health
Those who suffer from poor digestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may skip meals in a bid to avoid bloating and nausea, but it could inadvertently be giving themselves a headache, as a drop in blood sugar levels can cause head pain. “Try taking a Probiotic to optimize absorption of nutrients in your gut,” Murphy advised.