Monday, June 4, 2012

Headaches and Diet

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”


Have you ever had a brain freeze from eating or drinking something to cold and to quick? Have you ever ate to much chocolate then felt a little dull pain in your forehead, or had to much cheese or soda and a migraine was triggered? How about a headache from dehydration? What about from quitting caffeine? Well, you’re not alone and if anyone ever says diet and headaches are not related, then you can ask them why and how any of the above occur.  

Some research says that a brain freeze occurs from extreme temperature change in your mouth, but that’s not totally conclusive and from a more in depth look at the internal connections of the body. The stomach and mouth are one thing and the stomach and head are intimately connected through other pathways. Did you know the saliva in your mouth is the first part of digestion that takes place, it’s full of enzymes that help breakdown food before its get to your stomach. That’s why chewing well is very important.

In general the best cure for a headache is to understand why they are occurring and to cure the root of the problem along with its painful manifestation. Medications are good for emergencies and a quick fix, but prevention is the way to go and diet is key.

First you have to ask yourself where is the headache? Is it in the front? Is it in the back of the head, above the neck? Is it at the top of the head? Is it on the sides of the head going on to the forehead or is it just directly over the temple area?

 All of these different areas are intricately connected to internal pathways, pathways that go in and out of various organs creating a web of connectivity throughout the body. Unless the headache is coming from something external as from a cold, heat exposure, invasion of dampness (exposure to cold wet weather) or even from a past physical trauma. The headache is coming from an internal imbalance that is taking place within the body.

All parts of the body are extensions of the internal organs, the forehead is an extension of the stomach, the temples and sides of the head are extensions of the liver and gall bladder, the top of the head is also and extension of the liver, and the back of the head and neck are extensions of the kidneys, bladder and gall bladder.

A frontal headache is directly diet (stomach) related, a headache on the sides has to do with blood (liver), the top can be linked to stress (liver) and the neck to a weak immune system (kidneys) or from stress (gallbladder and liver).  The liver is the biggest culprit to headaches because its energy rises directly to the head and touches the top the sides and has to do with both diet, metabolism, blood, circulation and stress.

From a western biomedical perspective the three most common headaches are Migraines, Tension headaches and Cluster headaches all of which have their own distinct ways of presenting themselves, but most of their causes are unknown. Migraines are the most understood and are thought to be due to blood vessel enlargement in the head that causes inflammation and therefore pain, but why does that happen?

One possibility is diet. Foods that are high in Tyramine such as sharp cheeses or foods high in Nitrates such as nuts and meats can be culprits. What else do these foods have in common? From a Chinese medical perspective, these foods are causes of dampness in the body. If not eaten in moderation, over time they slow down the digestive system and build up into dampness (like thick goo stuck in the system), which in turn slows down the bodies ability to function properly and will manifest as pain some where in the body. In this case the pain will appear in the head. Other forms of dampness come from excessive amounts of alcohol intake, smoking, too much dairy, also from excessive amounts of cold and raw foods like fruits and veggies. When it comes to diet, moderation is key!

Diet is more important then most people think and breakfast is the most important meal of the day! From the hours between 7 am and 11 am, the digestive system is at its highest level of functioning; eating at this time is the best, because as the day goes on digestion becomes weaker. The quote “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauperfrom Adelle Davis, is perfect in describing how to eat appropriately for the bodies own good on a daily basis.

Food through stomach and liver digestion also becomes blood. Issues like migraines and cluster headaches can arise from poor blood quality and circulation. If some one is eating sugary foods daily for breakfast, like pop tarts or donuts, the building blocks of the blood cells will be weak and circulation will be poor. Every second, 25 million cells in the human body die and the food we eat becomes the building blocks to create new cells. We literally are what we eat!

Tension headaches are more of a stress reaction, which is also liver and blood related and a good balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, which are full of vitamins, can help keep the body strong and energized to help combat stress. Headaches that affect the top of the head, the sides, and the sides of the neck are related to the liver, which controls and cleanses the blood. Green vegetables are very good for the liver. Not only do they provide great nutrients, but help strengthen the livers ability to provide good clean healthy blood and good circulation, which in the long run is good for those who lead stressful lives.

So in general diet is key and we eat every day so it is important to watch out what most of our daily diets consist of for a good healthy life. If you or some you know suffers from headaches, its good to first look at what or what not they are eating or drinking. Also, every one is different, so a good diet for one person is not necessarily a good diet for another.

Thanks for reading, I hope this has been a good informative read for you. Please leave any comments!

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