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9 Natural Headache Remedies
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 47 percent of adults suffered from a headache last year. So what's the best thing to do when the pain strikes?
While over-the-counter medications can help, there are some natural ways to ease your pain. A nutritious, balanced diet can help prevent and alleviate headaches. So next time you feel a headache coming on, reach for one of these foods instead of your bottle of aspirin.
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Dehydration is a major cause of headaches. Stay hydrated and soothe or prevent pain by sipping a glass of room-temperature water. (Ice water can aggravate your headache.)
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Caffeine is a common ingredient in several prescription and over-the-counter headache medicines. Just be careful; too much can cause dehydration, which might worsen the pain. If you're not a coffee drinker, try hot chocolate or tea instead.
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According to the University of Maryland, cherries—and other dark red and purple fruits like grapes, blueberries and cranberries—have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These fruits act as natural, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin, to reduce pain. Throw a bag of dried cherries in your desk drawer to ward off headache symptoms at work.
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Low blood sugar can trigger headaches. By eating whole grains, like oatmeal or quinoa, you can fill up on fiber and keep your blood sugar in check. As an added bonus, whole grains provide several vitamins and minerals, and can help fight mental fatigue.
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If you aren't eating your greens, you may not be getting enough vitamin B2. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches. Add some spinach to your breakfast omelet or eat a spinach salad for lunch. Spinach can also help you stay alert, which leads to better posture. Postural tension is just one source of headaches.
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This lunchtime staple is full of vitamin B6. This vitamin increases serotonin levels in the brain, which can blast depression and minimize pain. The National Institute of Health suggests about 1 to 1.5 grams per day. Potatoes, fruit, poultry and fish are also great sources of vitamin B6.
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Before you pop an Advil, try eating a slice of watermelon. Watermelon is a water-rich food and can help you stay hydrated. Try it in a smoothie or fruit salad. Another option is cucumber, which is 95 percent water. Packing cucumber and hummus as a snack can prevent headaches and help you fight afternoon hunger.
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Spicy foods can alleviate sinus pain. The spiciness found in salsas, hot peppers and sriracha will clear your sinuses and open your airways. Salsa on top of brown rice or hot peppers in your Greek salad will relieve pressure and soothe your headache.
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Magnesium is an anti-stress nutrient which reduces tension and helps you relax. Almonds, soybeans, dried figs and sesame seeds are rich in magnesium, which helps prevent headaches associated with nervousness and tension. Research found on WebMD has also shown that magnesium supplements show promise for preventing migraines.