• Headaches can be caused by lifestyle factors that are easily avoided. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Are everyday habits causing you headaches?
Jody Phan

8 Apr 2016 - 1:30 PM  UPDATED 8 Apr 2016 - 1:30 PM

Headaches and migraines could indicate serious underlying health issues, but more often than not, they can be caused by lifestyle factors that can be avoided. Here are some ways to stop your head from throbbing.

Drink more

Water, that is. Dehydration occurs when your body loses water and electrolytes needed to function normally. As a result, your blood vessels narrow, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which can trigger headaches. So even if you’re not working out intensely, make sure to drink the recommended amount of water throughout the day — about 2.1L for women and 2.6L for men.

Hold the ham

If you’re eating a lot of cured meats such as salami or ham, as well as pickled and dried foods, it may be the reason your head hurts. These foods contain synthetic preservatives called nitrites and nitrates, which may dilate blood vessels and trigger headaches. Delicious as they may be, you might want to cut down on the daily bacon and egg rolls you've been having for breakfast.

Don’t (completely) give up caffeine

Going cold turkey on caffeine could be the cause of your headaches. If you’re a daily coffee drinker and suddenly stop having your dose of caffeine, the withdrawal symptoms, which include lack of energy, drowsiness, irritability and headaches, can be painful. Gradually decreasing your caffeine intake will help lessen the withdrawal symptoms, while increasing your intake of fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables will give you the natural energy needed to get through the day.

Anger triggers our fight or flight mechanism, which releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and results in the constriction of blood vessels and decreased oxygen to the brain.

Get your eyes checked

If you find yourself straining to focus, it may be time to see an optometrist. Squinting can cause tension around the forehead and eyes, leading to unwanted headaches. Even if you already wear glasses or contacts, your eyes may have changed over time and you may need to update your prescription.

Be scent-sible

One of the most common synthetic compounds found in perfumes and air fresheners is benzyl alcohol, which can cause headaches as well as nausea. Be mindful of spraying perfumes and colognes, especially around others as some might experience these symptoms.

Let your hair down

That tight ponytail might be a contributing factor when it comes to headaches. Having your hair pulled back too tight causes unnecessary tension and cause more pain than it’s worth.

Chill out

The many ways our bodies react to anger can result in physical strain. Anger triggers our fight or flight mechanism, which releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and results in the constriction of blood vessels and decreased oxygen to the brain. This, along with tensed muscles can lead to a debilitating headache. Regular exercise and calming practices such as yoga can help release muscle tension as well as relieve stress and anger.

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