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Diet Can Impact Migraine Pain

Headache and migraine research has been an ongoing effort, with many variables to factor. From sleep deprivation, to stress, and overexertion, the pain in your head could be a result of several things. New research has pointed out that what you eat may also impact the way that your head feels throughout the day. The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute recently published their findings on the subject in the Journal of Head and Face Pain.

The article pours over the importance that food and nutrients play in the body, particularly on head health, and how cutting things out or introducing new elements can impact pain. It isn’t always what you eat, but how much you eat it, how easily your body can digest it, and whether you have formed an addiction to it, that causes the headaches.

Additives in Fast Food

One of the major areas the study found a connection to headaches was in the additives found in fast food, and prepackaged food items at the grocery store. Among the worst culprits was MSG, a commonly known additive in Chinese foods, and other meals. Science Daily quotes UC Health physician, Martin, in saying: “Another trigger for migraine is MSG, which is a flavor enhancer used in a variety of processed foods, including frozen or canned foods, soups, international foods, snack foods, salad dressing, seasoning salts, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and heavily in Chinese cooking.”

Fortunately, you can still enjoy your favorite foods without the addition of MSG by looking for brands that don’t use the additive. If you do intend to eat foods with MSG, try not to make a habit of it, and monitor yourself for head pain following the interaction with the items.

Reactions and Hormones

For females, especially, it isn’t always the food you eat, but when you eat it that might trigger a headache. Headaches.org reports: “Many female headache sufferers are much more sensitive to headache triggers when they are premenstrual. Foods that may not bother you the week after your period may trigger headaches the week before your period.”

Unfortunately, this time of the month is also the time that women will feel the most cravings for foods that could trigger a headache. Sweets, and heavy carbs are a craving many women report during PMS. Monitor any changes to your eating habits during this time in your cycle, and write down what you have eaten before your headache occurred. This could help your doctor decode any triggers that are creeping into your diet.

Drinks Cause Headaches Too

It isn’t just what you eat that could be causing your head pain, there are several beverages that also trigger headaches and migraines, especially if they contain caffeine. Healthline writes: “Products that contain chocolate might trigger migraines for you, so consider avoiding hot chocolate, cocoa, and chocolate milk. Caffeine is another possible trigger, even when you consume it in small amounts, so you may need to limit your consumption of coffee and caffeinated tea. Be cautious about drinking alcoholic beverages as well, particularly beer, red wine, and sherry.”

Unfortunately, for those who enjoy a cup of coffee every morning, cutting out the caffeine can also have a negative effect on your body. Caffeine headaches are a common report for those who are weening themselves off a morning brew. Once your body becomes accustomed to a routine diet, altering it is potential for a headache.

If caffeinated drinks are becoming a problem, try to cut back before you cut them out completely. Allowing your body to get used to the change will be less of a shock, and cause less head pain in the long run. This is true of any food or beverage that you consume routinely, and are trying to refrain from.

If you are prone to chronic head pain, speak to your doctor about possible solutions. One such solution may be found through a nutritionist. Changing your diet can make a big difference to head health, but always speak to a medical professional before making any drastic changes to the way you eat. Be sure to include all the necessary vitamins and nutrients, and drink plenty of water. Hydration plays a large role in the health of your body, including treatment and recovery time of head pain.

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