Use your head

HEALTH:

Whether it’s a thumping pain, a dull throb or a full-blown migraine, chances are we’ve all experienced some form of headache from time to time.

They have a variety of individual causes (including tension, over-exertion, dehydration, excessive caffeine intake or fatigue) but these diet and lifestyle tips may help provide some natural relief.

EXERCISE:

il_570xN.240901110The right kind of physical activity can be an effective preventative measure against headaches by stimulating the release of endorphins; your body’s natural pain killers.

Try aerobics, brisk walking or swimming (although always ensure your goggles are not too tight; a common and easily rectifiable headache trigger!)

NUTRITION:

Amines are bio-chemicals involved in blood vessel constriction/dilation and are suspected to be a major factor when it comes to triggering headaches.

Amines are not only found in the brain but also in foods such as mature cheese, strawberries, shellfish, tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, nuts and some meats. If you are prone to headaches, cutting down on these foods could make all the difference.

© Sarah West Nutrition

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Sleep tight

HEALTH:

How well you feel during your waking hours can depend entirely on how you sleep each night. A good night’s rest allows the body to repair and rejuvenate and is necessary to feel energised, mentally sharp and emotionally balanced.

EXERCISE:

Research shows that you sleep more deeply if you exercise regularly: as little 20-30 minutes per day can help you to enjoy a more restful slumber.

However, since exercise raises your body temperature and causes you to feel more alert, the timing of your workout is very important. A cooler body temperature and relaxed mind is associated with sleep onset so you should always finish your exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime.

NUTRITION:

If you have trouble sleeping it is a good idea to keep your evening meal light, with no strong flavours. Fatty foods is a lot of work for your stomach to digest and spicy or acidic foods can cause heartburn: both of which may keep you up at night.

It may also be helpful to limit how much you drink before bed. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks – which act as both stimulants and diuretics – are particularly likely to have a disruptive effect.

© Sarah West Nutrition