Headaches often come from stress, though they can also occur from nutritional deficiencies,serious health issues, or even hormonal changes. If you’re suffering headaches frequently, especially around the same time of day, it’s likely due to your hormones, or could be from something you ate or drank earlier during the day. For example, some people find that foods and drinks with additives, MSG, artificial flavors, pesticides, chemicals, alcohol, or caffeine, (like too much coffee, energy drinks, tea, and chocolate) can all cause headaches. Other food-triggers include foods with sulfites, an additive often found in dried fruit, or foods with the substance known as tyramine, which includes wine, beer, citrus fruits, some soy foods, vinegar, chocolate, meat, and moldy foods like dairy cheese (which you’ll want to ditch anyway).
If you suffer headaches randomly, then it could be hormone-related but could also be a medical condition, in which you’ll need to see a health specialist as soon as possible to eliminate any more serious causes.
Otherwise, for the occasional headache that comes from stress or tension, consider eating some of these plant-based foods below that have specific nutrients that help relieve stress and relax the blood vessel walls. Tight blood vessel walls, especially in the temporal region, can cause cluster headaches on the side of the head. Eating and drinking foods that relax the blood vessels in this area will help alleviate pain and provide relief.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a rich source of magnesium, which can help prevent and treat headaches naturally. Leafy greens are also alkaline, which provides your body with an anti-inflammatory weapon. All greens count, so add them to your salads, smoothies, entrees, sandwiches, or make a nice glass of green juice first, and leave the aspirin to a very last minute resort method (if at all.)
Peppermint is a true medicinal food to love. It can be used in the form of an essential oil, as an herbal tea, or can be used fresh. It’s particularly helpful when applied topically on the sides of the temporal region, right alongside the eyes towards your scalp. However putting a tiny drop of oil into a tea, or even steeping some fresh leaves is another helpful method you can try as well. Peppermint oil is an ancient essential oil used to treat tension in all parts of the body from the head, all the way down to digestion.
Ginger root is an anti-inflammatory food just like peppermint. Ginger is known best for the digestive benefits it contains, which help relieve nausea, bloating, and irregularity. Ginger is also helpful for soothing other areas of the body, not just your tummy. It can be sliced and boiled to make a hot tea, which is especially warming and soothing. Just remove the ginger after it’s had time to set. Drink the tea whenever you feel a headache coming on or after you develop one., You can also enjoy bagged ginger tea sold at the store as a second option or even incorporate ginger root into your meals, such as in Curried Carrot Ginger and Orange Soup. It may help alleviate tight blood vessel walls due to its especially warming and soothing properties.
4. Mushrooms and Asparagus
These two veggies are rich in riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Research has shown that a deficiency in Vitamin B2 can cause migraine headaches, therefore eating foods that offer a good source of this nutrient may help relieve or prevent them naturally. Raw Asparagus Soup and Vegan Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto are both awesome dishes to enjoy when you feel a headache coming on, or you already have a headache and need something to soothe your pain.
5. Water-Rich Foods
Dehydration can also cause headaches, though you may not even realize you’re dehydrated. Eating dry foods, not drinking enough water, and having the cold or flu can also lead to dehydration. To prevent this, eat a diet of water-rich foods, which makes things easy and keeps you from having to chug as much water all day. Some especially water-rich foods include: melons, celery, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, apples, and lettuce, along with dishes like smoothies and soups. Of course, don’t forget to drink your water too- you can’t leave it out completely!
Basing your diet off clean, whole, unprocessed foods (namely veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains) offers a powerful punch towards fighting off headaches and other health woes including high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and even high blood sugar. Of course, the occasional piece of chocolate and cup of organic coffee is nice to enjoy too- just don’t overdo it!