How To Avoid Migraines

Migraines can be detrimental to all aspects of your life. If you have a pulsing headache, it can affect your productivity at work, your responsibilities as a parent, or your ability to relax during your time off. While chronic migraines may be the result of a serious medical condition, some migraines can be avoided by slightly altering your lifestyle. Taking a Tylenol or Aspirin may provide momentary relief for a migraine, but most of the time there are deeper issues at work that are causing your headaches. Small adjustments in your diet or in your daily routine can drastically reduce the amount of migraines you have and can improve your overall well-being.

Make Sure You Have a Balanced, Healthy Diet

While everyone's body is different, there are some general guidelines you can follow that will improve your body's balance of nutrients. For most people, a balanced diet of quality proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables is necessary for their bodies to function at a maximum level of performance. However, even if you have a fully balanced diet, there are still certain foods that will increase your susceptibility to migraines. These trigger foods include:

* Caffeinated beverages
* Alcoholic drinks like beer and red wine
* Aged cheeses
* Chocolate
* Processed foods like chicken nuggets
* High sodium foods like yellow rice

Specific ingredients found in your diet can also trigger a migraine after just one drink or bite. Aspartame, a common ingredient in diet soft drinks, has been proven to cause migraines, even in extremely small doses. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is often found in Asian dishes and can also quickly trigger a migraine.

Staying hydrated and eating healthy are the best ways to ensure your migraines aren't a direct result from your diet. You may even try directly targeting specific foods that contain high amounts of vitamin B, like kale, spinach, eggs, and yogurt that have been proven to prevent migraines.

Practice Stress Relief

Tension headaches and migraines can be some of the most difficult medical ailments to relieve. If you carry a lot of stress in your neck and shoulders, the muscles in those areas can tighten, causing muscular tension to pull on the back of your skull. Tension headaches can be intense and highly recurrent. The most frustrating part about tension headaches is that people who suffer from them may otherwise be living totally healthy lifestyles.

The best stress relief you can practice is some sort of relaxation technique like meditation or controlled breathing. Taking a few minutes out of your daily routine to sit down, close your eyes, and organize your thoughts can help you stay relaxed and may drastically improve your attitude for the rest of the day. Controlled breathing exercises allow your mind to solely focus on one thing, rather than on the piles of unfinished work on your desk or the list of chores you need to do when you get home. By taking time to center your thoughts and focus your mind, you can relieve stress and increase your productivity.

Exercise, Stretch, and Get Some Sleep

Keeping your body physically stimulated on a regular basis can balance out your hormones and allow your mind some much needed rest. That doesn't mean, though, that you have to be a hero in the gym every day of the week. Sometimes a little physical activity as simple as taking the dog out for a walk or doing some work in the garden can get your blood flowing and allow your mind to focus on a simple task.

If you do practice daily exercise, it's extremely important that you stretch before and after every workout. Muscles that aren't stretched may have lactic acid build up which can cause cramps, soreness, and muscular knots, all of which leads to tension and stress. By stretching out your muscles you are relieving the tension and relaxing your body. The ultimate way to relax, however, is to get some sleep. Try adhering to a regular schedule of around eight hours per night in order to wake up refreshed and ready for the day.

Peg Smith is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Ms. Smith is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to general wellness (

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