Vital substances work against migraines and tension headaches
It throbs, it hammers, it stings: 18 million people in Germany suffer from migraines, and over 20 million have tension headaches on a regular basis. And around 35 million adults fight at least occasionally against pain attacks in the head. There are many causes of migraines and tension headaches. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: in addition to predisposition and lifestyle, diet also plays an important role, and not just in migraines. Therefore, the right knowledge about nutrition in headaches is a great opportunity for sufferers. Here are the most important tips from current research. (Source: DMKG )
If you are unsure whether certain foods are related to migraines or “normal” headaches, it is best to keep a food diary.
Important entries are: When did I have a headache? How strong? What did I eat and drink up to four hours before the pain attack? In this way, you can track down possible triggers, especially for migraines, but often also for other types of headaches.
The main suspects here are too much coffee, sugar, mature cheese, red wine, smoked meat, pickled fish – and the flavor enhancer glutamate in ready meals, packet soups, and fast food. Also, avoid nitrates. They are mainly found in sausages, small sausages, preserved meat, and sausage products.
According to new studies, animal fats also play a role: an increased fatty acid level in the blood makes certain blood cells fatty, and this hinders the formation of the happiness hormone serotonin in the brain, which has a pain-relieving effect.
This is also important: the frequency and severity of migraines and headaches can generally be significantly reduced with a regular daily rhythm. This is especially true when it comes to meals. Nothing is as damaging to a headache-prone person as skipping a meal – starving irritates your brain.
Researchers discovered that if you eat something every two hours, you avoid a loss of energy in the brain cells, to which they often react with pain.
This has also been researched in detail: Even two percent too little liquid in the body weakens concentration. If the deficiency is only slightly larger, the brain already reacts with susceptibility to pain. When the headache starts varies from person to person. But they all have one thing in common: if the fluid balance is right, headaches are a rarity. According to research, we need 35 milliliters of water for every kilogram of body weight. If you weigh 60 kilos, you need 2.1 liters a day.
Mineral water is good (best to have at hand, e.g. in the kitchen, on the desk), and unsweetened fruit teas. This also includes up to four cups of coffee a day, as well as fruit, vegetables, milk, yogurt, quark, and cream cheese.
It is best to steam hot dishes. In this way, important vital substances are retained against headaches, e.g. B. the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Also helpful, especially for migraines: do not season too much.
They work fast
Suitable for the season: dried apricots, dates, and raisins. They have a high proportion of salicylic acid, similar to the active ingredient in aspirin and Co. They help with mild headaches. In severe pain, the fruits can support the effect of painkillers.
Omega-3 increases the pain threshold
With an unhealthy diet, the body produces so-called arachidonic acid. This is fatal because it also produces a painkiller, prostaglandin. And the brain is particularly sensitive to that. But there is a scientifically proven natural antidote: omega-3 fatty acids can suppress arachidonic acid, thereby raising the brain’s pain threshold – making it less sensitive to pain triggers.
Whole grain regulates blood sugar
In people who are prone to headaches, the brain cells work very actively and need a lot and even energy. Whole-grain foods are ideal. It consists of complex carbohydrates that keep blood sugar constant.
In the morning muesli with oatmeal, linseed, wheat germ, and some fruit. Potatoes or whole grain rice for lunch, often legumes. In between, you should nibble on a few nuts. And for the evening, experts recommend whole-grain bread.
The healing trio of vital substances
The German Migraine and Headache Society (DMKG) and the German Society for Neurology (DGN) recommend suitable medication in their official guidelines – and also the three micronutrients magnesium, vitamin B2, and coenzyme Q10. All three are important so that the generation of energy in the brain cells works smoothly. A lack of these substances is very often the cause of migraines or stress headaches.