Did you know that more than 80% of women experience headaches in their reproductive ages, making it one of the most common symptoms during pregnancy?
Pregnant women experience different kinds of bodily changes during pregnancy and various factors can lead to headaches. Although headaches are not harmful, they can cause discomfort.
|Managing headaches can be quite tricky, especially when you are advised to avoid medications during the first trimester. But don’t worry there are natural ways to overcome these headaches. Have you ever thought that your diet can play an important role in preventing these headaches?|
Yes! Plant-based diets can be an excellent solution to control your headache triggers. Headaches may be caused due to different triggering factors during pregnancy. For example they may be caused due to hormonal changes, emotional stress, fatigue, increased hunger levels, low blood sugar levels etc. Some women who suddenly stop drinking coffee may have headaches due to caffeine withdrawals and others may experience headaches due to nausea, vomiting and dehydration.
Here are some plant-based foods you can consider, to help fight your headaches:
Bananas are a rich source of potassium and help to provide instant energy to overcome fatigue due to pregnancy. They contain carbohydrates, fibres and sugars such as sucrose, glucose and fructose which are rapidly metabolized in the body. They also help in smooth digestion as they contain fibres which ease the process.
Bananas can be eaten as a raw fruit directly, can be added into smoothies, cereals or mixed fruit bowls of your choice.
- Cruciferous vegetables (Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage etc)
Cruciferous vegetables are formed from plants which contain flowers with four petals forming the shape of a “crucifer”. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc contain antioxidants, fibre and good amounts of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are organic compounds which stimulate enzymes to eliminate toxins, regulate hormone levels and maintain hormonal balance.
Cruciferous vegetables can be eaten as salads or can be added to your smoothies/juices.
- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and protein. Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining blood pressure, which is one of the triggering factors of headaches during pregnancy.
A mixed combination of nuts and seeds including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds can be taken. They can be used as small snackings to prevent excess hunger.
Legumes are excellent sources of plant-based proteins, they are rich in fibres and essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium. These components help to ease the digestion process. Digestive problems such as bloating and constipation can often cause headaches during pregnancy.
Some common legumes which you can include in your diet are green peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans etc. These can be boiled and eaten alone or can be added to dishes of your choice.
During pregnancy your body requires more amount of fluids than normal, as you have a growing baby. Dehydration is another common cause of headaches during pregnancy. It can occur due to low water intake, loss fluids due to vomiting etc. Therefore it is important to stay hydrated.
Watermelons provide maximum hydration among most fruits due to 92% of water content in them. They contain important nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium. Eating watermelons gives you a feeling of fullness with a low-calorie content, which may help to curb your hunger and also prevent dehydration.
These are some simple foods that you can include in your plant-based diets. Plant-based diets not only provide you with the required nutrients but also help you deal with common pregnancy symptoms like headaches. So what are you waiting for? Try these plant-based foods and free yourself from these disturbing headaches during your pregnancy!
- Dixit A, Bhardwaj M, Sharma B. Headache in Pregnancy: A Nuisance or a New Sense?. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012; 1-11.
- Marcus D, Scharff L, Turk D. Longitudinal Prospective Study of Headache During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 1999;39(9):625-632.
- Higdon J, Delage B, Williams D, Dashwood R. Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007; 55(3):224-236.
- Sader E, Rayhill M. Headache in Pregnancy, the Puerperium, and menopause. Semin Neurol. 2018; 38(06):627-633.
- Potassium and Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know
- 15 Plant-Based Recipes to Help Alleviate Headaches