Health & Wellness

6 Foods That Help With Headaches & Migraines

If you’ve ever suffered from a severe headache or migraine, you know you’ll try just about anything or some relief. But did you know that there are actually foods that help with headaches?

From stress-induced tension headaches to those resulting from eye strain, there are some natural remedies you can turn to in place of over-the-counter medications that contain side effects. So, let’s take a look at some of the top drinks and foods that help with headaches so you know where to turn the next time you feel a headache coming on.

 

Top 6 Drinks and Foods That Help with Headaches

Here are six of the best drinks and foods to help relieve headaches and migraines.

1. Berries

If you’re prone to migraines and are wondering if there’s a food that you could eat to help prevent or relieve them, consider adding more berries to your diet

Organic blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and especially blueberries are high in antioxidants, which have been shown to help relieve headaches and even migraines.

According to a study published in 2020, when adults who reported experiencing two to eight migraines per month over a year-long period supplemented with antioxidants, they experienced a significant decrease in average monthly migraine days, moderate to severe headache days, migraine duration, pain severity, and medication use. [1]

If you’re looking to add more berries to your diet, you can eat a handful as a snack or add them salads, smoothies, desserts, and more.

2. Peppermint tea

Another great natural option to help relieve a headache is to drink peppermint tea. And this remedy is especially useful for stress (tension) headaches.

You can recognize tension headaches because they feel like a tight band wrapped around your forehead and causes pressure around the sides of your head, in your eyes, and at the base of your neck. They last anywhere from half an hour to a week.

Fortunately, consuming peppermint is a great way to relieve tension head to get rid of headaches related to tension. And one of the most pleasant ways to do this is by drinking peppermint tea.

So, how effective is it? Studies have shown that peppermint can be as effective at relieving headaches as taking acetaminophen (more commonly known as Tylenol). [2]

If you suffer from frequent headaches, consider keeping peppermint tea in your pantry and brewing a cup the next time you feel stressed or feel a tension headache coming on.

3. Pumpkin seeds

We can’t discuss foods that help with headaches without mentioning pumpkin seeds. This food is rich in magnesium, with a one-ounce serving containing almost 170 mg, which is more than half the RDA for women and about 40 percent of the RDA for men. [3]

As you may recall, magnesium is an important mineral responsible for over 800 different essential roles within your body.

It helps maintain your heart rhythm, produces cellular energy for your body to build tissues and eliminate toxins, and even helps maintain regular muscle contraction.

But, most importantly for our current topic, magnesium actually helps to block the release of certain neurotransmitters in your brain that can trigger headaches and migraines. This means that when your body is low in magnesium, your nerve cells release more neurotransmitters, making you more prone to headaches.

Personally, I like to add a handful of pumpkin seeds to soups or salads, but they also make a great grab-and-go snack anytime. Plus, they’re rich in immune-supporting zinc, which is another bonus!

4. Sweet potatoes

Another great food that helps to relieve tension headaches is the sweet potato. Not only is it rich in vitamin B6, which is depleted during times of stress, but it’s also rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

In fact, according to a 2015 study, consuming vitamin B6 helped to reduce headache severity and duration. [4]

Interested in some creative ways to get more sweet potato into your diet? Try one of these: Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries, Sweet Potato Curry, and Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pears, and Parsnips.

5. Water

When it comes to drinks and foods that help with headaches, we have to talk about my very first go-to for relief: water

Believe it or not, dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches. Here’s why ….

In order to function properly, your body requires a certain amount of water and electrolytes. And any change in this balance can cause a headache. Additionally, if you have an underlying mineral deficiency or your intake is low, you’re at risk of becoming dehydrated.

Experiencing a headache is one of the most common symptoms of mild-to-moderate dehydration. This occurs because when your body is dehydrated, it can cause your brain to temporarily shrink or contract, pulling away from your skull and causing pain in what’s known as a dehydration headache.

You can help determine if your headache is caused by dehydration based on if you have any of the other signs of signs of dehydration such as feeling “fuzzy headed,” feeling like you’re “getting sick,” thirst, dry lips or mouth, flushed skin, irritability, muscle cramps, and sore throat and/or stuffy nose.

To combat dehydration, drink at least half your weight in ounces each day. So, a person who weighs 150 pounds needs at least 75 ounces daily. And if you’re experiencing an illness that is causing you to lose more body fluids, increase that amount.

Maintaining this regimen will help to prevent dehydration-induced headaches altogether!

6. Watermelon

Finally, while we’re on the subject of dehydration-induced headaches, it’s worth mentioning one of the top foods that help with headaches or this very reason: watermelons!

One of the most hydrating foods, due to its high-water content, watermelons are great to consume to help prevent dehydration headaches.

So, how effective is increasing your intake of water and water-rich foods?

Research has found that increasing your water intake is the best natural ways to get rid of headaches. In a 2005 study, researchers found that headache patients who consume more water reduced both the length of time they had headaches and the intensity of their headaches. [5]

 

Foods that help with headaches - Dr. Pingel

 

What Else Can You Do to Prevent and/or Relieve Headaches?

Because headaches tend to develop during periods of time when your body is under some sort of stress, it’s important to support your body’s stress response. You can begin to learn more about that here.

If you find that you’re regularly under stress and experience frequent headaches as a result, check out my book, Total Health Turnaround.

In that book, I break down the top causes of stress and provide a detailed plan to help you better support your body’s ability to manage it, which, in turn, will help to prevent a myriad of health problems, including headaches and migraines.

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