Are Headaches Related to Diet?

Are headaches related to diet?

If you have just changed to a new nutrient-rich diet, headaches can happen as your body adjust to a new “healthy” way of eating. These headaches are usually short lived.

There are a number of diet-related factors that may causing headaches;

1. Dehydration – this is the most common cause of headaches. Make sure you’re drinking enough water. Especially if you have increased your fibre intake, you’ll need to consume more water than usual. 2-3 litres per day seems to be the magic number, but it does depend on the environment (heat) and how much you exercise.

2. Consuming less carbohydrate and/or energy –  if you have recently changed your diet and reduced your carbohydrate or sugar intake, you may initially experience headaches. This can alter your usual blood sugar control and the disruption can result in headaches.

3. Sugar withdrawal. You might have been used to having a sugary afternoon snack, sending your blood sugar sky high. Now that you’re eating nutrient rich, your blood sugar levels will stabilise and you will no longer experience the highs and lows.

4. Going too long without food – this will drop your blood sugar and cause you to feel lightheaded and headachy. This is not recommended, as often the result is the feeling of being “starving” and then over eating.

5. You have cut out too many calories –  if you are losing more than 1kg per week, that’s a good indicator that you need to increase your Exchanges to slow this down.

6. You’re consuming less caffeine: if you’re used to drinking lots of coffee, tea or soft drink and suddenly stop, this results in dilation of the small blood vessels in the brain, causing painful headaches. It’s a good idea to slowly wean yourself off caffeine instead of making a sudden change.

7. Food allergy/intolerance – If you suffer from an adverse food reaction, it can trigger headaches.

Other headache triggers can include;

8. Stress – anxiety can manifest in headaches.

9. Sleep deprivation – headaches can be a warning signal that you need to get more sleep.

10. Fluorescent lighting – rapid flickering (undetectable to the eye) can cause headaches in susceptible people.

11. Nicotine withdrawal – if you’ve decided to taper down or quit smoking in conjunction with your new diet and exercise regime, this can cause major headaches.

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Credits – Matt O’Neill, Metabolic Jumpstart

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