Is Your Food Causing You To Have More Headaches And Migraines?

Everyone suffers from headaches and migraines at some time in their life, but for some people their life can be ruined by cluster headaches or chronic migraines. Although the types are physiologically different there are many similarities in the nutritional management. Other factors can also contribute to headaches and migraines.

Have small well balanced meals little and often, with small satisfying snacks is the best plan for eating. One of the most common triggers is low blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar may occasionally drop a little too low or drop too quickly which can trigger headaches and migraines. One of the worst things you can do is eat very sweet food on an empty stomach. This can cause the sugar level to rise too quickly to which the body reacts by providing more insulin, the hormone that breaks down sugar, causing the sugar level to fall again. When you feel low in sugar eat something that is both high in fibre and sweet. This could be fruit, a slice of wholemeal bread with a topping of banana or honey, roast ham or a flapjack. It is advisable to keep snacks like these readily available at work and at home.

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, or when you are dehydrated, exhausted or stressed can lead to an enormous headache or migraine the next day. Champagne and red wine which are rich in phenolic compounds are the worst offenders. Next in line is white wine which is very acidic. If you know which drinks affect you more then avoid them or drink plenty of water before, during and after. If you still wake up with a headache try a cup of dandelion tea.

Many people find that the more caffeine they drink, the greater the chance of developing a headache or migraine. Coffee is the main offender here, but caffeine is also present in tea. Caffeine intake in general should be no more than three cups of tea or coffee in a day. This should be reduced if coffee affects you adversely. If you like coffee first thing in the morning then try having it just at weekends, rather than every day. Try other hot drinks to replace coffee such as herbal tea – peppermint, camomile, cranberry and boiled water which you can add a slice of lemon. If you decide to cut caffeine out of your diet entirely, you may suffer from withdrawal headache. This may develop approximately 18 hours after your caffeine fix as your body is being deprived of toxins. You may prefer to lower your caffeine dependence cup by cup over a few days. Also having caffeine when you are hungry, stressed or totting up to ten coffees a day then having another before you go into a stressful meeting can be a trigger for headaches and migraines. This can be caffeine in tea, coffee, cola or chocolate.

There are also other foods that have also proved to be triggers in some people. The foods include processed meats, such as salami and other sausages, mangetout and the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is found in a lot of ready meals, bottled sauces, crisps and often found in Chinese food. Eating fresh food will mean that you avoid MSG.

Aged cheese can be a trigger. This includes cheddar, blue, brie, parmesan, gruyère and Swiss. Fresh cheese that hasn’t through the process of ageing is a more preferable choice. For instance farmer’s, cottage, cream, American, risotto and mozzarella.

Aged cheese contains more of a substance called Tyramine is formed in foods as they age or are fermented. It comes from the amino acid Tyrosine.

Nitrates are the substances that are added to meat products in order to give them a pink or red colour to preserve them. Unfortunately they can trigger migraines / headaches in particularly sensitive people. Nitrates are found in many sausages, chipolata, chorizo, hot dogs, salami and cooked meats such as corned beef. If you find that these trigger then avoid processed meats that are coloured red, instead try cold cuts of beef, chicken or turkey. Don’t forget to include the fish in your diet.

Lactose may be a trigger that can cause severe headaches. This occurs when the digestive system is deficient in an enzyme called lactase which breaks down lactose found in dairy products for example cream, milk, butter, yogurt, cheese and ice-cream. For many people all that needs to be done is to avoid having too many foods that are high in lactose. You need to be careful that you don’t compromise your calcium status by cutting out dairy products. Consult your own doctor if you are concerned.

Research has displayed results that the metabolism of people who suffer from migraines is slightly different from those who don’t suffer and it seems that foods that are high in copper can cause problems. These foods include shellfish, nuts, chocolate and wheatgerm found in wholemeal bread and other wholewheat products, however you would need to eat quite a lot of these coppery foods before a problem occurred. Rather than completely removing these foods from your diet just reduce the amounts you have.

Sleep is also very a important part of your health schedule, irregular sleep patterns can often contribute to migraines. Over sleeping at weekends can induce migraines as much as under sleeping due to stress. Try to get the same regular amount of sleep each night.

General Advice

Keep a diary of what you are eating and what you are doing to find out if there are any triggers. Some trigger foods can cause a migraine or headache within 20 minutes of eating it, whereas a stressful meeting wouldn’t cause a migraine for a few hours.

Body weight – try to keep your weight within the ideal range for your height. Bring overweight can adversely affect your blood pressure and this heightens the potential for migraines headaches.

Water – are you dehydrated? Dehydration commonly brings on both a headache and poor concentration.

Relax – it is vital to reduce both physical and emotional stress and taking time out each day even it’s only 15 minutes a day. You will make a great difference to your wellbeing. Even if you can’t identify that it’s stress that provokes your headaches or migraines, you should still take the stress / relaxation aspects of your life seriously.

