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11 Foods That Help Headaches (And The Ones You Should Avoid)

12/17/2015 05:09 EST | Updated 12/18/2015 06:59 EST
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Mature woman rubbing temples, close-up

No one headache is the same, but they're all equally a pain.

Lack of sleep, stress, weather, hormones, bright lights and certain types of food are all common triggers, but it can take time to figure out just what's causing your particular headache.

Registered dietitian, Nicole Osinga says your best bet is to track your headaches to try to identify and eliminate whatever is triggering them.

Since causes are usually either environmental or hormonal, a headache diary that takes note of whatever foods or medication you consumed around the same time can help uncover patterns. For example, you may find that monthly migraines are syncing up with your menstrual cycle, or nights you didn't get much rest.

Even without determining the exact cause, one way to be proactive is to keep a closer eye on the food you're eating.

soybeans

Diet plays a big part in plays a big part in boosting your immune system overall. Osinga says "60 to 80 per cent of your immune system is in your gut."

Food can both trigger and soothe headaches. You'll likely want to avoid caffeine, citrus, nuts, artificial sweeteners and MSG. Foods that contain tannin (red wine, red grapes, coffee, chocolate and some tea), tyramine (aged cheese, smoked or salted meat and soy sauce), and food that has sulfites and nitrites (processed meats and processed salads like potato salad) can all potentially affect you.

One fact that usually holds true from person-to-person is that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to migraines, specifically if you have a lack of magnesium, vitamin B2 and coenzyme Q10. The recommended daily intake of each of these vary based on age and gender, but adults need about 310 to 420 mg of magnesium and 1.1 to 1.3 mg of vitamin B2 every day.

If your headaches are severe, you may still need medication to manage the pain, Osinga says, but paying attention to food triggers and upping your daily intake of these vitamins and minerals can definitely help lower the frequency of migraines.

Here's a list of foods that are packed with magnesium, vitamin B2 and coenzyme Q10. Hopefully they'll ease your head pain — we're sending healing vibes.

11 Foods For Headaches