The Food Connection to Headaches and Migraines

November 17, 2019

Have you ever woken up with a miserable headache? Or do you feel like your head starts to throb around 3 o’clock in the afternoon? If you or a family member struggle with headaches or migraines, we’ll be sharing five common causes of headaches plus some simple solutions to help you avoid getting a headache, and avoid taking pain medication that can negatively affect your body when taken over a long period of time.

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JOANN: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a miserable headache or do you feel like your head starts to throb around three o'clock in the afternoon? Or do you get a migraine after having a glass of red wine? Especially when you've nibbled on your favorite cheese with some favorite crackers while drinking that glass of wine? So if you or a family member is struggling with headaches or migraines, we want to share some of the triggers for headaches or migraines and some possible solutions today. I'm Joann Ridout. I'm a Registered Dietitian and for many, many years I've helped countless numbers of people become headache-free. Joining me in studio this morning is our co-host, Carolyn Hudson, who's also a long-time Registered Dietitian. And not only has Carolyn helped numerous clients reduce their headaches, but she's recently authored a new class about headaches, which will be ready to present in the upcoming coming year. I can't wait to see that new class.


CAROLYN: Well good morning everyone. As I was pulling this class together, I discovered there's so much information to know about headaches. There are different types of headaches, the causes of headaches and some nutritional solutions to help reduce that frequency of getting those headaches. There's just a whole lot of information about headaches out there, but one thing is very clear. Headaches are miserable, aren't they, Joann?


JOANN: They sure are. They are. So of course in one hour we're not going to be able to share all of Carolyn's research, but we do want to share the five common causes of headaches and some simple solutions. Our goal is to help you learn how to avoid getting a headache so you don't have to take some kind of pain medication, which can negatively affect your body when taken over a long period of time.


CAROLYN: Yeah. By far the most common cause of headaches is having low blood sugar.


JOANN: That's right.


CAROLYN: I'm sure listeners have heard us talk about low blood sugar. So if your head starts to throb about, you know, three o'clock in the afternoon, it could be from that low blood sugar. These days, you know, everyone seems to be so busy. Some of my clients, and I got to admit in the past, this was me too: we work right through lunch and then, oh, three o'clock comes around. What happens? We, our blood sugar starts to really drop. It dips below that 70. And our brains then become deficient in that sugar or glucose that our brain needs to function. And what happens? We get a headache and we feel tired and we're probably a little bit spacey. You know, kind of in one of those foggy afternoons, right? So some of us have very sensitive blood sugar-regulating genes. And for some individuals that blood sugar can swing high and then go low. I always refer to it as that roller coaster ride; blood sugar ride, right? So actually very high blood sugar levels and very low blood sugar levels can both result in a headache.


JOANN: Right. And it’s important to know that these blood sugar drops don't just happen in the afternoon. They can happen anytime when we've gone too long without eating. So a good example is if you skip breakfast, it's very possible that your blood sugar or your glucose level may drop about 11 o'clock in the morning. And you will feel a lightness in your head, your neck muscles, maybe this start of a headache. I know sometimes if I get up early and get started in a project at home and get sidetracked, you know, I might start having that little bit of a headache and that reminds me to eat because I know it's my blood sugar, and then I eat right away.


CAROLYN: Right, right. That could happen very easily, right? If you have… another one that might happen is if you have a really early dinner and then don't have an evening snack, a headache might actually occur somewhere, you know, three, 3:30 in the morning. And suddenly your brain, you know, it's deficient again in that glucose and that's going to cause you to wake up, and oftentimes you may have a headache. And then of course, how, how are you going to get back to sleep with a headache? So we recommend eating a snack before bedtime, preferably about, you know, half a cup of fresh fruit and some healthy fat. I, I love, you know, peanut butter and my apple. That's kind of one of my go-tos all the time.


JOANN: That's a quick one.


CAROLYN: Yeah. You could also do a half an apple with almond butter or something like that or blueberries and some heavy whipping cream.




CAROLYN: That's going to do the trick, right? So usually a small serving of fruit plus one of those natural, healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar level above that 70 mark. And you're going to be able to stay asleep and be free of those nasty headaches.


