Headaches are no fun, especially during the summertime. The barometric pressure shifts that occur along with thunderstorms this time of year trigger pain for 73% of headache sufferers. To help your kick your headaches to curb, we rounded up three science-backed tricks to help you stave off the throbbing pain, naturally.
Order a big salad
Enjoying a heaping cup of spinach sprinkled with pumpkin seeds at lunch cuts your headache risk by 40%, suggests German research. That’s because the duo is packed with magnesium, which soothes the central nervous system to prevent flare-ups. “Headaches start when our brain cells become overexcited”, explains Hamid Kadiwala, M.D., a neurologist with Texas Health Fort Worth. “But magnesium helps stabilize cell membranes, keeping them from getting overly excited.”
Spice up your water with some ginger
Ginger root powder works just as well as prescription migraine medications at quashing headaches, according to science published in the journal Phytotherapy Research. “The anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol in ginger root helps lower pressure on blood vessels and reduce the tension from a headache”, says nutritionist Jeanette Kimszal. She recommends enhancing the benefits by adding 1 tsp. of ginger powder to a 12-oz. glass of water. Kimszal explains, “When the body is even mildly dehydrated, it sends a signal to the brain to constrict the blood vessels, which can also cause headaches.”
Ice your throat
Here’s a cool trick: Researchers found treating the neck with an ice pack cut head pain for 77% of migraine sufferers! “Cold packs cool the blood inside vessels that supply the brain, causing them to constrict and turning off pain signals”, explains Dr. Kadiwala.
To do: At the first twinge of a headache, drape the front of your neck with a chilled pack for 15 minutes.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.