Can your diet be the cause of your headaches? People with migraines blame their headaches on many different food triggers, but research now suggests that even for non-migraine sufferers, diet may be a major contributor to headaches. They suggest headaches may be caused by salt, which is common and harder to avoid.
Exploring the Link between Salt and Headaches
Researchers were trying to see whether a diet designed to reduce blood pressure actually helped people reduce their incidence of headaches. They compared people consuming the standard American diet with those on the DASH (dietary approach to stop hypertension) diet. The DASH diet aims for reduced fat consumption, includes low-fat dairy, and is high in fruits and vegetables.
They found that initial comparisons of standard diet and DASH made no difference in headache incidence. But when they compared salt intake, they found that those who had lower sodium intake had about a third fewer headaches than those with higher sodium intake.
Reduce Sodium Intake
Salt is everywhere in our diets, so we tend to eat too much of it, which is bad for us in many ways. Although the recommended daily allowance for sodium is 2300 mg, most of us get 3400 mg or more. Reducing sodium intake can be a challenge, but if you are a headache sufferer, you know that reducing headaches by a third would definitely be worth it.
The easiest way to control your sodium intake is to prepare more food at home. This allows you to control just how much sodium goes into your food. And it’s important to remember that prepackaged ingredients can contain a lot of sodium, too.
For example, if you use tomato sauce to make your marinara, you might not reduce your sodium at all over prepackaged marinara, while tomato paste or crushed tomatoes will give you a significant reduction.
Reading labels will guide you to lower-sodium options, and you can further reduce sodium intake in canned food by rinsing beans and vegetables before eating.
Restaurants tend to add a lot of salt to their foods. It’s a cheap way to increase flavor without adding quality ingredients. Ask servers about lower-sodium options and see if you can get less added salt.
Still Have Headaches?
What should you do if you have reduced your sodium consumption and you’re still experiencing headaches? It might be time to start hunting around for alternative treatment options.
One common cause of headaches most people aren’t told about is TMJ. TMJ is a jaw dysfunction that can lead to headaches, including migraines.
If you are being bothered by persistent headaches and other treatments don’t seem to work, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a Bluebell TMJ dentist today.