How to Combat Headaches With Food

Find out which foods to avoid — and which to eat — to avoid headaches.

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The Cause of Weekend Headaches (2:29)

The cause of headaches and dizziness are two things that are often searched for on the internet. At times, headaches and severe migraines can cause dizziness in addition to other symptoms like throbbing pain, sensitivity to light, and nausea. If you've ever experienced headaches or migraines and desperately want to get rid of them you should keep tabs on what you eat. Food isn't only important when it comes to weight, the foods you put in your body can adversely affect you,  causing headaches and other symptoms. Pain expert Dr. Yael Varnardo has a few tips to help you make the most out of your meals and avoid headaches and migraines. 

1. Eliminate Artificial Sweeteners 

Artificial sweeteners are the main triggers when it comes to headaches or migraines. These sweeteners lower the levels of dopamine and serotonin in our bodies — when those chemicals are at high levels they prevent headaches. It is in your best interest to avoid any foods that may contain artificial sweeteners. They can pop up in a lot of processed foods such as low-fat yogurt, coffee creamer, and jelly. Read the labels of the products you're purchasing to make sure you're buying things that are more natural. 

2. Limit Your Caffeine Intake

Habitual caffeine consumption causes a specific type of headache that Dr. Varnardo refers to as the "weekend headache" which is a result of changing sleeping, eating, and drinking coffee schedules on the weekend. If you drink coffee at the same times throughout the work week and then alter that on the weekends it could result in a major headache because your brain is expecting the caffeine at certain times and goes through withdrawals. 

While you should stick to a regulated schedule on the weekdays and weekends, you should also take steps to limit your caffeine intake and therefore limit the dependency on it. Dr. Varnardo suggests doing this by replacing 1/4 of your coffee every two days with decaf. So on day one, your cup will be 3/4 regular and 1/4 decaf, day 3 will be 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf, and so on. 

3. Eat Lots of Nutritious Foods 

While it goes without saying that fresh, healthy, natural foods are always the way to go when it comes to your health, making good food choices can also decrease your risk of migraines. Make sure your diet is filled with foods that don't contain preservatives. When your body gets the nutrients it needs, you will notice less negative symptoms in your body overall. 

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