Foods that fight headaches

Eat these to help prevent or ease the pain of a headache

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Headaches - we all get them from time to time, but did you know that what you eat could be causing you a problem? Or that certain foods can help to ease a headache? Clinical nutritionist Christa Orecchiohe explains what you should be eating - and what to avoid.

See also: Four everyday habits that can cause headaches

See also: Six simple, common causes of migraines

1. Magnesium

Studies show that people who experience cluster headaches tend to have low blood levels of magnesium, and that symptoms improve once they receive magnesium injections. In addition to headaches, magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, tics, and irregular heart rhythms, as well as insomnia, depression and anxiety.

If you think you might be low in the mineral, taking a magnesium supplement or eating magnesium-rich foods can help. Good choices include spinach and chard, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, brown rice, avocado and bananas.

"Stress leeches magnesium," says Christa. So as well as eating magnesium-rich foods or taking a supplement, make sure that you take time to relax.

2. Vitamin B2
Fifty percent of migraines are linked to Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency, according to Christa.

The vitamin acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body, maintaining healthy blood cells and boosting energy levels. Signs of a Vitamin B2 deficiency include cracks in the corners of the mouth, sore throat, hypersensitivity to light and migraine headaches. A lack of B2 can also result in nerve damage and inflammation, two conditions that may increase the intensity of cluster headaches.

If you're lacking, taking a B2 supplement may help. Good foods sources of B2 include lamb, beef liver, natural yoghurt, asparagus, mushrooms and quinoa. Christa advises soaking quinoa for two or three hours before cooking to get more Vitamin B2 out if it.

3. Food sensitivity
Eggs and gluten don't cause problems for most people, but if you have a food sensitivity to either of those foods, eating them can result in a pounding head. If you suffer from on-going headaches, it may be worth trying to eliminate gluten or eggs from your diet to see if it makes a difference.

4. Water
Even mild dehydration can cause headaches and confusion.

"If you have headaches caused by dehydration you can fix it within 15 minutes," says Christa. "Add lemon to your water, and you support your liver to flush out toxins too. Dandelion tea is another good choice, and I'm a huge fan of coconut water as it replaces your electrolytes almost instantly."