A really bad headache or migraine can completely ruin your day. However, you can fight back by just trying some foods that are known to help ease headaches. Go for the following nine headache-busting foods to help stop your head pain in its tracks.
1. Try Low-Fat Milk
According to the Mayo Clinic, even just mild dehydration can cause a headache. Skip high-sodium foods and alcohol to help keep yourself hydrated.
You’ll also want to add milk into your diet. It’s hydrating and has minerals such as potassium and calcium, which work to offset the high-sodium effect. Getting in your ideal dairy allotment per day, which is three cups per day for an adult, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may improve blood pressure and also lessen your diabetes and obesity risks.
Try to work dairy into your diet if you’re not getting what you need. For example, if you prefer oatmeal over cereal, use milk instead of water as the mixer when you make it.
2. Focus On Fatty Fish
B-vitamin rich food may help stave off migraines, as these vitamins, which include folic acid, B6 and B12, have been found to lessen the severity of attacks, according to the American Headache Society. Salmon, tuna and some other fatty fish are abundant in B vitamins, with just three ounces of salmon clocking in at more than 250 percent of your recommended daily B12 serving. These fatty fishes also have omega-3 acids, which are naturally anti-inflammatory.
Add some fatty fish to your diet, and be creative if you need it. Tuna can be added to salads, star as a wrap ingredient or even be added to dishes such as mayo-based pasta salads. Salmon, which is broiled, fried, smoked and even dried, can be used in a lot of ways. Smoked salmon, for example, can be the meat in your breakfast or part of a creamy pate.
3. Get Creative With Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes are high in potassium and water, making it a possible counterbalance for headaches related to sodium levels and dehydration. One medium-sized melon has around 66 mg of magnesium, which is around 16 percent of the recommended daily intake. According to Michigan State University, this fruit also may help lower blood pressure and reduce your stroke risk.
You can eat cantaloupe as is, minus its rind, or you can have a little fun with it. Try looking for some more interesting recipes on free online resources if you’re feeling adventurous. Options include cantaloupe soup, cantaloupe salads and a wide range of alcohol-free drinks, including infused waters and granitas.
4. Use Navy Beans
One cup of navy beans has more than 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of magnesium. This mineral is known as a headache-fighter because it can help with muscle contraction, including the contraction of those blood vessels that can cause a headache. WebMD also reports that magnesium can help prevent heart disease and other conditions.
Navy beans can be a side, in a soup or part of your chili. Substitute navy beans for other bean types for a quick and easy diet introduction.
5. Pick Some Potatoes
Potatoes are also full of potassium, which can help with headaches related to dehydration. A single potato with skin has about 25 percent of your recommended daily intake, and it has Vitamins A, B6 and C. Go with potato recipes that don’t involve adding butter and other fatty things if you’re also watching your weight. For example, you can boil potatoes and use salt for seasoning, or cut them and bake them for healthier French fries.
If you’re trying to avoid starch, go for a banana instead. Bananas have around 422 milligrams of potassium and a healthy dose of Vitamin B6. Add the fruits to other meals if you’re not a fan of eating bananas on their own. For instance, you can add banana slices to your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.
6. Call In The Cherries
In general, fruits have water in them, so they can help with headaches caused by dehydration. Cherries, however, also contain compounds which convert to nitric oxide in your blood and may help prevent headaches. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition also found that cherries fight inflammation in the body.Cherries are great on their own, but you can also mix them into other foods, such as yogurt or oatmeal, or add to your favorite salad as a topping.
7. Don’t Forget Water
While water’s not actually a food, it’s definitely an important part of your daily headache-fighting diet. You must stay hydrated, as that’s your first line of defense against headaches.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no hard and fast water amount to drink each day, as it varies by person. The rough guideline for fluid in general is 2.2 liters for women and 3 liters for men daily. Getting more water may be hard at first if you’re not a regular drinker, but it is worth it. Not only will you feel better if you’re hydrated, but it can also ease bloat brought on by dehydration-related water retention.
Get yourself a water bottle and carry it wherever you go, making a point of drinking at least one entire bottle while you’re at work or during your day. If you’re struggling with the lack of flavor, try adding sugar-free flavorings, which come in liquid and powder forms. You can also infuse the water with flavor yourself by using fruit. For strawberry water, for instance, you’d slice the amount of strawberries you want for taste – more fruit means more flavor – and add them to water in a pitcher. Leave the pitcher in your fridge at least six hours before using to give the fruit time to imbue the water.
8. Have A Cup Of Coffee
Coffee is a dual-edged sword when it comes to headaches. Caffeine can help boost the effect of pain relievers by as much as 40 percent, per WebMD, and it also reduces inflammation. But too much coffee can dehydrate you, and you can end up getting withdrawal symptoms, which include headaches, if your body gets used to the coffee’s caffeine but you stop drinking it.
Stick to the lowest amount of coffee that seems to help your headaches to avoid all of the potential pitfalls. Also keep a food diary, as some people may have caffeine as a migraine trigger, and that downside offsets its short-term benefits.
9. Say Hello To Spice
Spicy foods do have a surprising benefit: they can help with the pain of sinus headaches. If your headache is sinus-related, spicy food can help open airways and decrease congestion, relieving the pressure that is contributing to your headaches. Salsa and hot peppers are easy and quick foods to try for busting sinus pain.
Work with the different headache-busting foods above to discover what works the best for you. With any luck, you’ll be speeding into more pain-free days in no time!