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Life can be overwhelming at times and headaches seem to be one of the top reasons people visit their doctors office or local hospital.

A headache is often the bodies way of telling you that something is wrong. Maybe you need to destress, start to meditate, get out in to nature. You may have a vitamin deficiency or a food sensitivity that has suddenly appeared and is causing you headaches.

There are many types of headaches; tension, cluster, sinus and migraines.

Headaches can be triggered by so many things:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Eye strain
  • Poor posture
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Low blood sugar
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances
  • Constipation
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Low magnesium
  • Dehydration
  • Environmental toxins, perfumes, air fresheners
  • Food chemicals like aspartame and other fake foods

So what can you do for a headache?

First check with your doctor or naturopath to make sure there are no serious issues with your health.

Then check out these many natural cures that can help you to eliminate your headaches for good.

  1. Magnesium– magnesium is one of the most successful headache remedies there is. Researchers estimate that half of the population in North America is deficient in this mineral due to the lack of it in our soil and food, along with the chronic stress we live in, alcohol use and sugar consumption. This all depletes our magnesium. Magnesium is required for over 600 chemical reactions in the body. If you don’t have enough your body can’t function at its best. You will suffer with headaches, sore muscles, fatigue and more. Taking 300- 600mg of magnesium a day can reduce the frequency of headaches, help with sleep and even help with gut issues. I like to use the Healthy Gut Company’s magnesium glycinate as it contains no fillers or additives, and does not cause stomach upset. You can learn more about their magnesium here and if you use this link you can save at checkout. 
  2. Gut issues- research now shows that all illness begins in the gut. There is a connection between headaches and the gut. The terminology “gut-brain axis” is a bidirectional relationship between the GI system and the central nervous system. The brain normally regulates movements and functions of the GI tract (sensory and secretion). Hormonal factors through the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis by mediating stress responses impact on the gut functions. On the other hand, GI system is believed to be able to affect the CNS. A number of the brain functions such as cognition, behavior and even nociception are under the influence of the gut system. The dysfunction of the gut-brain axis has been implicated in a number of neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, mood and anxiety disorders, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, and migraine headaches. Our gut bacteria can determine whether we thrive or get ill. It can also lead to headaches. Many people have IBS, Celiac disease and even Helicobacter pylori infection which can lead over time to headaches. If you are eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), taking antibiotics or even pain medications, this affects your gut bacteria which can then lead to headaches and other pain issues in the body. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is key. Eliminating gluten, dairy and sugar is the first step.
  3. Stick to a healing diet filled with foods that naturally relax muscles and help you deal with stress. Some of the best foods for preventing headaches include:
    • clean sources protein to stabilize blood sugar — cage-free eggs, wild fish, grass-fed meat
    • foods high in fiber — vegetables, fruits, ancient grains, nuts and seeds all contribute fiber to your diet, which reduces constipation that’s linked to headaches
    • healthy fats to reduce inflammation and prevent blood sugar dips — nuts, seeds, coconut oil or olive oil, avocado, and wild-caught fish help you digest important nutrients and are important for brain function and hormonal balance
    • foods high in magnesium and electrolytes — green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, melon and bananas are some good sources of magnesium, which relaxes muscles

    Wondering what foods might contribute to your headaches? These foods and drinks trigger headaches, so limit them to help prevent head pain:

