Common Causes of Headaches and How to Avoid Them

woman with a migraine headach

Did you know that the foods you eat might be causing your migraines and headaches? Blood sugar spikes could be one of the primary causes of regular headaches. By regulating your blood sugar levels, you can avoid the blood-sugar related headaches, and have the extra benefit of feeling better overall. 

When we eat foods that are high in sugar (especially simple sugars), our pancreas secretes the all important blood sugar-regulating hormone known as insulin. This can leave you feeling exhausted. The body then secretes adrenaline hormones to give you a bit more energy. 

These hormones have many effects on the body that are responsible for that surge of energy -- including constricting blood vessels. This can trigger a chain reaction of neck and scalp muscles contracting, which often results in either a tension or migraine headache. Thus, by regulating your blood glucose levels, you can help regulate the release of adrenaline, thereby helping reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines. 

Below are 5 things you can do to take control over the frequency of your headaches and/or migraines:

1. Manage your carb intake

The body breaks down carbs into sugars, and then insulin helps your body to use and store it for energy. When you eat too many carbs, your blood glucose levels can rise. One way to do this is to have a protein-centered breakfast instead of cereal or toast. You don't need to eliminate all carbs, but it's best to prioritize protein over processed or refined carbs. 

2. Eat more fiber

Fiber slows down carb digestion and sugar absorption, which then promotes a more gradual rise in your blood sugar levels. While both insoluble and soluble fiber are important, it has been shown that soluble fiber improves blood sugar management.

3. Keep a 'headache' log.

Keep track of what you eat daily and when you're getting your headaches or migraines. For example, if you notice the onset of a headache shortly after eating bread, eliminate it for several days and see if it improves your headaches. Not everyone gets migraines from the same trigger foods, so it's crucial that you identify your triggers.

4. Shorten your eating window

While it's true that people with a history of chronic migraines are more likely to get a headache when going too long without food, recent studies are showing that after a short adjustment period, the benefits might be worth the 2 or 3 day adjustment to a shorter eating window (meaning only eating during a 6 to 10 hour period each day). The shorter eating window helps with blood sugar control, blood pressure levels, and improved insulin sensitivity. NOTE: When you break your fast each day, make sure that your breakfast contains a good amount of protein, healthy fats, and fewer carbohydrates. 

5. Eliminate added sugars

Even though migraine sufferers have different trigger foods, artificial sugars and sweets are nearly always a migraine or headache trigger. These foods cause an immediate spike in blood sugar levels and are typically void of any nutritional value. Aside from the obvious candies, sodas, and cakes, many packaged, canned, or restaurant-prepared foods contain added sugars that you might not expect. Carefully read the ingredient labels of ANYTHING you didn't prepare yourself, and you will often see sugar, artificial sugar, or corn syrup as a sneaky ingredient. 


Be sure to join my private (free) “Stop Migraines Now" Facebook group where I like to share tips like this that make life a little more enjoyable (and more productive!)  Or you can reach out to me and schedule a 15 minute call to see if you are a good fit to join my case study group on how to make migraines a thing of the past.  Gwyn's Calendar

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