Vitamin deficiency, dehydration, inflammation and stress can all lead to one thing: headaches. These tips from Professor Kristina Petrocco-Napuli, DC, MS, FICC can help naturally lessen the intensity of headaches without the use of painkillers. As a reminder, Dr. Petrocco-Napuli says it is always best to discuss the use of vitamins and supplements with your doctor to ensure no negative interactions with other medications or health conditions.
- Find your B Vitamins. Sudden, frequent headaches can be a sign of a vitamin B deficiency, specifically B6, B12 and B9, also known as folate. Consuming foods that are rich in Vitamin B like wild salmon, leafy greens, eggs and sunflower seeds can counteract these types of headaches. A vitamin B supplement is another treatment option.
- Drink up. Many Americans drink lots of caffeinated beverages and do not focus enough on water intake, which can contribute to headaches and dehydration. This is especially true as we move in to the warmer months. Your water intake should equal half your body weight in ounces, and if you exercise a lot or are in a hot environment, you may require more than that.If you don’t like drinking plain water, infuse it with fruits like antioxidant-rich blueberries or lemon, which provide a boost of vitamin C.
- Get moving. Stretching the musculature of the back and neck and finding ways to decompress can greatly decrease tension and stress headaches. Yoga and massage therapy are two great low-impact options. Receiving care from a chiropractor may also help with muscle tension and pain in your neck and spine.
- Decrease stress. Finding time to decompress every day can not only help lessen headaches, but it can also be greatly beneficial for your mental health. Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly or participate in a calming activity.
- Try a ginger tea. For many years ginger has been used in cooking as a natural remedy for nausea, diarrhea and upset stomachs and to assist with digestion. It also has been used to calm headaches because the main compound in ginger—gingerol—has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Try the tea recipe below.
Fresh Ginger Root Tea:
- 1 teaspoon of freshly grated or finely chopped ginger root
- 1 cup of boiling water
- Honey (optional)
- Lemon (optional)
- Directions: Peel the ginger root and grate or slice finely. Place the ginger in a tea infuser. Allow the ginger to steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove the ginger. Optional: Add honey or lemon to taste.