JOANN: That's right. And that low blood sugar causes headaches; because we need a constant supply of glucose to the brain for it to function properly. And when your glucose level drops, the brain is one of the first organs to be affected. So lack of glucose to the brain can cause severe pain and pressure and that can lead to a headache.


CAROLYN: So, and I'm sure many of you are thinking, you know, “So what are some of the common causes of low blood sugar?” A couple of the common causes are, well number one: we just talked about kind of skipping meals or you know, going too long between meals and snacks. So that would be probably at least longer than two and a half hours. Sometimes I can go four.


JOANN: Yeah.


CAROLYN: But you know, I prefer doing kind of the three, three and a half: right in there. But everybody's different. So we have to kind of figure that out on our own, right? So, and as I previously mentioned, some people have very sensitive blood sugar regulating-genes. And those people might need to eat, you know, almost every two hours.


JOANN: And I think those people generally know it because when they come in and we're doing a meal plan, they'll say, “I don't know if I can go three hours”. Then we just kind of dial that in and individualize it. So some medications can affect blood sugar balance. And certainly a number of blood pressure meds affect our blood sugar balance. So if you are diabetic or prediabetic, you know some of those oral medications for type-two diabetes or insulin resistance can lower your blood sugar far too much. And that can create a low blood sugar to the brain situation; so some of those undesirable effects are headaches and brain fog.


CAROLYN: Yeah, I call it, you know, kind of spacey.


JOANN: Definitely.


CAROLYN: So listeners, I really, I have a question for you. Have you ever been on a low-calorie starvation-type, you know, weight loss diet and kept getting headaches, and having maybe some anxiety even? So for many people that intermittent fasting results in headaches, so we have to be aware of that. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we believe that you will experience better weight loss, better moods, better memory, and fewer headaches if you try to eat three to four ounces of protein, a couple cups of vegetables and again, that healthy fat: about a tablespoon of healthy fat every three hours.


JOANN: You know, I have a quick story about intermittent fasting because one of my clients took it a little too far and was going about 18 to 20 hours in her long stretch overnight, which stretched into most of the day. She ended up spiking with a high cortisol level and ended up gaining weight instead of losing weight, which was her goal.


CAROLYN: Oh, wow. She was stressing out her body wasn’t she?


JOANN: You have to be careful with that and some people try to do it for like 12 hours, 14 hours, which is generally okay. But you know, going too long is a problem.


CAROLYN: Yeah, definitely. It is a problem.


JOANN: And I think it's time to take a break.


CAROLYN: Almost time here. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. At this present time we are living in an environment with 80,000 toxic chemicals, and very few have been tested for long-term impact on our health. According to the Environmental Working Group, most of the babies born this year had 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord.




CAROLYN: Yeah, that, that, that statistic is amazing, isn't it? So if a newborn has 287 known toxins in their umbilical cord or body, how many do you think we have as adults? And how do these toxic chemicals affect us? In many different ways I'm sure. So here are a few examples: it could be skin rashes; it could be weight gain; cancer might be one of them; auto-immune disorders; and our topic today: it could be a headache. So we recommend that you eat organic: Organic meats, vegetables, fruits and fat to limit your exposure to these toxic chemicals. And we'll be right back.




JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We were just talking about some statistics I thought was very interesting and bears repeating. So from the Environmental Working Group: found the umbilical cord of newborn babies contains almost 300 known toxins. I didn't… that's just shocking bit of information.


CAROLYN: Think about that!


JOANN: So thinking about that, what about the toxic load adults have? What would the toxic load be for an infant exposed to lead either from paint or from drinking water? And in the year 2015 a research study was published that said “if a child has an increase of lead in his or her blood levels from 10 parts per billion to a hundred parts per billion, their IQ could drop by seven points.” Isn't that amazing?


CAROLYN: Yeah. And we recently had that whole thing going on at one of the companies here where the employees were bringing home lead led into their homes from their work environment.


JOANN: Right.


CAROLYN: And they, all the children were testing positive, so yeah.


JOANN: Scary. So lead is just one contaminant. However, our tap water often contains many other forms of contaminants such as mercury, arsenic, prescription drug residue, and numerous other toxic chemicals. I've recently heard a podcast where they said in one gallon of tap water that it was, was like equivalent to one prescription Xanax.


