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Top Foods and Other Issues That Are Giving You Headaches
What a pain in the….head. Millions of people suffer from headaches every day and for just as many reasons. Many people claim that certain foods seem to trigger headaches for them, while others claim that external causes, such as a change of seasons, is what causes their headache pain.
No matter how you look at it, nothing stinks more than having a headache. You can always reach for those expensive, chemical, over the counter pain killers, but why not stop the headache at its source? Once you know where it’s coming from, you can stop most headaches from ever getting started.
Keep a log of the things you eat each day and note the time when you get a headache. It might take a few days or even a few weeks, but hopefully you will begin to see a pattern between what you are eating, or situations you find yourself in, and when you get headaches. You can also try the elimination process in which you eliminate one type of food, such as dairy, for two weeks and see if that eliminates your headache problem.
Keep reading for a list of the most common headache triggers.
1. Fermented Foods
Although these are delicious, they give many people headaches. Steer clear of pickles, olives, soy sauce, sauerkraut, and teriyaki sauce for starters.
Believe it or not, the weather often gives people headaches. It’s different for many people, but common problems are higher humidity, and the beginnings of a storm as the air pressure drops. You can’t change the weather, but you can at least be prepared knowing what is coming.
If you are female you won’t be surprised to learn that your hormones are a major source of headaches, especially close to menstruation. You might find that you get more severe and more frequent headaches just before your period or during the first few days of your period.
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When used daily for long periods of time, caffeine can also cause headaches. Coffee contains a stimulant that can cause muscle tension in the form of anxiety, which brings on headaches. Coffee is also known to reduce blood flow to the brain. Try cutting back on the coffee until you can eliminate it altogether and see if this helps. Don’t stop cold turkey, however, as caffeine withdrawal is a major headache in itself.
5. Nitrate-Filled Meats
Although there are no studies that show processed meats cause headaches, many people say that they do. If you tend to eat a lot of hotdogs, bacon, sausage, or deli meats, you might find that you get more than your fair share of headaches. This is because these types of meats contain preservatives called nitrates, which do far more than trigger headaches; they also increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Find out more ugly truth meat industry hopes you never find out.
Although you might think of bananas as a sweet treat, they can trigger headaches, especially migraines, for those who are sensitive to tyramine. Studies show that those stringy white pieces of peel have about 10 times more tyramine than the banana itself, so if you are going to eat bananas, then be sure you peel them well.
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7. Lack of Sleep
If you aren’t getting your Z’s, you might be asking for a headache. Try to keep regular hours for sleeping and get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Read more about secret tips to sleep better.
Some headaches are caused by a lack of hydration and oxygenation to your brain. Beer and other alcoholic drinks cause dehydration. Beer is especially problematic, as it has high levels of CO2, which is another trigger. Cut back or cut out alcohol for a few weeks and see if the number of headaches you get diminishes.
SEE ALSO: 10 Types of Headaches and What to do About Them
This is another one that sounds yummy but might have you clutching your throbbing head later on. The International Headache Society recently showed research that cocoa can prevent migraine headaches, but many people list chocolate as one of their main headache triggers.
10. Aged Cheese
This is another one where there isn’t much research to go on, but which many people list as their headache trigger. Aged cheeses include cheeses such as cheddar, blue cheese, and provolone. All of these cheeses contain tyramine, an amino acid that occurs naturally and increases when foods are aged. The longer cheese ages, the more tyramine they contain.
Sometimes it’s food allergies or sensitivity that cause headaches, and chances are good that you might have more than one. Some of the most common food allergies or sensitivities are cane sugar, eggs, citrus fruit, yeast, corn, wheat, and cow’s milk. If you know you have issues with these foods, then eliminating these from your diet could go a long way towards stopping those annoying, painful headaches. Read also about foods that can relieve headaches.
Lancet 1979 May 5;1(8123):966-9
Cephalalgia 2010 Jul;30(7):829-37