When your temples pound so badly, your molars ache, you can’t accomplish much through the haze of pain. How can you prevent frequent headaches and get back to life?
One way involves changing your diet to include more of what your body needs to stave off the conditions causing the pain. Here are ten foods that help with headaches — start including more of them in your meal plan today.
1. Orange and Yellow Veggies
Carrots, yellow squash and bell peppers may all play vital roles in helping with headaches. These brightly colored fruits and veggies contain zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta-carotene and various flavonoids.
Zeaxanthin can help your eyes filter blue light from the sun and overhead fluorescent light that can trigger migraines in those affected. Additionally, these vegetables contain high levels of potassium, which helps to lower your blood pressure.
2. Deep, Leafy Greens
Deep, leafy greens like kale and swiss chard are nutritional powerhouses. They are chock-full of B-vitamins that keep your blood vessels pliable and blood pressure low.
Additionally, such vegetables contain healthy fiber that serves as prebiotics for your intestinal flora. These beneficial bacteria send signals to your brain, telling it what commands to carry out — like contracting arteries and veins, which can spur headaches.
Dehydration can lead to a pounding migraine, especially in hot weather. .Cucumbers contain a massive amount of water, which helps to replenish your body.
Additionally, these vegetables contain a ton of nutrients that benefit head pain. Try a few slices on sandwiches or in wraps. You can also make cucumber and melon water — it’s super-refreshing on a summer day.
One of the principal causes of headache are constricted blood vessels — it lies behind the stereotypical pounding you feel. Nitric oxide helps to dilate your veins, arteries and capillaries to prevent this constriction from causing you grief.
Cherries contain compounds that convert to nitric oxide in the blood. As a bonus, you reduce your blood pressure. Hypertension increases your risk of stroke and heart attack — lower your chances with this sweet treat.
Like cherries, beets also contain nitric oxide-producing compounds. Plus, they make an outstanding addition as a side or in a stew, like goulash.
You can prepare beets in several ways — roasting, steaming or boiling. You can also smash them into a puree to thicken soups and stews or add an interesting gravy to roasts.
6. Spicy Foods
Sometimes, your headache arises not from constricted blood vessels but rather stuffy sinus passages. However, using over-the-counter sprays can result in a rebound effect — and increased pain.
Instead, unclog stuffy sinuses by turning up the heat. Anyone who has ever dug into a southwest bowl of salsa knows that jalapeños and Manzanos can leave you sniffling like a fiend. Once you clear the gunk, your head pain should abate.
Migraines result from a phenomenon called cortical spreading depression. When this occurs, the blood vessels in your head constrict, then dilate in a wave. The result can include nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances and head pain to partial paralysis or unconsciousness in extreme cases.
Nuts contain healthy levels of magnesium, a vital mineral for controlling cortical spreading depression. Sprinkle a handful on your salads and add them to baked goods. You can also eat them plain as a substitute for less-healthy snacks like chips.
Like nuts, many seeds also contain considerable amounts of magnesium. Some, like sunflower seeds, also possess selenium, a mineral associated with lower depression risk. While your mood won’t cause a headache, it can make your existing misery seem worse.
Some seeds, like pepitas, also contain healthy levels of iron. Those who follow vegetarian and vegan lifestyles often lack adequate levels of this mineral, and these gems offer a cruelty-free source.
9. Fatty Fish
If you want to prevent headaches, make like a Catholic and embrace fish Friday — better yet, serve salmon more than once a week. The omega-3 fatty acids they contain can decrease your chances.
According to a National Institutes of Health study on those with migraines, researchers discovered that those who took one gram of omega-3’s over two months decreased their headache’s duration by 74%. Supplementation also reduced the frequency of episodes.
10. Carbonated Water
If you have chronic migraines, you know that pain isn’t the most debilitating symptom. However, nausea and vomiting associated with attacks can lay you flat or, at best, make your colleagues wonder why you keep running to the restroom.
Flatwater can make your nausea worse. However, carbonation might make it less challenging to stomach. You can find devices such as the Sodastream that can transform tap water into a sparkling beverage.
Eat More of These 10 Foods That Help With Headaches
If you are headache-prone, try eating more of these ten foods that help. With the right nutrition, you can decrease your agony and get back to work.