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Diet Tips for Headache Relief

To be pain-free, you may need to change your diet.

Diet Tips for Headache Relief

Do your headaches make you feel like your head is about to explode? If so, you are not alone. Janet Jackson, Marcia Cross and Hugh Jackman all suffer from crushing head pain. Clearly, a throbbing tension headache (90 percent of all headaches are this type) or a pulsating migraine can stop anyone in their tracks. Take this questionnaire to find out what may be causing your headache pain.

How to end the mind-numbing assault? Over-the-counter and prescription medications for headaches—including migraines—can relieve and sometimes prevent pain, but to be pain-free, you may need to make over your diet. We suggest:

  • Change your diet to eat more foods rich in magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2). Riboflavin is in low/no-fat dairy, eggs, nuts and green vegetables. Magnesium is in green veggies, whole grains, nuts and potatoes. You can also supplement with 400 milligrams of riboflavin and at least 100 mg of magnesium daily.
  • Make sure you are not vitamin D deficient. It’s linked to headaches. You want at least 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 a day; 1,200 IU after age 60.
  • Identify food triggers. It’s mostly word of mouth that everything from red wine to chocolate can launch a headache, but if you suspect certain foods trigger yours, keep a daily diary to track what you eat and when your head hurts. It may reveal problem foods. Eliminate them from your diet and you may have fewer headaches.

With a few diet and lifestyle changes, you just might show those celebs a thing or two about living smart and free of head pain.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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