    • too much sugar — can cause hormonal changes and put pressure on the adrenal glands making you feel stressed and “wired but tired”
    • common food allergies — sensitivities and allergies like gluten, cows dairy, peanuts, eggs, soy and shellfish can trigger constipation, muscle stiffness and headaches
    • alcohol — causes changes to blood flow in the brain and dehydration, which alters electrolyte levels
    • overly salty foods — too much sodium, especially from packaged foods or restaurant meals that have added MSG and other chemicals, can cause dehydration and muscle constriction
  4. Red Light Therapy- red light therapy helps to modulate blood flow and lowers inflammation. Infrared light from red light therapy can bring oxygen and nutrients to any area of the body in need of pain relief, including the cranium. Infrared therapy has also been known to increase circulation and work on loosening tight muscles, which often contribute to head and neck pain which can lead to headaches. There have been many health studies done on the use of red light therapy and reducing pain all over the body. If you want to learn more about red light therapy click here and if you want to purchase a red light machine use shirleyplant at checkout to save. 
  5. Essential Oils– the calming and numbing effects of peppermint and lavender essential oils can help for headaches. It is important that you purchase a healthy essential oil as many of them are not processed well. Living Naturals or DoTerra are two well researched brands.Peppermint oil generates a long-lasting cooling effect on the skin. Research shows that peppermint oil stimulates a significant increase in skin blood flow of the forehead, and it soothes muscle contractions. One study showed that peppermint oil, in combination with ethanol, reduced headache sensitivity.Lavender oil is commonly used as a mood stabilizer and sedative. Research has shown that the use of lavender oil is a safe and effective treatment of migraine headaches. One study conducted in 2012 measured the results of inhaling lavender oil for 15 minutes. The 47 participants were asked to record the effects every half hour, for two hours. Out of 129 headache attacks, 92 responded to the lavender oil remedy.Yes, essential oils can be helpful for headaches. Placing a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil into your hands and then rubbing the blend on your forehead, temples and back of neck. If the smell is too strong for you, or if the peppermint is too chilling, dilute it down by mixing the essential oils with almond, grapeseed or coconut oil. By adding coconut oil, you can take advantage of its own amazing health benefits — like balancing hormones, moisturizing skin and decreasing wrinkles.
  6. Chiropractic Care and Posture– Chiropractic adjustments helps to alleviate the stress of your system. Studies suggest that chiropractic manipulation reduces tension and migraine headaches. The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College conducted a study involving 729 subjects, of whom 613 received chiropractic care and their outcomes ranged from good to excellent, indicating that it’s a positive and beneficial headache remedy.
  7. Feverfew and Butterbur Herbs- some headaches can be relieved with taking natural herbs. The leaves of feverfew are used to make medicine. Research shows that consuming feverfew reduces the frequency of migraine headaches and headache symptoms, including pain, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise.Butterbur is an herb that reduces the inflammatory effect of chemicals that trigger headaches, especially migraines. It also acts as a beta blocker, resulting in normal blood flow to the brain. Doses of at least 75 milligrams twice daily seem to be necessary for the best headache-reducing results. One study, done over a four-month period, showed that migraine attack frequency was reduced by 48 percent in participants who consumed 75 milligrams of butterbur twice a day. This research, done at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, measured a decrease in migraine attack frequency — suggesting that butterbur is an effective headache remedy and symptom reliever.
  8. Stay hydrated – Do you drink coffee? It is one of the most dehydrating beverages you can consume. Sugar drinks and alcohol also dehydrate you. Most people do not drink enough clean, filtered water. Be sure to keep your portable water bottle handy at all times.

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Shirley Plant

About Shirley

I'm Shirley Plant, nutritionist and cookbook author. My passion is helping you figure out which foods fuel your body and which ones deplete it.

Appearances By Shirley

  • CTV News
  • Rogers TV
  • The Eat Real Food Health Summit
  • Menopause Wellness Summit
  • The Parenting TeleSummit

Appearances By Shirley

  • CTV News
  • Rogers TV
  • The Eat Real Food Health Summit
  • Menopause Wellness Summit
  • The Parenting TeleSummit

Shirley's Cookbooks

Finally... Food I Can Eat!

Finally... Food I Can Eat!

A dietary guide and cookbook featuring tasty non vegetarian and vegetarian recipes for people with food allergies and intolerances. Recipes free of gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, wheat, nightshades, sugar and yeast.

Finally... Paleo Food I Can Eat!

Finally... Paleo Food I Can Eat!

Paleo recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and dessert. Recipes free of grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, eggs and almonds. Plus, chapters on the mind body connection by Dr. Eva Selhub M.D and healing your body from chronic illness with Dr. Terry Wahls. M.D.