Tuesday Ten: Foods That Fight Headaches

We’ve all been there before: It’s been a long day and as the mid-afternoon slump starts to roll around, you begin to feel a little pressure in between your temples. Soon pressure turns to pain and before you know it you have a splitting, downright awful headache. You think you ate enough and drank plenty of water, so you’re not sure how to find a cure that will get you through the rest of your busy day. That’s where I come in…

This scenario has happened to me more times than I would like. There are few things more frustrating than a headache that won’t go away. When I feel a migraine come along, I make sure to drink an entire glass of water to rule out dehydration. When that doesn’t help, I rely on 10 foods that help to relieve the pain.

Without further ado, here are 10 foods that fight headaches…

1. Cherries

I had always heard about cherries having headache-fighting properties and apparently it’s true. After doing a little research I discovered that this fruit has a compound called quercetin, which has strong anti-oxidant, anti-allergy, and anti-inflammatory properties. This compound helps your body to put up a shield that blocks sensitivity and pain. All you night to calm a headache or migraine are 20 tart cherries. You can also reap the benefits by sipping on a glass of cherry juice.

2. Coffee

You wouldn’t think your favorite vice could help headaches, but the caffeine in coffee helps to constrict blood vessels which provides headache relief, according to Livestrong. Just be careful—too much coffee can dehydrate you and make your headache worse.

3. Salmon
Lean protein like salmon will discourage a hunger headache because it gives you lasting energy throughout the day and stabilizes your blood sugar. Salmon comes chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the frequency, duration and severity of headaches, according to Joy Bauer. In fact, eating a high-sodium, processed meat like pepperoni or salami can actually make you dehydrated, thus making your headache worse. Load up on your B vitamins and reap the benefits of increased brain functioning by eating salmon twice a week.

4.  Whole Grains

FitSugar says that whole grains like millet and oatmeal contain magnesium and B vitamins, both of which will stop a headache in its tracks. I love making this vegetable millet recipe for lunch or dinner, and eating up the rest of the leftovers throughout the week.

5. Spinach
If you didn’t already know, spinach is a major super food and one of the best leafy greens you can put in your body. Not only does it clear up your skin and make your hair shiny, it battles headaches too. According to WebMD, vitamin B2 has a relaxing effect on your brain, which will ease any pain your body is going through. Make a spinach salad for lunch for a headache-free day.

6. Spicy Salsa

Spicy foods like salsa, hot peppers and siracha can help ease the pain of a sinus headache. The spiciness will clear your sinuse,s which will open your airways. This will alleviate pressure and calm your headache, according to Women’s Day. Who knew chips and salsa could be so helpful?

7. Corn

Healthy Living says that corn and other foods that are rich in vitamin B3- support blood vessel function and calm nerves. In turn, not having enough vitamin B3 in your diet can result in stress-related headaches. If you don’t like corn, try munching on beans, tomatoes, or potatoes.

8. Bananas

Let’s come full circle and talk about all the B vitamins. Vitamin B6 (just like B3 and B2) is a headache-fighting powerhouse. It is found in bananas, and it will help to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain, which acts as an anti-depressant. This will then lower the amount of pain your body is feeling. Studies have even shown that vitamin B6 fights mental fatigue too, so eat up!

9. Watermelon

Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of headaches.  The next time you’re hungry and have a headache, snack on a slice of watermelon before you pop a tylenol. Watermelon is a water-rich food, so it will immediately help to rehydrate your body. You can also blend this fruit into a smoothie or make a fruit salad with other hydrating fruits such as berries, cucumber and melon. (Women’s Day)

10. Flaxseed

Flaxseed are associated with many different health benefits because of their omega-3 fatty acids. These acids help to fight migraines, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties (FitSugar). Add a scoop of flaxseed to your overnight oats, or bake it into healthy treats like banana bread or flax carrot apple muffins…yum.

Before you stock up on these headache-fighting foods, it’s also important to know which foods may actually trigger headaches. Cheese, artificial sweeteners, processed meats and caffeine (if you’re not used to it or if you drink too much) are all foods that WebMD cites as headache triggers. So now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, I want to know…

Do you have any tricks for banishing headaches? (Advil doesn’t count!)

XO Lauren

Sources: FitSugar, WebMD, Healthy Living, LiveStrong, Woman’s Day, Bringing You Fitness, Livestrong, Joy Bauer