I hope this information helps as migraines and severe headaches can have a huge impact on your life.

What Can Turmeric Do For You?

Turmeric is extremely beneficial for your health.

It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and used to help treat arthritis, cardiovascular health, diabetes and neurological conditions.

The curcumin in turmeric has proven strong anti-inflammatory properties that block the action of inflammatory molecules in the body.

Curcumin gives it its vibrant colour and is a potent antioxidant that is very effective at fighting free radicals and helps protect the skin, eyes and hair. It assists in keeping them youthful which is what we all want.

It also has anti-bacterial and cholesterol lowering properties.

Curcumin can help reduce the build up of the protein amyloid-b in the brain. Amyloid-b causes oxidative (free radical) damage and inflammation in the brain and is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants in turmeric help to fight this free radical damage.

I take turmeric as a supplement and every morning I have grated ginger and 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric in boiled water using an infuser teapot.

The bright vibrant turmeric can have many health benefits.

Enjoy your day.

What Can Going Green Do For You?

The green group of foods are great at detoxifying and antioxidant.

They help in the fight against wrinkles, which is what we all want.

They contain high levels of sulphur which is known to be good for your hair and skin.

They are also high in minerals like selenium, which boost your immune system and support your metabolism.

Selenium also assists in helping the body to absorb vitamin E.

Green foods can help regulate blood sugar levels and stop you craving sugary fatty foods so can assist with weight loss.

Green foods include:

Asparagus

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Chives

Cabbabge

kale

Kiwi Fruit

Onions

Leeks

Spinach

As you can see it is worth giving them a try when there is so many health benefits.

Karen x

Which Foods Can Help With Anxiety?

Anxiety levels can be especially high with the current situation. There is things you can do to help ease these feelings. One quick way that you can start straight away is to look at what you are eating and think about the effects the food can have on your body. When you are feeling worked up or stressed it can be easy to grab something sweet like a chocolate bar. We have all been there including myself. It might help initially, but not in the long run it will only leave you feeling worse. I am not saying never have a chocolate bar if you are feeling worked up as this would be unrealistic, just try not to do it on a regular basis.

There are some foods that can help in supporting the overall health of your nervous system.

Eggs

Eggs are fantastic and a great protein source. They are a low GI food so they can help to keep your blood sugar stable. They are also a good source of choline which is important for memory and learning.

Berries

Blueberries and blackberries are a very rich source of a group of compounds called flavonoids. These have been shown to have great effect on the cardiovascular system and, as such, may have a positive impact upon the brain. Berries cause blood vessels to relax, by stimulating the production of a chemical called nitric oxide by the vital inner skin that lines all of our blood vessels. The nitric oxide then causes the muscular walls of the blood vessels to relax, which makes the vessel wider.

Kale

Kale is one of the greatest leafy vegetables. It is very dense in magnesium, which can have a relaxing effect on the nervous system and the muscles so can really assist in relaxation during a time of high anxiety. Kale also contains iron and vitamin C so there’s an added bonus.

Cocoa

Yes you can eat chocolate!!!!! Well its the cocoa that is good for you especially for the health of your nervous system and for making you feel good. Cocoa is another good source of magnesium that can help you feel relaxed.

Lentils

Lentils are an excellent source of most of the B vitamins, so provide a multitude of benefits for the brain and nervous systems, regulating many of their important functions.

Salmon

Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids that support the health and functioning of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is involved in the immune system.

Mackerel

Like salmon, mackerel is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and also contains selenium.

Quinoa

Quinoa has a very low impact on your blood sugar and contains a substantial amount of protein. Protein further slows down the release of sugars from its own carbs.

Spinach

Spinach is a good source of magnesium and non-haem iron, both of these minerals are essential for the healthy functioning of the nervous system.

As you can see there are some foods which can have great benefits and can really help your body and how you feel. They are not difficult foods to incorporate in your daily diet. You don’t have to change it all at once, try adding one food each week. Small changes are easier to manage and don’t make you feel overwhelmed.

Karen x

Are You Always Feeling Hungry?

At the moment I think this is a common feeling amongst most people especially if you are at home.

It is so easy to keep going back to your kitchen for more snacks.

It is better to tackle the problem of feeling hungry the natural way. Try to avoid appetite suppressants and diet pills.

Here is some ways that could help:

Eat Enough Protein

Do you get sugar dips especially around 3:30 in an afternoon? You can hear the refrigerator calling your name!!!

Try including more protein in your meals. A high carbohydrate meal can make your energy and blood sugar levels peak and trough. By increasing the amount of protein on your plate, you will help your body convert carbohydrates to sugar more slowly. Try to ensure that 30% of your meal is protein such as chicken, fish, chickpeas, fish and quinoa, snack on nuts, eggs and cheese.

