If you have a recurring headache you can’t seem to shake or are prone to powerful migraines and dizziness, you’re not alone. Migraines are intense, extremely painful headaches that plague more than 38 million Americans annually. Headaches can have a variety of different causes, including injury and binocular vision dysfunction due to a visual misalignment. Tension headaches, meanwhile, are the result of stress put on the visual system and can both create and worsen headaches. There is one factor in particular which can affect headaches that people tend to forget about: what we eat.
How Food Can Trigger Headaches
While there are many medications designed to treat headaches and migraines, drugs aren’t always the answer. At the Neuro Visual Center of New York, we recognize that diet and nutrition play an important role in determining how likely one is to develop a headache over the course of a day. A lack of quality food, over-consumption of sugar and other negative dietary influences can greatly increase the likelihood of a headache developing.
On the other hand, a balanced diet replete with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and little to no processed foods can be of great benefit in helping to decrease the occurrence of daily headaches.
Identifying Food Triggers
What you eat can have an enormous effect on your body and your overall health. Certain foods and food additives have been known to trigger headaches, the most well-known of which are alcohol, caffeine and monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. Some people’s bodies are more sensitive than others, which is why one person may have multiple food triggers while another only has one or two, or none at all.
The best way to identify the specific food triggers that are exacerbating your headaches is to keep a food journal. A food trigger will cause a headache within 12 to 24 hours, so it’s essential to keep detailed records of what you eat every day in order to pinpoint exactly what foods are causing problems. It’s recommended to keep a journal over the span of 20 to 30 headache occurrences to make sure you’re identifying the correct trigger, as you may find you have more than one.
Eliminating Food Triggers From Your Diet
After you’ve identified your food triggers, you’ll need to work on eliminating these foods from your diet. This is easier said than done, of course. For frequently consumed food items such as drinks containing caffeine or processed snacks and foods containing MSG, this will take some time and adjustment. However, by taking things one step at a time and making positive dietary changes, you can greatly decrease the frequency of your headaches and improve your quality of life.
If after modifying your diet you’re still experiencing unexplained headaches, migraines and dizziness, call the Neuro Visual Center of New York at (516) 224-4888 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced neurovisual specialists. We may be able to help you identify what’s causing your headaches, particularly if they’re affecting your vision.