As summer heats up, many people are spending a lot of time enjoying outdoor activities. But how much fun can the season’s activities be if one is suffering from chronic headaches? Research shows that about one in five people suffer from headaches. That is significant. The other significant fact is that many health professionals believe that 80-90 percent of chronic headaches are connected to a food sensitivity or allergy. If you find yourself frequently reaching for that extra-large bottle of aspirin recognize that, while it relieves the pain temporarily, it does not address the underlying cause or prevent headaches from recurring. In contrast, eating the right foods can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. Here are five food choices that will likely help you reduce the number and frequency of your headaches.

  1. Black Beans– Most beans are high in magnesium and black beans have the highest amount, at 120 mg per serving. Magnesium is nature’s perfect muscle relaxer and helps relieve tension throughout the body, whether it is in the blood vessels as high blood pressure, in legs as charley horses and restless leg syndrome or in the head, neck and shoulders as tension headaches.


  1. Kale – Kale and other leafy greens have vitamin B2, otherwise known as riboflavin. This nutrient may be used for the prevention of severe and migraine headaches. Riboflavin is shown to prevent headaches caused by impaired oxygen metabolism.


  1. Hydrating foods – Hydrating foods like stews, soups, whole grains, vegetables and fruits can help prevent and relieve headaches. Dehydration is a common but often overlooked trigger of headaches; it causes your blood vessels to narrow, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the brain and causing headaches. Besides drinking more water, eating hydrating foods daily will keep you hydrated.


  1. Olive oil – The monounsaturated fats in olive oil, have been shown to reduce the frequency, duration and severity of headaches. These fats reduce inflammation in the brain which often triggers or aggravates headaches. Replace highly-refined vegetable oils like corn or soybean oil with olive oil.


  1. Avoid foods that cause you problems. Studies show that at least 80% of headaches are due to food sensitivities, so you need to learn which foods negatively affect your body. A big offender for many people is sulfites, which are found in dried fruit, wine, beer, baked goods, soup mixes, shellfish and many condiments. A common reaction to this chemical compound is headaches. Since sulfites naturally occur in some foods, they are not always labeled on food packaging. Thus, it may be necessary for severe headache sufferers to remove most packaged foods from their diet.


Smart food choices like the ones just described can help keep you headache-free, or at least minimize these potentially debilitating experiences. Make these changes to your eating plan and you will love the way you feel!