Eat More Fibre

High fibre foods will keep you feeling fuller for longer after your meal. Foods such as brown rice, bran and oats contain soluble fibre, which acts like a sponge and soaks up moisture in the stomach. The fibre swells up making you feel fuller for longer and also helps to release sugars slowly to prevent energy dips. You can also try high fibre apples, avocados, beans, broccoli, nuts and seeds. I do understand it is more about what is in your cupboards at the moment.

Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, sweets and biscuits are high on the glycaemic index and release their sugars into your system quickly giving a short term energy fix. This is why they leave you feeling hungry again. Choose fibre-rich wholegrains to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Break Bad Habits

Are you really hungry? When we are tired, bored, stressed or upset we often feel the need to eat. This type of food craving is psychological. Habitual eating such as wanting a dessert after your tea is also known as psychological eating. Another type of craving is physiological, when you are feeling low on energy or feel light-headed, you crave something to satisfy the need quickly, such as biscuits or chocolate. Having an apple or some nuts and seeds would fill the void in the same way and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Try to have healthy snacks in between your meals to avoid the feeling. Tis should stabilise your blood sugar and shouldn’t experience the hunger pangs as your body knows it won’t be starved.

Keep Hydrated

The brain recognises thirst and hunger as similar sensations. Before you grab something to eat think when did you last have a drink. Try drinking a glass of water and waiting 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry. Try to drink 2 litres of water over the day. this will also stop overeating.

Increase Your Exercise

Exercise helps to prevent cravings and curbs your appetite. Aerobic exercise in particular has been proven to trigger the release of the appetite-suppressing hormone peptide YY. Exercise helps to control blood sugar and the body’s insulin response. Just ensure you eat something nutritious after exercise for example a boiled egg or oatcakes within 30 minutes of exercising, this will help your body to recover. I understand at the moment it is a bit more difficult, but can go out for a run or a daily walk. If you have exercise equipment at home use that or go on YouTube. If there is a will there is a way!!

Even though it is a bit more difficult at the moment you can still help yourself to stop feeling hungry.

Karen x

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How To Help Your Immune System

This so important at the minute!!!

Your immune system can weaken at times, but you can give it a good boost!!

So here is what you can do to help………

Protein

Protein is the building block for many of the immune system’s key players such as antibodies and the white bloods that search out and destroy germs. Many protein foods are great sources of zinc, iron and many of the B vitamins which are essential for a strong immune system.

Make sure you are eating lean meat, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs, yogurt and other foods that are high in protein.

Pumpkin Seeds

Just 1/2 a cup of pumpkin seeds contains around 5mg of zinc, which one of the most vital nutrients for overall immune function. You can roast pumpkin seeds in the oven for 15 minutes at 150.

Brazil Nuts

These are a fantastic source of the immunity-supporting anti-oxidant mineral selenium. When you are low on selenium your white blood cells are slower to kill off microbes. Selenium also protects from free radical damage. Getting enough selenium rejuvenates immune cells so they are able to fight off the germs. All you need to have is 1 or 2 brazil nuts per day. If you are catching cold going then increase slightly.

Yogurt With Active Cultures

About 70 per cent of your body’s immune cells reside in the gut, so it just goes to show that a healthy gastrointestinal tract means a healthy immune system. Make sure you check the label on the yogurt for Lactobacillus acidophilus friendly bacteria. The more friendly bacteria you have, the less likely you are to be attacked by the nasty bugs. If you buy a live plain yogurt it will be low in sugar as well.

Cup Of Tea

The majority of us like a good cup of tea and now you have a reason to have one. If you haven’t tried green tea or you have and don’t like it, well this might just change your mind. Green tea is a major store house of immunity-boosting compounds including antioxidants like EGCG. Even black tea appears to have some immunity-enhancing properties.

Garlic

A very good friend of the immune system is garlic especially when you eat it raw. It has strong antibacterial properties. It is also good at fighting viruses. Its sulphur compounds are rich in antioxidants. Chop or crush your garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes to fully release the compounds healing potential.

Fruit And Vegetables

Eat a variety of colourful fruit and vegetables as they are a powerhouse of antioxidants, substances that our immune systems need in vast quantities especially when we are unwell or under stress. Stress and sickness increase the body’s production of the rogue, cell-attacking molecules known as free radicals. the damage these do makes us more susceptible to infections, which then means more free radicals. Antioxidants help break this cycle. Try to make sure you have a variety your immune system will thank you for it and so will your bosses when you aren’t always off work with illness.

As you can see it is definitely worth thinking about what you are eating.

Don’t forget to keep drinking water. I start the day with a cup of boiled water and finish the day with a cup of boiled water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey.

Karen x