CAROLYN: Oh my gosh.


JOANN: I was shocked by that. And you know, I don't know where the information came from. I was shocked by it. But I've also read recently about birth control residue being in the tap water just in general because so many people are taking birth control. It’s just in our water.


CAROLYN: Yeah, it's in our water and we pee it out. Right?


JOANN: Yeah, and that's another scary topic. What are we drinking, right? So we encourage everyone to drink only filtered water from glass containers. Filtered water along with organic foods is a very effective detoxing agent. And as a dietitian, I encourage my clients to drink probably on average about three quarts of filtered water a day for better weight loss. Water not only helps with weight loss, but it's also a very inexpensive detoxifier. We have a great podcast that I recommend you listen to. It's called What’s in My Tap Water, and it can be found on our website under February 18 of 2018. It's called What's in My Tap Water? Great podcast.


CAROLYN: Yeah. Just go to our website at Nutritional Weight & Wellness and click on podcasts, right?


JOANN: Yep; great resource. So we've been talking about migraine headaches this morning. And we have innumerable testimonials to prove it. I believe we need to get away from always thinking about diet and weight loss and we need to change our thinking to “how can I eat and drink to keep my body healthy and avoid those chronic diseases”? You know, the Europeans have become very savvy in protecting the quality of their foods and their focus on eating beneficial foods to support their health. They don't allow some of the toxins in their foods. They're just not there because they've never allowed trans fats. They've never allowed genetically modified items to enter the food.


CAROLYN: And I think they've outlawed some of the pesticides and herbicides that we're using. I often have clients that go to Europe and eat food that they couldn't eat here and don’t have any reaction.


JOANN: I've had the same experience.


CAROLYN: It’s very interesting, isn't it?


JOANN: Right. So those European countries interestingly have half the obesity rate of the United States. So think about that: half the obesity rate of the United States and far less toxins.


CAROLYN: Yeah, that's very interesting.


JOANN: It is a pretty interesting correlation. So eating to keep your blood sugar balanced is so critical for long-term health.


CAROLYN: So Joann, let's move onto another common cause of headaches. And that would be food sensitivities. So yes, it's true. Food sensitivities can cause headaches and migraines in many people… I would say a lot of my clients have food sensitivities that cause headaches and migraines. So earlier in the show we mentioned red wine and aged cheese, of course. And then maybe even on some crackers. So we've got, you know, those aged things like the aged cheese and crackers would be the gluten. And those could be all triggers for a headache. So what are some of the other foods that can cause headaches for many people? Some of those foods would include chocolate and then those crackers: the gluten in the crackers; milk or dairy products, yogurt, cashews, coffee, even eggs in some people. And of course, I think a lot about those artificial sweeteners, you know? And again, I got to go back to that aged cheese because I know a lot of people who don't put that correlation together.


JOANN: Right; right. So when I'm working with a client who is experiencing headaches, one of the other foods I always start by having them eliminate not only the gluten grains, but the artificial sweeteners; also corn products.


CAROLYN: Yeah, corn can be a trigger.


JOANN: Absolutely. It definitely is for me. And I start with those corn products. But why might those corn products, those corn chips or corn muffins cause those headaches? Nearly all corn today is genetically modified. So we do know that. So that means Roundup; glyphosates. On top of that, the corn crops are sprayed with pesticides. So last week we learned that these chemicals are estrogenic. That means they can create inflammation of the brain. They're creating inflammation of the body. If you grab a few corn chips like Fritos, Sun Chips or any corn tortilla chips, or a handful of popcorn or corn nuts, you may run the risk of getting a headache. So with that said, if you want to avoid getting a headache, we recommend that one step you take is to eliminate all corn products.


CAROLYN: Yeah, definitely. It's always worth a try, right?


JOANN: Exactly.


CAROLYN: You know, experiment a little bit with that. So in many of our shows we have talked about eliminating those gluten grains. And we know for many people, gluten is another source of inflammation. Some of our clients who have been successful in totally eliminating gluten from their diet are now headache free and they feel great. You know, most people even lose weight when they switched to eating vegetables and fruit from their processed grain-type diet. You know, so that would be like toast for breakfast or a muffin for a morning snack or a sandwich for lunch. Sadly, just one slice of wheat bread can have a negative effect on the intestinal track for; get this, up to nine months after eating it.


