Headache or cephalalgia is a common symptomatic condition affecting a large number of people everyday, all over the world. This may either occur as a single condition or may be the aftereffect of a number of other ailments. The International Headache Society (HIS), founded in 1981, has published a number of journals and reports enlisting the possible causes or etiology of this condition. Cephalalgia is so common that it is estimated that every year, around 50 million Americans suffer from this condition and need to approach a doctor. In fact, studies have indicated that the condition is one of the prime reasons for absence from work, thereby leading to a massive reduction in the work output.
A number of factors can trigger headache, like lack of sleep, severe stress, weather changes, bright lights, and so on. However, the threshold level for getting headaches differs from person to person. Some have very high threshold levels and suffer from headaches only occasionally. Then, there are others with low threshold, who respond to these triggers frequently. An important contributing factor, which most of us tend to ignore, is our diet. Many of the ordinary foods that we eat regularly act as stimulators, leading to a headache. A very effective and easy way to avoid headaches is by keeping away from these food-triggers. In fact, many people believe that following an ideal headache-prevention diet is the key to avoid the problem most of the times. Some of the foods that trigger headaches have been listed below.
Foods That Cause Headaches
Always avoid any kind of alcoholic products, especially red wine, beer, champagne and vermouth. These products increase the blood flow to the brain. Research and continuous studies have indicated that the headache occurs due to the effects of the by-products or impurities produced in the body, particularly by the intake of alcoholic drinks.
A potent headache triggering factor comprises of cultured dairy products, like yogurt, buttermilk, cheese and sour cream. Ripened cheese like Cheddar, Brie, Camembert, Stilton and Emmentaler should strictly be avoided, as they contain a natural substance called tyramine, which is a well-known cause for headaches. However, certain varieties of cheese, like cottage cheese, cream cheese, Velveeta and American, are permitted and can be used without any hesitation. The permitted daily intake of sour cream by a migraine inflicted person is no more than half cup.
Fish & Poultry Products
Some people feel that consumption of processed meat, like sausages, bacons and hot dogs - that contain ample of preservatives and food additives, can aggravate headaches. Apart from this, eating any form of smoked fish or meat can provoke headache in some people. For people suffering frequently from headaches and migraine attacks, they should completely avoid lunch meats, chicken livers, bologna, salami, pepperoni, pâté and Herring (dried or otherwise).
Vegetables & Fruits
Some people suffer from headaches after the consumption of dried fruits, as they contain headache-triggering preservative called sulfites. People with low headache threshold should have no less than half banana per day and no more than half cup of citrus fruits, raisins, red plums, papayas and avocados. Also, be careful while consuming the different varieties of beans, like fava beans, lima beans, snow beans and broad beans.
Although a delicacy and a very popular food item all over the world, overuse of chocolates can be very harmful for people suffering from headaches. This is due to the fact that they contain caffeine, the overuse of which can cause rebound headaches.
MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is a commonly used food additive found in a number of prepackaged foods, like canned soups, salad dressings and so on. Research has proved that the consumption of MSG can trigger headaches.