Is Your Diet Giv­ing You Headaches?

How sim­ple di­etary tweaks could re­lieve your pain

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Digest Health Headaches - BY ADRI­ENNE FARR AND PERRI O. BLUM­BERG

STOP OVER-RE­STRICT­ING YOUR

KILOJOULE IN­TAKE Spac­ing your meals too far apart or eat­ing at ir­reg­u­lar in­ter­vals causes a dip in blood-glu­cose lev­els, which drives your body into star­va­tion mode. This trig­gers a cas­cade of hor­mones and brain chem­i­cals sim­i­lar to your body’s re­sponse to stress, which can bring on headaches. Once you fuel up, the headache should go away.

TIP You should wait no more than four hours be­tween meals. Try light snacks be­tween meals, such as a hand­ful of al­monds. STAY HYDRATED De­hy­dra­tion is a com­mon headache trig­ger. Ex­perts sus­pect it may have to do with nar­row­ing of blood ves­sels in the brain, which re­duces the brain’s sup­ply of blood and oxy­gen. Not get­ting suf­fi­cient elec­trolytes may also con­trib­ute to headaches.

TIP By the time you feel thirsty, your body is al­ready a lit­tle de­hy­drated, so re­hy­drate of­ten. Have a glass of wa­ter with ev­ery meal and be­tween meals. AVOID AR­TI­FI­CIAL SWEETENERS Some peo­ple may be par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive to as­par­tame, which can lead to headaches, ac­cord­ing to a US study. As­par­tame can be in diet drinks as well as foods. TIP If you sus­pect ar­ti­fi­cial sweeteners may be trig­ger­ing your headaches, keep a food jour­nal to watch for pat­terns. CUT CAF­FEINE SLOWLY If you’ve ditched fizzy drinks or cof­fee, you may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing caf­feine with­drawal. Ex­perts es­ti­mate that about half of peo­ple who cut back on caf­feine ex­pe­ri­ence headaches. TIP De­crease your caf­feine in­take grad­u­ally.

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