Trigger foods: Pickles, cured meats, aged cheeses
Healing foods: Coffee, watermelon, cucumber
‘Headaches are caused by a multitude of foods and everyone should investigate their individual triggers,’ says nutritional therapist Vicki Lee. Common headache triggers include high-histamine foods such as aged cheeses, cured meats, red wine, pickles, sauerkraut and yoghurt. Lee recommends that headache sufferers follow an elimination-diet plan to work out which foods in their diets may be the culprits for triggering headaches. Try to eat only known non-offenders for two weeks, then slowly add in one suspect food at a time to see which sets off the pain.
You can also turn to some foods and drinks that may help counter the effects of headaches. Coffee both reduces pain-promoting compounds and amplifies the effects of other pain relievers, but only if you consume it regularly and steadily. If you suddenly have five cups (or none) in a morning, when you usually drink two, coffee can have the opposite effect, probably causing a headache.
Nutrition coach Marissa Vicario also recommends adding more water-dense foods to your diet, because dehydration is a common cause of headaches, particularly among runners. Top hydrating foods include watermelon, celery and cucumber.