A great number of factors can trigger a headache or a migraine:
– improper diet
– not eating enough
– alcohol abuse
The only way to prevent headaches caused by a particular substance is to avoid that substance altogether. If eating in general seems to trigger your headaches, then it is almost certain that your diet us unbalanced.
Some headaches are caused by seemingly harmless, natural substances like tyramine, an amino acid present in certain foods, which acts as a powerful vasodilator. Foods that contain tyramine include:
– brewer’s yeast
– wild pheasant
– marinated herring
– cheese (roquefort, camembert, brie, emmenthal, gruyere, muenster, mozzarella)
– salami, sausages
– some wines (Sauterne, Chianti, Riesling, Port)
Strangely enough, many persons who suffer from migraines exhibit a pronounced craving for foods that contain tyramine or tyrosine.
– Chinese food often contains monosodium glutamate, another substance capable of triggering migraine headaches, often accompanied by a burning sensation in the neck, and chest pains similar to those which signal an impending heart attack.
– Some headaches, especially those which occur in the morning or towards the end of the afternoon, can be caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. Drinking a cup of sweetened coffee can help alleviate headache pain at such times: the sugar combats hypoglycemia, which always has an adverse effect on brain cells, while the caffeine accelerates heart beat and alleviates nervous tension in cerebral arteries, counteracting dilation and allowing blood vessels to return to their normal diameter.
Caffeine has long been known to enhance the effects of analgesic medicines (painkillers), which is why it is often included in their composition. Since cocoa contains both caffeine and sugar, it has the same therapeutic effect.
– Constipation can also cause headaches. The best way to treat constipation and improve intestinal transit is to make sure your diet contains enough fibre.
– An excess of Vitamin A can cause headaches. If you suspect this is the cause of your problem, decrease the number of Vitamin A-rich foods in your diet, especially fish liver, fat from dairy products and egg yolks.
– A Vitamin B6 deficiency is sometimes a cause of migraines. Large amounts of B6 are contained in whole and sprouted grains, whole grain bread, yeast, egg yolk, beef liver and soybean.
– A Vitamin C deficiency can also cause headaches. Good sources of Vitamin C are:
– citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, grapefruit)
– fresh vegetables (green pepper, parsley, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and potatoes).