Headaches are a common complaint for many of people. Ranging from dull and throbbing to sharp and debilitating, they affect men and women, young and old. For some the cause is unknown, yet there are several factors that could be contributing to your headache.
Low serotonin levels: migraine headaches are influenced by serotonin levels, with those who suffer from them generally showing low levels of this important brain chemical. Increasing the production of serotonin is thought to be beneficial in the management of a migraine headache.
Oestrogen: for some women pregnancy is a natural antidote to migraines, with oestrogen thought to play a part in the onset of migraines. Menstruation and menopause often change women’s pattern of migraines.
Insufficient Magnesium: magnesium plays many essential roles in the body, one of which is involved in maintaining healthy nerve and muscle function. There are a large number of nerves and muscles surrounding the scalp and brain, and a headache or migraine can occur if they are not functioning properly. Studies show that people suffering from migraines in particular often have depleted magnesium stores.
A diet that works: Often food allergies and intolerances play a role, with certain foods exacerbating unpleasant symptoms. Foods such as chocolate, beer, cheese and wine contain histamine or other similar amines, which cause the blood vessel dilation seen in a migraine. For histamine-induced migraines, it’s recommended to avoid foods high in histamine and eat plenty of foods containing vitamin B6.
Thankfully, there are certain foods you can add to your diet to lower the risk of migraines and headaches and alleviate pain. Try eating the following five foods to improve your condition:
Wheatgerm: One of the best food sources of vitamin B6, wheatgerm helps regulate histamine release and therefore decrease the likelihood of histamine-related migraines. Add to a smoothie or sprinkle over fruit and yoghurt.
Garlic: adding garlic and onion to your diet will help keep the liver clean, allowing for efficient processing of toxins and reducing their systemic impact, such as the onset of migraines.
Oats: oats display a restorative action to the nervous system. As most migraines are precipitated by emotional stresses, eating oats will help to keep nerves intact, reducing the onset of many migraines.
Leafy greens: low-energy production has been implicated in the onset of migraines. To boost energy levels, include spinach, a good source of vitamin B2, in your diet. Similarly, try to eat more lettuce. Its high magnesium content helps keep blood vessel walls toned and less susceptible to the dilation seen in migraines.
Oily Fish: mackerel and salmon are full of essential fatty acids, which can help modulate the inflammatory pathways and therefore pain response associated with migraines. Fatty acids also help to increase serotonin production.
For a double-dose of anti-headache ingredients, try our tasty Salmon Rosti with Eggs & Creamed Spinach (pictured above)