Headaches can be caused by many things, including illness, stress and lack of sleep. They may also be triggered by several common foods, and simply changing your diet could be the most effective treatment. Once you and your doctor have ruled out other potentially more serious causes for your headaches, take a look at what you eat every day and see if eliminating common trigger foods eliminates your headaches.
Here's how the Headache Prevention Diet can help:
• Dietary modifications that exclude common food triggers may help you pinpoint just what is causing your headaches. Although the list of potential food triggers is long (see the Dos and Don'ts section for a comprehensive list), the most common are chocolate, red wine, caffeine, MSG, Aspartame, cured meats, aged cheese, nuts, nitrate, sulfites, alcohol and ice cream. This diet excludes all common headache triggers, yet is still nutritionally balanced. Try following it for several weeks to see if it doesn't help reduce the number and severity of your headaches.
• Recent studies show that omega-three fatty acids, the kind found in fish oil, may help prevent migraines. This diet includes plenty of fish options that may reduce the frequency of your headaches.
• Caffeine, found in coffee, tea and colas, as well as more "hidden" sources like chocolate and some medications including Anacin, Excedrin and Actifed, can exacerbate headaches. This meal plan excludes foods that are high in caffeine and suggests alternatives (like herb tea and juices).