Food is rarely the ultimate issue when it comes to headaches. That having been said, just about any chronic health problem is going to improve if you eat healthier. Also, there are certain foods that may create the circumstances in the body for more frequent and severe headaches to occur. Let’s take a look at 8 foods that you should definitely stay away from if you get headaches on a regular basis. Then we will consider a natural form of care that has helped many headache sufferers to find relief in case studies.
The 8 Worst Foods for People Who Get Headaches
Here are some dietary changes you may need to make if you suffer from headaches on a regular basis:
- Artificially sweetened foods and beverages – While there may not be a whole lot of research connecting diet sodas and other artificially sweetened products to headaches, there are a number of neurological symptoms that patients commonly complain about. Whether the headaches are actually connected to artificial sweeteners or not, the effects that they have on many other systems of the body cannot be ignored.
- Alcohol – We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a drink here and there in moderation. You just need to be careful not to overdo it. Alcohol dehydrates you, and a headache is often just the first symptom of dehydration. It is no wonder that people who overdrink wake up with a pounding headache. The alcohol quickly sends the body into a dehydrated state. Limit alcohol use and be sure to drink plenty of water if you are going to knock back one or two.
- Processed meats – The sheer length of time that you can keep processed meats like deli meats, hot dogs, and bacon in the fridge should be a clear warning sign that something unnatural has been done to the meat. In this case, companies add a ton of nitrites. Nitrites dilate the blood vessels which, in turn, affects things like blood pressure. That can lead to headaches and other issues.
- Foods containing MSG – MSG is a common flavor enhancer, before you say, “I don’t each Chinese food anyway,” it’s time to check the packaging on every processed food in the house. Everything from potato chips to prepackaged noodle meals may have MSG as an ingredient. While the reasons are not clearly known, it is well recognized that MSG can lead to headaches as well as digestive problems.
- Foods containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein – Here’s another thing you will have to check prepackaged goods for, especially if you have the reaction we noted above to MSG. While hydrolyzed vegetable protein is used as an alternative flavor enhancer to MSG, the fact is that it causes a chemical reaction in the body that creates MSG inside you. Oh, and if you are gluten sensitive, keep in mind that hydrolyzed vegetable protein often doesn’t come from vegetables at all. In fact, some companies have switched to calling it hydrolyzed plant protein, which is more accurate because it is made from various plants – like wheat!
- Aged cheeses – Certain aged cheeses contain a component called tyramine. This compound results in the blood vessels rapidly constricting and then expanding. The sudden fluctuation in blood flow can result in headaches or migraines.
- Gum chewing – Once again, this is all about moderation. Chewing gum doesn’t cause headaches in itself, but if you work your jaw for long periods of time, it can affect the neck muscles and cause the kind of tension that tension headaches were named after. So if you want to chew gum, just know that you should spit it out once the flavor is gone, which for most brands is just a few minutes.
- Fast food – This basically goes back to everything you’ve already read in this article. From containing flavor enhancers that cause headaches to preservatives that have the same effect, fast food represents just about everything that is bad for headache patients. Diet sodas, processed meats, and hydrolyzed oils are some of the things that people take in on a daily basis when they choose to eat at fast food restaurants.
A Better Way to Cope with Chronic Headaches
The fact is that the dietary changes noted above are going to benefit most people (although you should consult your physician before changing your diet just to be sure). But what if you already eat a healthy diet and you still get headaches? Is there any hope? We’d like to introduce you to a natural solution – upper cervical chiropractic care.
This subspecialty of chiropractic has been helping many patients to reduce the severity or frequency of their headaches. This is because upper cervical misalignments often create the conditions that cause headaches to start up in the first place. For example, an upper cervical misalignment may lead to changes in blood flow to the brain, affect brainstem function, or even lead to intracranial pressure by restricting the proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. While the changes are rarely significant enough to cause an immediate threat, they are also likely to go unnoticed if you don’t see someone who is specifically looking for such a misalignment.
Upper cervical chiropractors are trained to find C1 and C2 misalignments down to hundredths of a degree and to correct them with gentle precision. If you suffer from headaches, especially if you have any sort of history of head or neck trauma, upper cervical chiropractic may be the natural solution you’ve been looking for. Find a practitioner near you to learn more.
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