Have you ever experienced a day where you though that your daily routine is going smoothly then suddenly you feel a sharp pounding pain in your head which impaired your thinking where you can’t get anything done? Headaches can result to poor productivity at work or school, reduce social time and overall loss of quality of life.
According to World Health Organization almost half of adult population in the world have experienced headache at least once within a year. Primary headache is the common type of headache where an inflammation occurs in pain-sensitive parts around the head and neck including nerves, blood vessels and muscles. Primary headaches are categorized into Migraine where recurrently manifests and affect one side of the head and may be accompanied by nausea, tension headache where it is commonly caused by stress or emotional conflict and cluster headache which can occur for a period of weeks and marked by pain on one side of the head. Headache can also be secondary which is caused by existing conditions that triggers headache such as medication-overuse, obesity, hypertension, neck or brain injury and tumors.
While over-the-counter medication are available to relieve headaches, changing one’s lifestyle can help in preventing possible triggers that contribute to headache. Here are the following tips that may help avert of lessen headaches:
Maintain Healthy body weight and be physically active
Obesity can aggravate migraine as pain-promoting hormones are released from fat cells which obese individuals have abundant amount. Reducing body weight to normal range can lessen the release of pain-promoting hormones during migraine attack. Regular exercise helps reducing stress and anxiety which in turn reduce the risk factor for tension headaches.
Consume enough fluids
Dehydration hinders the nerve cells, muscles, and blood vessels to function and causes the brain to pull away from the skull which leads to headache.
Consume foods low in fat, higher in omega-3 fatty acids and plant-based diet
Too much intake of fat leads to increase circulation of fat in the blood resulting to production of Prostaglandin, a lipid that promotes inflammatory response which is apparent to individuals having migraine attack. Omega-3-fatty acid is associated to pain-reducing effect including migraine. A plant-based diet can reduce migraine pain due to elimination of dietary pain triggers such as meat and dairy products or by weight loss or hormonal changes brought on by the diet change. Fiber from vegetables is also associated in reducing severity of headaches.
Having a healthy diet and lifestyle not only alleviates frequency and severity of headaches, but it also keeps overall health in check. Achieving optimum health enable us to enjoy life and face challenges ahead.
Written by: PNFP Francis Erik P. Bacena
The Role of Diet and Nutrition in Migraine Triggers and Treatment: A Systematic Literature
Nutrition Guide for Clinicians - Migraine
WHO Headache disorders
A cross-sectional study on the burden and impact of migraine on work productivity and quality of life in selected workplaces in the Philippines
Bunner A, Agarwal U, Gonzales JF, Valente F, Barnard ND. Nutrition intervention for migraine: a randomized crossover trial. J of Headache and Pain. 2014;15:69. doi:10.1186/1129-2377-15-69.