Keeping a Clear Mind

Our brains work best when they have the right nutrition and enough sleep and exercise. For some of us, however, our brains can be slowed down by frequent headaches even when we’re eating pretty well. Taking pain killers isn’t always the best solution for frequent headaches, according to the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (via the Daily Mail), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps that can help you fight off the impact. What you eat and what you don’t eat can make all the difference in the battle against headaches.

watermelon
Watermelon / Rafael Moreno / CC BY 2.0

Seek Out…

Carbohydrates

Uneven blood sugar is a common trigger for headaches sufferers. Choosing foods that keep your blood sugar steady over time will help reduce your risk of headache.

Found in: oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, quinoa, brown rice

Magnesium

This mineral can help relax the blood vessels in your brain, protecting them against the constriction that often causes headaches.

Found in: almonds, cashews, peas, black beans, sesame seeds

Potassium

If your headache is the result of dehydration, you may have lost crucial electrolytes as well which help your body regain the right hydration balance.

Found in: baked potatoes with skins on, bananas, white beans, dark leafy greens, salmon

Water

Good hydration is critical for both preventing headaches and recovering from them. Getting part of your liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables can also provide you with other nutrients that help restore you to good hydrations.

Found in: melons, cucumber, berries, papaya, pineapple, tomato

Beware…

Caffeine

Although a small amount of caffeine can increase the absorption rate of painkillers once a headache has begun, it is also a common headache trigger. Minimize your caffeine intake unless you’re fighting off a headache.

Found in: coffee, tea, colas, chocolate

Alcohol

If you’re tired or stressed, alcohol is more likely to act as a headache trigger. Take stock of how you’re feeling before you decide to have a drink with dinner.

Found in: wine, hard liquor, beer, hard cider

Tyramine

This compound is generally found in fermented or aged foods and causes our bodies to release dopamine and adrenaline. Too much, however, can trigger headaches for many people.

Found in: aged cheeses, chocolate, soy products, fermented foods, improperly stored leftovers

 

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