Do you suffer from headaches, migraines or both?
You may be Surprised what foods, supplements and vitamins can help or be a trigger for your headaches and or migraines
Excerpt from Dr. Karin Drummond's book:
A DIET TO DECREASE HEADACHE TRIGGERS
|MANY HEADACHES (and some types of dizziness) are triggered when you eat certain foods. In some cases, you may have a food sensitivity; in other situations, the headache may be triggered by chemicals added to food (preservatives, flavorings, etc.). You may also experience headaches because of seasonal allergies. Here is my dietary advice.|
A Teaspoon Of Honey A Day Keeps The Allergies Away
Allergies cause the sinuses to inflame, causing sinus headaches. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, try eating a teaspoon of local honey; the beehive should be within 25 miles of your home (as the crow flies). Honey from a hive close to your home is filled with the antigens of the pollen you are breathing in your area. When you eat it, the body learns that the pollen antigens are “self”—something good that you assimilate into your body for energy—and not a “not self”—a foreign thing that needs to be attacked.
Honey works even better if you get honey made in the spring for your spring allergies and honey made in the fall for your fall allergies. Farmers markets are a good place to find locally produced honey.
Inoculation To Overcome Allergies
Another way to overcome allergies is through inoculation. Some people get allergy shots. You can treat an allergy by being exposed to a very small amount of what you are allergic to every week (but not enough to cause a reaction). Over time, the amount to which you are exposed is increased. Eventually, you are able to handle more of the allergen without a symptomatic response. I advise this be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Eat A Variety Of Foods
Food sensitivities are often the result of eating a limited variety of the same foods every day. This results in the body being underexposed to good antigens, which are the markers on organic material that our bodies use to determine if a substance is self or not self. Whenever the body is exposed to a new antigen, it attacks the new antigen like it’s a virus or bad bacteria. This explains why unfamiliar pollen or foods can make you feel sick.
When your body is exposed to a variety of antigens, more antigens are marked as self and are not attacked. If you eat the same foods every day, not only do you limit your body’s exposure to good antigens, but you make yourself more vulnerable to adverse reactions should you try something new.
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The Rotation Diet: Keep Your Triggers From Accumulating And Turning Into A Headache
For food sensitivities, consider the rotation diet. This diet will ensure that you get a variety of foods, and it will lessen your likelihood of developing food sensitivities, which is a growing problem in our culture.
The rule is simple: When you eat something, you can’t eat it for four consecutive days afterward.
Think about that. How many times have you eaten the same food for weeks? How much variety do you really have in your diet? If you eat the same types of foods all the time, you will likely develop sensitivity to those foods.
Some studies suggest that you need to eat dozens of different types of vegetables to maintain a healthy gut flora, which is imperative to your overall good health. The better your overall health, the more likely you can tolerate your triggers without getting a headache. So if you make a big meal, freeze the leftovers and only eat one serving of it no more than once a week.
Another thing I like about this diet is that after a week or so, you have to start hunting the vegetable aisle for something you haven’t eaten in four days. Your veggies should expand from cucumbers, celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower to include kale, leeks, radishes, spinach, water chestnuts, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, red beets, squash, and more. The more varied your diet, the less likely you’ll suffer from a nutrient deficiency—another potential trigger for headaches.
If you already have a food sensitivity, the rotation diet should help decrease your sensitivity to it. If you avoid foods you are sensitive to, you will become hypersensitive to them, and you may even develop a strong allergy to them. If you eat a small amount of something you are sensitive to and then avoid it for four days, your body has time to get it completely out of your system. Then when you eat a small amount of that food again, your body can tolerate it. Over time, your body should even be less sensitive to it. This process is similar to how an inoculation works.
The Question Of Eating Organic
When it comes to my vegetables, I am not too picky about them being organic because I feel that there is no such thing unless you grow veggies in your own garden and control how they are cultivated. Not all of us have that leisure, but if you do, eating fresh from the garden is the best way to get your vegetables.
However, when it comes to meat or any animal product (like milk or eggs), I am stricter. I try to avoid eating animal products that are not certified organic. Most meat sold at large chain grocery stores comes from an animal that has eaten who knows what foods, has been injected with who knows how many drugs and hormones, and has been subjected to potentially bad conditions that fill the animal’s tissues with stress hormones. So I choose not to eat meat from those animals.
Hormones In Our Food Can Be Triggers For Headaches
If you suffer from headaches, especially migraine headaches, you may want to avoid meat that is not hormone free. Migraine headaches in particular are sensitive to hormone changes in the body. If you are eating meat unnaturally high in hormones, it likely will not help your situation. In fact, it may act as one of the triggers for your headache.
Where’s The Beef?
I was a vegetarian for nine years but found it difficult with my active lifestyle to get the protein I needed. I had to eat more carbohydrates than my body needed to get the protein I required, and I had to take supplements for protein and iron, because I was borderline anemic. I was heavier then and not as healthy. I’m not saying it wasn’t doable; it just wasn’t easy for me.
