Headaches & migraines

  • 5 Jan 2009
  • Reading time 6 mins
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How to use optimum nutrition to solve painful headaches and migraines

The sugar connection

The first common cause of headaches and migraines is a blood sugar dip. Consequently, diabetics are more prone to headaches. When blood sugar concentration increases, your body tries to dilute the excess sugar concentration by triggering thirst, so you drink more water. If you ignore this signal, the combination of dehydration and blood sugar peaks and troughs can often trigger a headache. The solution is to eat a diet that keeps your blood sugar level even – and avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. This means never skipping breakfast, eating slow releasing carbs (such as wholegrains, brown rice, lentils and beans) with protein, and snacking on low glycemic index fruit, such as apples, strawberries and pears.

Hidden allergies

Another exceedingly common cause of headaches and migraines is hidden allergy. In fact, headaches are one of the most common symptoms of allergy. If you do suffer from headaches, it is very important to find out what you are allergic to. The most common offenders are wheat, gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats), dairy products, citrus foods, and yeast. A number of additives have also been found to trigger migraines, including caffeine, MSG and aspartame. I discovered that dairy products were one of my migraine triggers. For some people, cheese and chocolate are especially bad news.

Pollution and mobile phones

Some people find exhaust fumes or gas fumes can trigger a headache. Many years ago I used to commute by car into London, which involved an hour in heavy traffic. My headaches returned. However, if I went in by train, I was much less likely to get a headache. In the short-term it isn’t easy to change your exposure to things like exhaust fumes, but in the long-term, it’s worth considering such factors. For instance, if you ride your bicycle through traffic to work, try to find a less crowded route. Many people find they are more likely to get headaches when they use their mobile phones frequently. Nobody in the science community or the government seems to be able to make up their minds on the information about the link between mobile phones and health problems. Research is very conflicting, but there is some evidence that shows that antioxidants minimise the effects of the electromagnetic radiation you get from mobile ......

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