Written by Csaba Sziklai
Seldom do we think about our lifestyle and diet when we get a headache. Instead, we turn to drugs and await the next pound in the head. All the studies to date, however, show how important lifestyle is when it comes to managing, treating, and permanently curing headaches. If you can reduce sources of inflammation (lose the extra weight, eliminate gluten, go low-carb and high good fat, and maintain healthy blood sugar balance), you can target and control headaches.
The idea that we can treat—and in some cases, totally eliminate—common neurological ailments through diet alone is empowering. Most people immediately turn to drugs when seeking a solution, oblivious to the cure that awaits them in a few lifestyle shifts that are highly practical and absolutely free.
Numerous things can trigger a headache. I cannot possibly list all of the potential offenders, but I can offer a few tips to end the suffering:
Drink when you wake up, drink at home, drink at work, drink before your training, during that and after too! The main reason of the most of the headaches is dehydration. More to it, the dehydrated body’s muscles are stiffer so they have much more chance for any injuries during any activities. On the other hand, the most important part of this topic: what kind of liquid do you have to drink? The best solution clean water. Of course you may drink coffee, tea, or other drinks that link to your trainings– pre-workout drinks, amino acid mixes, protein shakes, etc., to make it more efficient. But when you can choose between drinking coke, soda, fruit juices and water, the right choice is simple – water.
Keep a very strict sleep-wake cycle. This is key to regulating your body’s hormones and maintaining homeostasis— the body’s preferred state of being, where its physiology is balanced. So you have to pay attention to rest your body and sleep enough!
Lose that unnecessary fat
The more you weigh, the more likely it is that you’ll suffer from headaches. Moreover, it causes not only headaches, but a lot more unnecessary work/burden to your joints – it’s not an accidental thing that most of the overweight people have ankle and knee problems. And not just the joints, the whole body is suffering under the overweight, it causes much more trouble (with your internal organs) inside than what you can see outside.
Walk, breathe some fresh air every day, and do some sport to maintain your body. Sitting all day helps to gain some fat, decrease your immune system, switch your body to a lower level and remaining sedentary breeds inflammation. You must know: doing any sports (from running to weight lifting) trains your brain too, not just your muscles!
Watch caffeine and alcohol consumption
Each of these in excess can stimulate a headache. On the other hand these cause dehydration and you know its effects to your body!
Don’t skip meals or keep erratic eating habits
As with sleep, your eating patterns control many hormonal processes that can affect your risk for a headache.
Manage emotional stress, anxiety, worry, and even excitement. These emotions are among the most common triggers of headaches. Migraine sufferers are generally sensitive to stressful events, which prompt the release of certain chemicals in the brain that can provoke vascular changes and cause a migraine. Adding insult to injury, emotions such as anxiety and worry can increase muscle tension and dilate blood vessels.
Go preservative-, additive-, and processed-free. The low-glycaemic, low-carb, high–healthy-fat diet will go a long way to reducing your risk for headaches. Be especially careful about aged cheese, cured meats, and sources of monosodium glutamate (MSG, commonly found in Chinese food), as these ingredients may be responsible for triggering up to 30 % of migraines.
Listen to your body
Track the patterns in your headache experience. It helps to know when you’re at a greater risk of getting one so you can pay extra attention during those times. Women, for example, can often trace patterns around their menstrual cycle. If you can define your patterns, you can better understand your unique headache and act accordingly.
Finally my favourite rapid therapy: Make a room quiet and dark, lie down and massage your temple with a gentle circular movement. You may improve the effect with two drops of peppermint essential oil. Of course, for the best massage experience look for a professional massage therapist.
If you pay attention to all of these tips, I guarantee that your whole life is going to be better, healthier, without any frustrating headaches! Good luck with your endurance!
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.