I was taught that eating red meat increases cholesterol levels; all of my family members suffer from high cholesterol. But despite being vegetarian, my cholesterol was borderline high. I worried about how eating meat would affect my cholesterol levels. I found safe, clean sources of meat and even started raising my own chickens and cattle. Now that I am eating lean, clean meat, my cholesterol is lower than ever. I now believe that red meat is not the cause of high cholesterol. Instead, the overfed, hormone-injected, antibiotic-filled meat from stressed-out animals is the true cholesterol-raising culprit.
New studies also suggest simple carbohydrates cause high cholesterol. If your diet is deficient in cholesterol-producing foods, your body will converts simple carbohydrates to the cholesterol you need. I was an example of this when I was eating more carbohydrates and minimal cholesterol.
So don’t be afraid of eating foods with cholesterol; instead, pay attention to the amount of foods you ingest that are high in simple carbohydrates.
 Boyles, “Low-Carb Diets Improve Cholesterol Long Term.”
When I do buy meat, I make sure it is organic and from cage-free animals. My favorite is from a local farmer who raises healthy buffalo. He even feeds them grasses from his own fields, making for very healthy and lean meat. I’m sure you can find a butcher shop that knows its meat sources and can vouch for the animals’ living conditions, the quality of their food source, and that they are not injected with hormones.
Good Bugs In Your Gut For Good Health
Another remedy you may want to try is taking probiotics. Good bacteria are essential to the well-being of your immune system. If you do not have good gastrointestinal flora health, your immune system will suffer, leading to immune issues like food sensitivities. Feed the flora in your gut with a variety of vegetables and grains to keep it healthy. As previously mentioned, some studies suggest that you need dozens of different types of vegetables to maintain a healthy gut flora.
If you take a probiotic supplement, make sure it contains more than one type of probiotic. You need a variety of good bugs in your digestive tract for it to be well. Many probiotic capsules contain only acidophilus because it is easily obtained from dairy products. This is not as therapeutic because acidophilus is the least deficient bug in our gut, especially if you eat dairy products like yogurt.
Additionally, purchase your probiotic from a reliable source. If you get it from a store, it may have gotten too hot or cold during transportation, rendering the probiotics useless (because they likely died in transport).
If you have to take an antibiotic, remember that it kills good bugs along with the bad. So take a probiotic during the antibiotic treatment and afterward to help replenish the good bacteria. Antibiotics make your gut vulnerable to a hostile takeover if not replenished with good bugs.
A lot of medical doctors say not to take probiotics while taking an antibiotic because the antibiotic will kill them. While it is true that antibiotics kill probiotics, I recommend replenishing the probiotics faster than the antibiotic can kill them. This way, the good bugs can overrun the bad bugs.
Food sensitivities may also suggest your digestive juices are weak. If you are not able to properly digest your food, you may be deficient in nutrients despite eating well. This can contribute to headaches and migraines! Ask your healthcare provider if taking a digestive enzyme daily with your heaviest meal is an appropriate treatment option.
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ADDITIONAL DIETARY STEPS TO PREVENT HEADACHES
|THE FOLLOWING is my general advice on living well. The healthier you are, the less likely you will succumb to your headache triggers.|
Drink Plenty Of Water
All tissues in our body need water. Dehydration affects blood pressure, muscle tension, and joint and fascia lubrication, all of which can lead to a headache. (Fascia is the lining that covers muscles and organs in your body, separating the different tissues while holding everything together.) Dehydration is a cause of headaches and migraines.
You can calculate how much water to drink by multiplying your body weight by 1/2 (0.5) to 2/3 (0.66). The result is the number of ounces of water you should drink in a day. For example, I am close to 125 pounds, so I should drink approximately 83 ounces a day (125 x 2/3 = 82.5). Now, for every half hour you exercise, you should add at least 11 ounces. This is why I try to drink at least 96 ounces (three 32-ounce containers) of water a day.
If you drink black tea, coffee, and/or alcohol, you need to drink even more water. Tea, coffee, and alcohol are fluids that dehydrate you because they tamper with your anti-diuretic hormone (ADH).
The hypothalamus (a part of your brain) detects how much water is in the blood. If the water content is low, the blood has a higher salt content. The pituitary gland (the master gland of your body, also in the brain) senses this and releases ADH into the blood stream. When the ADH reaches the kidneys, ADH opens the kidneys tubules so more water is reabsorbed into your blood (instead of urinating it out; Figure 11-1).
After the water pressure goes back up, the hypothalamus detects this and tells the pituitary gland to stop producing ADH. The ADH in the blood levels drop, and the tubules in the kidneys will close down so more of the fluid will flow out into the urine. This negative feedback loop ensures that our blood holds the perfect amount of water.
If you drink too much water, the body has a means to urinate out the excess but keep a healthy amount in. As long as you urinate when needed, it is almost impossible to overdose on water, it’s but easy to be deficient in water. So drink up!
When you drink tea, coffee, soda pop, or alcohol, ADH production goes down. This interferes with the regulation of water in the body, causing you to urinate out too much water. This leads to dehydration, which affects your health (especially over the long term). So for every ounce of alcohol and for every cup of tea or coffee you consume, you should drink at least 8 additional ounces of water.
