Battling Headaches

Ken From Michigan Writes:

What can you do for headaches? I have been dealing with headaches off and on for about twenty years. I use medications sometimes and they seem to help. What could be causing these headaches to reoccur and what can I do to correct this?

Dear Ken,

Headaches strike many people today. They can come from a variety of causes from food allergies, to vascular conditions, structural challenges, nutritional deficiencies, and even just plain old stress. Standard treatment involves a variety of different medications to help support these different areas and even just mask the pain. But what if the root cause of the headaches came from mostly environmental triggers? Many experts agree that the majority of headaches have a chemical component to them. Food allergies and nutritional sensitivities have become well known to affect headaches. Just take some basic headaches that we see often such as a caffeine withdrawal headache? It was the removal of the caffeine that caused the body to respond with a headache. Many eat inorganic and processed foods every day and live in a toxic environment that places us in a position to be around toxins that can cause a disruption to the body. If we avoid some of the basic triggers, then many times the headaches can be minimized or even diminished. Here are some basic triggers that we see with headaches and some alternatives.

1.Smoked meats
Foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, and nitrites make dilate blood vessels that can cause headaches many times. Look for foods that are free of these preservatives.

2.Red Wine And Processed Cheese
Cheese contains a substance called Tyramine. This causes headaches due to the constricting of the blood vessels. The red wine is concerning because it can disrupt the neurotransmitter serotonin.

3.Dehydration
This is a large reason we see for headaches. Many people drink soda, coffee, and tea all day and can become easily dehydrated. Focus on getting more water in up to half your bodyweight in ounces each day.

4.Brain Freeze
Ever eat the ice cream or shake and get the brain freeze? Although not a danger, this type of headache is caused by temperature sensitive nerves. 

5.Gluten
Many gluten sensitive people will notice a slight headache when eating certain flour-based foods. Opt to clear grains out of the diet for seven to eight weeks and then slowly add gluten-free grains back in.

6.Nutritional Deficiencies
Some people experience headaches due to a lack of proper nutrition. If you ever see someone that deals with headaches over a particular side of their head you may want to have your doctor look for certain deficient in some lab work. If there is a headache over the right eye, it may be a lack of iron. If it is a headache over the left eye or side, it may be a zinc deficiency.

7.Caffeine Withdrawal
Many times this is correlated with not drinking coffee. If you are coming off high amounts of caffeine, consider tea as an alternative. It has about a third of the amount of caffeine and help take the edge off of these types of headaches.