JOANN: Exactly.


CAROLYN: So if gluten gives you a migraine or any kind of a headache, it is necessary for you to stay 100% gluten free. And Joann, I have a little story.


JOANN: Go ahead.


CAROLYN: I have a relative who is so sensitive to gluten. She's Catholic. She can't do the hosts on Sunday. She finds just one Sunday will put her in a tizzy, you know, for a long time. So you know, she has to request the gluten-free hosts or she just abstains from a taking the host.


JOANN: Wow, that's pretty interesting. So, it's also interesting; I was talking to a colleague last weekend. And she was talking about just an example of this: what you just said. The gluten can stay in your intestinal tract for up to nine months. She was talking about even… so even you know, taking that the next step. Even if you cheat on something, you know, maybe a little something at Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter; that's only like three times a year. It can make your body feel like you always have gluten in it. Isn't that a different way to think about it?


CAROLYN: Definitely.


JOANN: So for myself, I figured out many symptoms that I have that gluten is causing… done this by trial and error. So I can have patches of itchy skin like eczema. I can also have an upset stomach soon after eating gluten. Also I can have some back pain or knee pain, hip pain. That arthritis can set in from eating gluten. And like I said, I figured it out by trial and error. It is just not worth it to slip in those things and be miserable after. Isn’t that true?


CAROLYN: So time for our next break here already. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And I want to remind you to take one of our $10 classes that are available for the remainder of November to help you stay inspired. And to feast on real food that is chemical-free and good for you, and of course tastes great too. Remember to avoid adding in any processed carbs or sugary type foods that contain damaged fats. We are offering five popular 90-minute classes for only $10 through next Friday, November 22. Call (651) 699-3438 to register or sign up online And we'll be right back.




JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. The longer I practice as a dietitian, the more I realize nutrition is about so much more than just weight loss. Today, one in eight women will experience breast cancer, so even thin women might experience breast cancer. So it's not only the extra weight that's causing cancer. Many other things: heart disease, autoimmune disorders, mental health issues. So as a society, it's time we give nutrition its due respect. Somehow we need to buy and eat quality foods that are necessary to maintain our good health. All in all, we need to know more and demand toxic-free food. Some people are so surprised when I mention toxins in food just casually.


CAROLYN: What do you mean?


JOANN: What are you talking about? And I mean, outside of work. Inside of work, nobody's surprised, but... We invite you to take these classes with us and share our Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts. We have a simple food plan: eat real food in balance. Education is a powerful change agent.


CAROLYN: Yeah. I just love it when we have like these light bulbs go off, you know, in our classes or even when we're doing our one-on-one counseling, you know, they're like “Really?”


JOANN: Right.


CAROLYN: “Wow, that's so interesting.” Or “That's all I have to do is eat real food?”


JOANN: Yeah, exactly.


CAROLYN: So getting back to our topic about headaches and migraines, many of my clients are sensitive to MSG or monosodium glutamate. So MSG is a flavor enhancer and it's commonly added to Chinese food or it's in a lot of canned soups or flavored chips or snacks. fast food and processed meat. You know, so many people for many people that MSG triggers a headache or a migraine. It also makes many people hungry.




CAROLYN: Yeah. So they want to eat more. So if you're sensitive to this chemical, you need to be constantly kind of on the lookout because MSG, even though it's actually been banned here. I think what 1998 maybe was it?


JOANN: It was a long time ago.


CAROLYN: It was a while ago. But it's hidden in many different words; so some of the words that are for MSG that I often see on labels are sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extract, gourmet powder, Chinese seasoning. And then whenever you see the word hydrolyzed, you need to say, “Oh, that's like MSG” that acts... All of those things act like MSG in your body and can trigger that headache. So all of these and, actually there's many other words there are in there that are used.


JOANN: Right. And you as you were listing those off, I was thinking about natural flavors.


CAROLYN: Oh yes!


JOANN: Because natural flavors can, and that not necessarily, but it can be just kind of a cover up for all kinds of things that could include MSG.


CAROLYN: Right, right. So we have, we have to be on the lookout.


JOANN: We do.


CAROLYN: We tell all our clients: read those ingredients. Read the labels.


