Everybody gets a headache once in a while. If you’re looking to prevent headaches from even happening in the first place, it’s time to analyze your diet. What you eat could be triggering your headaches and/or making them more frequent.

By taking a closer look at your diet, you can adapt headache-friendly foods and cut out certain triggers. Let’s take a bite out of your next headache.

Nix Processed Foods

Let’s first talk about what foods may be triggering your headaches. Generally speaking, processed foods are packed with compounds that can trigger headaches. A good first step is to eliminate processed foods from your diet and opt for whole, natural foods instead. Common triggers in processed foods include:

● Sodium
● Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
● Artificial sweeteners (aspartame)
● Nitrites

Anything that is processed, or that uses processed sauces or broths, could have these compounds. In particular, MSG has been proven to cause headaches in multiple studies. Remember that MSG-loaded foods can be frozen, canned or packaged. In general, try to phase out consumption of breakfast cereal, potato chips, microwave-ready meals, cold cuts, salad dressings, packaged cookies, and soft drinks. These are common culprits when it comes to MSG.

Keep a Food Diary

Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s causing your headache. If you’re suffering from migraines, it’s a good idea to keep a food diary. On a daily basis, write down what you eat and if you experience a headache. In this way, you’ll be able to determine what foods may be triggering them. In addition, this is an excellent way to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and not missing any important food groups. In your diary, you can also note what foods make you feel good - this will help you stay healthy and energized!

Top 6 Headache-Friendly Foods

Now let’s turn to good news and talk about the foods you can and should eat. These foods have properties to help soothe and prevent headaches. By cutting out triggers and incorporating these headache-friendly foods, you’ll be well on your way to preventing your next headache.

While we’ve only selected 6 foods, you can also adapt to other foods which headache-friendly properties. Recent studies suggest that foods and/or supplements that include these vitamins and nutrients can help prevent headaches:

● Magnesium
● Petasites hybridus
● Feverfew
● Coenzyme Q10
● Riboflavin
● Alpha lipoic acid

Now let’s take a look at our top 6 picks for getting these important vitamins and nutrients.

  1. Salmon is a great alternative to meat, which often triggers headaches. It also includes omega-3 which is a known anti-inflammatory agent. Besides omega-3, salmon is rich in vitamin B and riboflavin, which is known to help prevent headaches in recent studies.
  2. Sweet potatoes are known as a “pain-free” food. Overall, they’re loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds, including vitamin C, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid, niacin, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and phosphorus.
  3. Leafy greens are king when it comes to headache prevention. Try eating kale or spinach regularly to get important nutrients, including magnesium, omega-3, and fiber.
  4. Quinoa is a great alternative to pasta and rice. In fact, because it’s a seed and not a grain, it’s an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, and folates. These are all great nutrients for preventing headaches.
  5. Watermelon can help you stay hydrated. Water is a key element to headache reduction. Studies show that being dehydrated can cause headaches and that drinking water reduced headaches in 47% of patients after drinking more water daily. Watermelon can help you boost your hydration.
  6. Mushrooms are a great source of riboflavin, which may help prevent headaches. Try incorporating mushrooms in order to get this key nutrient. You may also try almonds, which are loaded with riboflavin as well.

By incorporating these headache-friendly foods and thinking carefully about your diet, you’re sure to prevent headaches in the future. However, if you continue to suffer from migraines or headaches, consult a chiropractor near you. An expert chiropractor - such as our Juneau clinic, Better Health Chiropractor - will look holistically at your health and try to determine specific triggers, as well as adjustments that may benefit your body.

We hope these diets do’s and don’ts will help you stay headache-free!

About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Well, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.

Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.