Headaches may be a sign that you are deficient in a mineral or vitamin, like magnesium or vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Magnesium is a muscle relaxer, so a deficiency can lead to tension headaches. Vitamin B2 is important for nerve health. A deficiency in B2 can lead to nerve pain such as headaches.
There has been much debate over whether people should take vitamins. If you are eating a healthy, varied, and whole-foods diet, you should be able to get all of your needed vitamins through your food. Unfortunately, most of our food is grown on over farmed land, so the food produced on it is deficient of micronutrients and genetically designed to look good and have a longer shelf life (with no effect to its nutritional content or taste).
My general advice is to take a half dose of a multivitamin every day or two. That way you are less likely to be deficient in anything and you avoid the risk of overdosing on anything.
If you are taking a multivitamin, make sure the vitamins are coming from a plant source. Plants build vitamins via complex biochemical processes, producing one specific biomolecule. When vitamins are produced in a lab, an unnatural form can be produced and included in the multivitamin pill.
For example, vitamin E has two forms of isomers: an L-alpha-tocopherol and a D-alpha tocopherol. Isomers are chemicals that are the same but mirror images of each other. Sometimes this doesn’t matter. For example, a cube is the same as its mirror image. But some shapes are such that the mirror image is different from the original. An example of this would be your hands. There is a left (L) and a right (D).
Vitamin E has a left and a right version. In Figure below, notice how the carbon cyclohexane (the circle of dots on the far right side of the molecule) points forward on the D version and points back on the L version, just like if you held your hands with the thumb on the same side, one hand would be palm up and the other palm down.
Do you see how the mirror image is not the same as the original item?
Only the right-hand version, D-alpha tocopherol, works in your body. To help you understand why one works and one doesn’t, even though they look similar, think of a lock and key. If the key is just a little bit different, it won’t work. Consider the example of a high-tech lock that is opened by your unique right hand. Let’s say you can only open it by inserting your right hand palm down so it can read your fingerprints. Your left hand would not be able to open it. Even if your left hand had the exact same fingerprints as your right hand, it still wouldn’t be able to open the lock because once inserted palm down the fingerprints would be in the wrong order and the thumb would be on the wrong side.
That’s what happens with the left and right vitamin E. The right one works, but the left one doesn’t. An easy way to remember this is “L is for liar.”
Look at your vitamin labels. If it says the Vitamin E is dl-alpha-tocopherol, it has the unnatural form of Vitamin E as well as the natural version (hence the d and the l). In my opinion, you should throw this away because it may be harmful to your health. Look for a multivitamin that just has the d-alpha-tocopherol version of the Vitamin E instead.
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Dr. Karin has created a list of supplements she approves of. Click Here to check it out.
Co-enzyme Q10 helps with the health of the vascular system by decreasing blood pressure. If high blood pressure is a cause of your headaches, CoQ10 may help. If you are on medication, speak with your medical doctor before supplementing with CoQ10 because it often compounds the effect blood thinners or blood pressure medication.
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FOODS TO AVOID IF YOU SUFFER FROM HEADACHES AND OR MIGRAINES
|IF YOU SUFFER from headaches, you should know what substances are major triggers for head pains. By avoiding these, you may be able to tolerate more of the minor triggers. Here are some details on the major triggers.|
Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.) for two reasons. Not only does it lead to dehydration, which can cause headaches, but it can lead to a headache when the effect of the caffeine wears off.
Avoid alcohol, especially red wine. Alcohol leads to dehydration (a headache trigger). Red wine not only contains alcohol, but it also contains sulfites, another headache trigger.
Soda pop, like cigarette smoke, has many negative health effects. If you drink soda pop, try to stop drinking it for a month (including caffeine-free soda). The lack of caffeine can trigger a headache during the withdrawal, but soda itself can trigger headaches. Soda pop has a gross amount of chemicals, sugar, and salt. It ruins the taste of all other food and messes with your insulin levels, which causes sugar levels to go out of control and can trigger a headache.
Diet sodas are even worse because the artificial sweeteners mess with your brain chemistry even more than natural sugars do. Not only should a month of abstaining from soft drinks help to decrease your headaches, but it should also result in foods tasting better because your taste buds will no longer be overstimulated by chemicals.
When you eliminate soda pop from your diet, you may find yourself eating healthier, and your body should show positive signs of this. I have had many patients lose dozens of pounds simply by no longer drinking soda and increasing their water intake. I always encourage my patients to stop drinking soda pop. To give them additional motivation, I tell them that soda pop has been linked to osteoporosis because it causes the kidneys to remove more calcium out of the blood.  
Try avoiding processed foods because they often contain triggers like preservatives (nitrates and nitrites) and flavor enhancers (MSG and aspartame).
Avoid chewy food if your head pain stems from your jaws. Chewing on tough food can irritate the spastic jaw muscles. A major culprit is chewing gum. Avoid it! If you must chew gum to freshen your breath, chew for a few minutes and then spit it out. Chewing any longer than that risks irritating your mastication muscles, which in turn can trigger a headache.
 Tucker K, Morita K, Qiao N, Hanna M, Cupples A, Kiel D. Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:936-42.
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