JOANN: Absolutely. I always tell my mom that. Stop reading the advertising on the front of the package.




JOANN: And flip it over and read the back.


CAROLYN: Right; exactly.


JOANN: So how do I avoid getting exposed to MSG? It's really hard. You really have to watch closely. And I eat real food. I cook my own food. That's so important. I want to know what ingredients are in my food. So I make my own. I avoid processed foods or fast foods. And if MSG is a flavor enhancer, do I want to eat that food that needs a chemical to make it taste better?




JOANN: Not really.


CAROLYN: No, no. And you know, just use, you know, salt and pepper and some herbs and other spices, you know?


JOANN: It’s so easy to do that. So when you eat organic vegetables and fruit, don't you find that it does not need a flavor enhancer? It's the same with a hundred percent grass-fed meat. That real food, especially organic, real food, tastes so good on its own without any chemical flavor enhancers. And I've noticed that if I accidentally eat MSG in a restaurant, one thing that happens to me is I have trouble sleeping.


CAROLYN: Oh wow.


JOANN: So it will affect me in the middle of the night where I've got my, you know, brain's a little revved up. And it’s just like, oh, there must be some MSG in the food I ate in the restaurant tonight because we don't know what’s seasoning our food if you're eating out.


CAROLYN: Yeah, definitely not. And they're, they're using a lot of packaged things in restaurants. So we have to really be cautious when we're eating out, especially if we're sensitive to some of those chemicals.


JOANN: That's right. My mom actually has heart palpitations if she eats Chinese food. And I've had her tell me before, “Well I forgot to ask for no MSG.”


CAROLYN: Yeah, I kind of get flushed, you know? And so I'm always really, really careful; so another chemical that often sets off a migraine or headache are those artificial sweeteners, you know, and aspartame is one of those. So if you look on a grocery shelf; grocery store shelf, you are going to find aspartame in so many of those low-calorie, diet, low-fat, you know, and all those, those you know, no sugar foods.




CAROLYN: In fact, aspartame is found in over 6,000 food products as well as diet soft drinks, diet sport drinks, iced tea, fruit drinks. And it's also in gum.


JOANN: Yeah.


CAROLYN: And breath mints.


JOANN: Yeah.


CAROLYN: I am shocked sometimes people don't know that.


JOANN: Right.


CAROLYN: So I remember drinking Kool-Aid, you know, and little did I know there was a link to migraines and those aspartame-sweetened Kool-Aids. I do know that diet soda causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Isn't that interesting? And people don't really realize that one either.


JOANN: That’s right.


CAROLYN: And of course, then what happens? We're going to have some weight gain going on there for many, many people. So those diet soda drinkers, if you're trying to lose weight, you really need to cut that habit out. I had a client actually who stopped drinking her three cans of soda a day, Joann, and she dropped 10 pounds in one month.


JOANN: That's really great success. And just to put an exclamation point on the breath mints and the gum that you talked about. I have so many people say, “Well, I never do diet soda, so I'm not; I'm not getting any aspartame”.


CAROLYN: Yeah. “I don't do those artificial sweeteners.”


JOANN: But they might do some flavor drops in their water. Some people don't realize that has aspartame. And then also the breath, the gum and the breath mints. Those… they're just not realizing.




JOANN: So we have to be really careful.


CAROLYN: We do. Yeah.


JOANN: So how does aspartame cause migraines? Aspartame can elevate the levels of phenylalanine and aspartic acid in the brain. So these compounds can reduce the production and release of some of the key neurotransmitters: those brain chemicals: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are necessary for a well-functioning and pain-free brain. So people that are deficient in dopamine often have a low pain tolerance. Dopamine and norepinephrine help us focus. They give us energy and the desire to accomplish tasks and be productive. The neurotransmitter, serotonin helps us feel calm, happy, and peaceful. So our brain needs all three of these neurotransmitters to function well. And aspartame can interfere with the production of these brain chemicals or neurotransmitters. So we may en end up experiencing depression, low mental energy, lack of focus and migraines.


CAROLYN: So aspartame is also a chemical stressor on our adrenal glands and that's going to result in higher cortisol levels. And when people have that elevated cortisol levels, again, they end up gaining weight. So cortisol is like that stress indicator, right? So when your cortisol level goes up, your body's in some kind of a stress.


