Experiencing a hunger headache is something we’ve all had to deal with at some point in our lives. Our bodies need a certain amount of nutrition throughout the day for optimum functionality and energy utilization. When we skip meals, this affects our body in a negative way. Developing a headache is a sign that we need to eat.
What are the causes of a hunger headache?
Headaches can be caused by many different factors, with some people even being prone to developing them for no apparent reason. However, hunger headaches are something more benign and often the result low levels of the main metabolite we get from the food we eat: glucose.
Glucose is used by virtually every tissue in the human body and is the energy source of choice for your brain. When glucose levels drop, you may begin to feel sluggish, fatigued, and possibly dehydrated. If prolonged, your brain will start to use alternative sources of energy, which may be the reason for a hunger headache.
Another cause of hunger headaches is drinking too much coffee, as caffeine is considered a stimulant. However, as most coffee drinkers know, not getting your daily dose of morning caffeine can also be a cause of headaches. Similarly, consuming too much sugar in your diet can contribute to headaches.
What are the symptoms of a hunger headache?
Hunger headaches are a type of a tension headache, with the pain described as wrapping the entire front of the forehead. Some would describe it as being more to do with sustained contraction of the skeletal muscles of the forehead, scalp, and neck, with usually no outward signs of suffering by the individual.
Pain may be dull in the beginning and progress to become more severe as time passes. It may feel as if a weight has been placed on the head or as if the forehead has been tightly bound by a cloth.
Because of the nature of hunger headaches, they may also present with signs of hypoglycemia (low glucose), such as extreme weakness, perspiration, confused state of mind, lack of concentration, shaking of the body, and nausea.
Prevention of a hunger headache
Prevention of a headache hunger is often the best method for getting rid of them. This often means eating regular meals and keeping snacks on hand when you need them. Making sure you take the time to eat on a consistent basis is the best way to avoid hunger headaches. Meals consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are also recommended. Not only are they healthy for you, but they keep you feeling less hungry throughout the day. Staying hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water and limit added sugar in your diet is also recommended for hunger headache prevention.
How to get rid of hunger headaches?
The most obvious hunger headache cure is to simply eat something, preferably something nutritious. At the very least, this will help to lessen the intensity of your hunger headache as it gradually fades completely. Food rich in complex carbohydrates is recommended, as they help to sustain blood sugar levels for a longer time.
While the use of over-the-counter painkillers may help relieve a hunger headache, they are not recommended. If you can simply treat it by giving your body food, there is no reason to subject yourself to drugs that carry the potential for causing side effects.
The following are some tips to help get rid of hunger headaches:
- Eat often: Spreading meals throughout the day can eliminate hunger headaches. Eating larger meals a few times a day can cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall, potentially leading to headache development.
- Avoid processed foods: They often contain refined sugars and high levels of additives that can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Instead, choose more whole food options, as they generally take longer to digest, keeping you satisfied longer.
- Reduce caffeine intake: Drinking too many caffeinated beverages like coffee can often lead you to become dependent on the substance, so when you forget to get your daily dose, you suffer a headache as you are in caffeine withdrawal. It may take to a couple of days to shake the habit, but your lack of dependence on caffeine will make you healthier.
- Eat more protein: Not only does protein benefit organ and muscle health, but it is also a vital component for good nutrition. Eating more protein will also help keep you less hungry.
Related: Types of headaches and causes, symptoms, and prevention chart