Those who are looking for an alternative to over-the-counter pain medication would be happy to know that there’s another way to take care of that pesky headache. While a lot of headaches people experience are triggered by the food they eat, food can also be the solution to that pounding headache. Here are just some of the food items you should be looking for when headaches begin to strike.
1. Water and water-rich fruits. Plain and simple. Water replenishes lost fluids and prevents dehydration which is one of the causes of headaches. Drink lots of water before and after consuming alcohol to reduce the intensity or prevent hangover headaches altogether. Eating a slice of watermelon or other fruits with high water content also has the same effect.
2. Caffeine. Some people’s headaches are triggered by caffeine, but if a cup of coffee doesn’t cause your headache, you may want to try it to reduce or stop the pain. Caffeine is known to constrict blood vessels, so if you’re suffering from a headache caused by dilated blood vessels in the head, a cup of coffee could help bring relief. Be careful though, caffeine is also known to be a diuretic, so take it in moderation and don’t forget to drink water to replenish lost fluids.
3. Magnesium-rich foods. Tension in the blood vessels can trigger a headache and the magnesium found in foods such as almonds, apricots, bananas, cashews, and avocados can help relax the tense blood vessels and reduce the pain of the headache.
4. Spice it Up. Sinus headaches are usually caused by nasal and sinus congestion. Eating spicy foods can help clear the airways and decongest the nasal or sinus passages, and in effect, reduce the facial pain and headaches people feel.
5. Foods with Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe headaches. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. These essential oils are also found in flaxseed oil.
6. Potassium-rich foods. When we get dehydrated, we lose more than water. We also lose valuable electrolytes that help keep our bodies hydrated. Potassium is one of those electrolytes we lose after a night of drinking which is why we need to replenish our body’s supply of potassium and other electrolytes to help relieve the symptoms of a hangover headache. Potatoes, especially the skin, are rich in potassium. Have a baked potato when you’re experiencing a hangover and feel the pain begin to dissipate.
7. Milk, yogurt and other foods rich in calcium. There are times when a headache means your body is low in calcium. When this happens, try drinking a glass of milk or eat some yogurt to alleviate the pain. Be careful, however, as some calcium-rich foods such as aged cheese can trigger a migraine.
Eating headache-fighting foods is a good way to get rid of that annoying headache, but before you get snacking, you must first identify which foods trigger your headaches in order to avoid making matters worse instead of helping relieve the pain.