JOANN: That's right. And we have had… I've had clients go in and have some of those hormone levels tested, including cortisol, and are very surprised to see those cortisol levels raising.


CAROLYN: Yeah. They often come in and say, “Well, what's that about?”


JOANN: Of course they're gaining weight.


CAROLYN: So it's time for…


JOANN: Another one.


CAROLYN: Another break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our topic today has been the food connection to headaches and migraines. So if you are struggling with frequent headaches or migraines, come on in to Nutritional Weight & Wellness and get some help. During our first appointment with you, we spend two hours listening to you and asking questions to determine what your headache or migraine triggers are, and how we can help you shut those down and reduce the frequency; hopefully get rid of them altogether. We look at the intestinal connection to those headaches or migraines, the sleep connection to headaches or migraines, the blood sugar connection to headaches and migraines, and the food sensitivity to headaches and migraines; or maybe the stress connection to those headaches and migraines. I'm really proud to say that we have amazing success rate. You know, life is so much more enjoyable when you are headache free. So come on in and see one of us. We'll help you. And we'll be right back.




JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. There are many different topics or types of headaches and migraines. And the treatment is different for every type and for every person. So a one-on-one consultation is the best answer. Many health insurance companies cover nutritional therapy. So I encourage you to check out your health insurance plan. If you have any questions, call us and we will be happy to investigate that for you. Also, I'd like to mention that next week join Kara and Leah as they discuss how food can help ADD and ADHD symptoms. So we are talking about migraine headaches today. And I'd like to start off right after break with an example of a client that I worked with about five years ago. So I worked with a young man who came in; a teen. He was only 13 at the time, which was kind of remarkable that a 13-year old would come in, but you know how, how in trouble he was with migraines because he was missing like 20 days of school every month.


CAROLYN: Wow! 20 days every month?


JOANN: 20 days a month.


CAROLYN: Oh my goodness.


JOANN: So there were big problems with his migraines, so, and his family was on board and really wanted to be helpful in that way too. So I worked with him for about two and a half, three years. But he had, he went from 20 migraines a month. He was very serious about this program.


CAROLYN: I guess. Yeah.


JOANN: Cause he had even gotten behind in school with missing that much class time. He changed his food plan drastically. He eliminated gluten and dairy. He eliminated processed foods; put a halt on eating in a restaurant for a while. Within a few months his migraines were gone.


CAROLYN: Oh my goodness.


JOANN: It was a very quick turnaround for him. And then as I kept working with him and you know, he'd come in once in awhile and gradually afterwards, but he would get an occasional headache. He would always know exactly why. One was when he was on vacation. One was when he, you know, went into a restaurant. But he would always know why. But it was very interesting. And I saw his dad about a month ago. He came into the office to pick up some supplies. And it was interesting that he had… he was still doing very well; now 18 in his senior year of high school.




JOANN: But doing very, very well.


CAROLYN: He was just motivated, right?


JOANN: He was very motivated, and had some amazing changes. Even, you know, his grades just picked up big time once he lost the migraines.


CAROLYN: Boy, we need that guy for a testimonial.


JOANN: Yeah, isn't that great?


CAROLYN; Yeah, it is; great story Joann. I love it when we can help people like that.


JOANN: Exactly. So when I'm working with a client who is experiencing migraines, I first suggest eliminating MSG, eliminating aspartame; also those gluten grains. Because I'm gluten sensitive, I want to dig into why gluten can cause those migraines. And I know if I eat a little bread from the bread get basket when we're out to eat, the next day my back or my knees are going to let me know that I ate an inflammatory food. Gluten may be a trigger for migraines in some people. And a recent study found there's a link between migraines and the genetic gluten sensitivity called celiac disease.


 CAROLYN: So wow, that's really interesting. So gluten can also affect the nervous system in people who are gluten sensitive. So gluten is actually considered a neurotoxin that can cause nerve damage and an inflammatory response in the body. So I think to myself, if gluten is a neurotoxin for gluten sensitive people, then it makes total sense that people with neuropathy, MS or even the carpal tunnel should try to give up gluten altogether to see if some of their symptoms don't subside.


JOANN: Right.


