Most people will suffer from headaches from time to time, whether they’re dull, produce pulsing pain points or blast in with excruciating pounding. In fact, there are over 200 different types of headaches. When one hits, you probably head straight for the medicine cabinet or possibly hit the pharmacy in search of Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen or whatever your favorite general painkiller is. What you may not know is they if not used properly, you could just be putting yourself through more turmoil.
Luckily, there are lots of things you can include (or exclude) in your everyday diet that will help prevent many types of headaches. Here are three that you might want to keep in mind…
Take it Easy on the Salt
If you consume too much sodium, new research out of John Hopkins University shows that you’ll have a higher risk of developing tension headaches says MensHealth. Study participants consuming 3,500mg of sodium daily were roughly 25 percent more likely to have tension headaches as compared to those who only consumed 1,500mg.
The DASH diet – participants reaching max daily sodium levels on the lower tier while following this diet had even a less risk of developing headaches.
The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 1,500mg to 2,400mg per day.
Beware of Food Additives
Many foods today contain additives that could be dangerous for your health. More than you probably think. Some of them, including nitrites and some food colorings, are known for causing headaches. It’s not exactly clear why, though. WebMD says they might simply increase the amount of blood flowing to the brain, triggering them.
For help determining if food may contain risky additives, you can use the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s app: Chemical Cuisine (Appears to be only for Apple and linked at the bottom, but I’ve yet to find an Android version).
Get Enough Magnesium
Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of functions the human body needs to perform on a daily basis. And research shows that those who suffer from migraines, cluster headaches and menstrual migraines often don’t have enough magnesium in the body.
A study that took place in Germany revealed that participants who took 600mg of oral trimagnesium dicitrate dramatically reduced the frequency of their migraines as compared to those who took a placebo. Though taking the same 600mg in two smaller doses each day didn’t seem to have any effect.
But don’t think that means you need to run out and buy magnesium supplement, though. There are lots of foods that are great sources of magnesium, such as beans, nuts and seeds. If you can get your hands on some pumpkin seeds, you can get half you daily magnesium from just ¼ cup of them.
Try these methods if you suffer from frequent headaches and you might just be surprised at the outcome. If nothing seems to help though, the headaches may just be an effect from a more serious, underlying problem. BothaChiropractic says to especially seek medical attention if chronic headaches are accompanied by a rash, drowsiness or a fever.