We’ve all been there. That slight ache in the back of your head, the pinch behind your eyes, tension building in the base of your spine. All tell-tale signs that a headache is looming in your future.
Headaches are organized into two distinct groups: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are identified as “stand-alone illnesses caused directly by the overactivity of, or problems, with structures in the head that are pain-sensitive.” This category includes migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches. Any other type of headache, which includes a long list, is sectioned off into the secondary headache category. These are defined by “symptoms that happen when another condition stimulates the pain-sensitive nerves of the head.” While secondary headaches don’t have individual identifiers, they are instead identified by causes such as a hangover, dehydration, concussion, a cold or flu, panic attack, or more serious issues such as brain bleeds, blood clots, or brain tumors.
While it may seem that almost anything can incur the wrath of a headache, one of the best ways to avoid one, as well as reduce the pain of a headache, is through diet. Some foods may cause headaches (think alcohol and sugar), yet others supply the body with ample minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients, which may give your brain and body what it needs to ward off headaches. Plus, if you regularly suffer from primary headaches (migraines, cluster, or tension), it’s important to incorporate neutral foods, which are known to have zero headache triggering agents.
With that said, here are fifteen nutrient-rich recipes from the Food Monster App that include headache-fighting and pain-relieving ingredients!
Source: 3-Ingredient Dark Chocolate
This 3-Ingredient Dark Chocolate recipe by Mirta Shirmohammadi is the perfect on-the-go headache relief food to keep in your purse, at your desk, or in your kitchen. Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, which happens to be used to relax the body and as one of the best migraine relief treatments.
Source: Golden Banana Milkshake
When you feel a headache coming on, it’s all about time. This headache-reducing Golden Banana Milkshake by Aryane Heroux-Blais can be made ahead of time and stored in your freezer. With inflammation-fighting agents such as turmeric and cinnamon and potassium-rich bananas and figs, this milkshake is a go-to for anyone who regularly suffers from primary headaches.
Looking for some more inflammation-fighting foods to help reduce the risk of headaches? Try some carrots! Carrots — such as in this Coconut Carrot Soup with Shiitake and Spring Onion by Ida Hemmingsson-Holl — are rich in beta-carotene, a natural anti-inflammatory.
Source: Eat the Rainbow Salad
Inflammation is so virulent when it comes to headaches, that we’re including one more anti-inflammatory recipe here! This Eat the Rainbow Salad by Katzie Guy-Hamilton not only has beta-carotene rich sweet potato, but it also includes calming chamomile tea flowers, detoxing cilantro, and healthy fat filled extra-virgin olive oil.
Source: Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green
Sometimes, when your head is aching you want something to soothe your stomach and calm your nerves. Along with being traditional southern comfort food, this Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green soup by Rachel Hanawalt incorporates collard greens, which are known as a neutral food “meaning they pose no known risk of triggering” headaches and they also happen to be another great source of calming, anti-inflammatory magnesium.
Another neutral food is kale. Yet, kale also happens to be one of the most nutrient-dense plant-based foods available. One cup of kale — such as in this Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee by Annie Oliverio — has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, and even a healthy dose of headache-friendly magnesium!
Source: Chocolate Pretzel Quinoa Bars
Quinoa is not only a gluten and wheat free plant-based food filled with nutrients, but it’s also a great neutral food to include in your headache-fighting diet. Plus, quinoa is known to be easy on the digestive tract and is a recommended food to eat during a migraine attack. To get a double dose of headache preventative plant-based nutrients, indulge in these Chocolate Pretzel Quinoa Bars by Caroline Doucet, which uses both quinoa and magnesium-rich dark chocolate.
Source: Pineapple Mojito Smoothie
Ever noticed that you seem to get more headaches when it’s particularly hot outside or when you haven’t had access to water all day? Turns out that dehydration is a leading trigger for migraines and can also cause many secondary headaches. Stay hydrated with this refreshing, tasty, and coconut water-rich Pineapple Mojito Smoothie by Julia Verkuil and Ellen Landman. Coconut water is not only incredibly hydrating, but it is also nutrient rich. This smoothie also includes detoxifying cilantro, potassium-rich bananas, and calming mint.
Source: Golden Latte
Have you ever woken up with a headache? This is possibly one of the worst ways to start your day, yet, whether it’s a hangover or a tension headache, when you awake in pain make yourself a Golden Latte by Danielle Dewar. Coffee is known for its vasodilating properties, which relaxes “the blood vessels constricted by stress and tension.” This recipe also calls for anti-inflammatory turmeric and hydrating coconut milk.
Source: Easy Avocado Hummus
Avocado is one of those superfoods that is both tasty and nutritious. When it comes to headaches, avocado fights headaches by giving you a dose of magnesium, as well as a helping of “healthy fats that stabilize blood sugar and balance hormones.” Cooking with avocado is also super easy, such as this Easy Avocado Hummus by Hayley Canning, with only eight ingredients and two simple steps!
Source: Mocha Almond Cake
Most all nuts are a rich source of … you guessed it … magnesium! We keep returning to this essential mineral as it truly is one of the best ways to lower your risk of headaches. One cup of whole almonds has a whopping 383 milligrams of magnesium! For a double dose, try this Mocha Almond Cake by Lydia Filgueras, which uses both almond milk and sliced almond garnish, plus additional headache-fighting ingredients dark chocolate and coffee.
Along with nuts, seeds are also a great source of magnesium. Plus, seeds are easy to fit into your day. Snack on them raw between meals, sprinkle them on salads or in soup or start your day with an easy fix. These Nut-Free Strawberry Vanilla Crumble Bars by Caroline Doucet ask for a whole cup of sunflower seeds, which means you’re starting your day with 150 milligrams of magnesium!
Source: Chocolate Coffee Banana Muffins
Starting your day with these Chocolate Coffee Banana Muffins by Crissy Cavanaugh is a great way to reduce your risk of headaches. They pack a powerful punch with magnesium-rich dark chocolate, potassium-rich bananas, and vasodilating coffee!
The day after a particularly bad secondary headache or any old primary headache, our bodies are searching for easy to digest, yet nutrient-rich foods. Having this Quinoa Salad with Turmeric Tahini Dressing by Kanchan Koya Ph.D. ready to go in the fridge is essential! Quinoa will ease the stomach, aid in digestion, and provide a neutral food, while turmeric will aid in decreasing inflammation.
Providing your body with the proper headache fighting nutrients is just as important as consuming pain-reducing foods in the wake of a headache. One of the best ways to get headache-fighting nutrients is by always having something on hand, such as these Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Kale Pesto by Julie Van den Kerchove. These chips pack a double punch with both neutral kale and beta-carotene rich sweet potato!
For more nutrient-rich, headache relieving foods, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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