CAROLYN: So a few signs of a gluten sensitivity are having some of those irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS or other types of gastrointestinal problems. It could just be diarrhea every once in a while I suppose. Or it could even be constipation. Even having joint pain or fatigue can be signs of gluten sensitivity. So I suggest eliminating gluten from your diet for at least three months and see how you feel. And actually, when people go gluten free, some of them usually don't feel the full effects for a whole year, you know, but they do see some effects, you know, some positive effects pretty quickly. But not fully because it takes nine months to get that out, right?


JOANN: Right.


CAROLYN: If you have any questions about going gluten free, maybe you want to take one of our online classes. It's called Going Gluten Free the Healthy Way. Registered Dietitian, Cassie Weness, is an excellent teacher and she shows you how she manages to shop and cook gluten-free for her two teens who have celiac disease. Cassie takes cooking gluten-free for her children very seriously and she shares some of her great ideas with you. All you have to do is go to, click on nutrition classes and then scroll down to Going Gluten-Free the Healthy Way online.


JOANN: Yes, and if you have recurring headaches, it's best to work with a dietitian or nutritionist. Headaches are often related to a food sensitivity, but not always. Sometimes it's an environmental factor. Maybe it's your hair dye and perhaps it's the chemicals used in the nail salon. I actually worked with a chemist who actually had to change jobs because every time she stepped into the lab at work, a migraine would strike.




JOANN: That's pretty remarkable. So there was something in her work environment that she had grown, you know, intolerant to. Yeah. And as a dietitian, I work with many of my clients till we find the source of their migraines or headaches. And rarely have we had to resort to a medication. Usually it can be done without a medication or they're able to stop their medication.


CAROLYN: Yeah, exactly. So the cause of frequent headaches can be as simple as being dehydrated.


JOANN: Oh yeah.


CAROLYN: Here is an interesting fact: When the body is the hydrated, guess what happens? The brain can actually temporarily shrink because of that lack of fluids; so dehydration can cause headaches. Additionally, dehydration can leave you with that brain fog, that spacey feeling and some fatigue, low blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. So if you get a headache after heavy exercise like you were, you know, running a marathon or dancing the night away after, of course you're going to have a few alcoholic drinks in there I'm sure. It's best for you to drink plain, filtered water and add a healthy chemical free electrolyte drink. I like the electrolyte drink that we have at the office called Synerplex Revive Electrolytes. It's just a powder form and you just add it to a little a glass of water and that will help you stay hydrated.


JOANN: That's a great idea; or if you don't have any of that on hand, just filtered water.


CAROLYN: Just filtered water.


JOANN: Water, water, water.




JOANN: That's really helpful. So another common cause of headaches is lack of sleep.


CAROLYN: Oh, of course.


JOANN: Have you ever woken up in the morning with a poor night's sleep and had kind of a low grade headache? It can be just that that's the cause. Insomnia can be prompted by teeth grinding or snoring; sleep apnea. These common problems can trigger a migraine or a headache. And at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we recommend getting at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep most nights. So if you're a six hour a night person or less, it is time to get some help with either your sleep hygiene or your nutrition to increase your sleep time before you experience a chronic health problem. Lack of sleep increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.


CAROLYN: Yeah. I always tell my clients… what is it; Margaret Thatcher and oh, Reagan; Ronald Reagan. They used to brag about how little sleep they needed to function. I think it was like four hours or something. And what did they both end up with?


JOANN: Both of them.


CAROLYN: Both of them have Alzheimer's or had Alzheimer's and dementia.


JOANN: What a great correlation.




JOANN: It’s unfortunate though.


CAROLYN: Very unfortunate; absolutely. So I don't think people should be bragging about, “Oh, I only need four hours of sleep.”


JOANN: Oh no.


CAROLYN: Having chronic headaches is very, very common in our society today. However, with some nutritional and lifestyle adjustments, our Nutritional Weight & Wellness dietitians and nutritionists can usually help you become headache and migraine free. So I really want you to call us. Give us a buzz at (651) 699-3438 and set up an appointment so you don't have to suffer anymore. We will really help you.


JOANN: That’s right.


CAROLYN: So thank you for listening today, everyone. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you again for listening and have a wonderful day.

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