The solution for hunger headaches is simple. They usually go away within a half hour if you eat something.
However, there could be a number of obstacles in your way. Maybe you’re trying to lose weight or you’re too busy to cook. Maybe you’re one of many adults who’s unsure what to think when you hear about the benefits of fasting and the dangers of skipping meals.
You can say goodbye to hunger headaches! Try these suggestions for understanding the different types of hunger headaches and how to prevent them.
Understanding Hunger Headaches:
- Check your blood sugar. Hunger headaches can have several different causes, but low blood sugar is usually involved. When glucose levels fall, stress hormones increase and constrict your blood vessels causing a headache.
- Treat migraines. If you’re prone to migraines, an empty stomach may trigger your symptoms. While most hunger headaches feel like tightness around your head, migraines usually pulsate and occur on one side only.
- Stay hydrated. Lack of water can make your head hurt because your brain shrinks and pulls away from your skull. You may need to increase your intake if you’re drinking alcohol or exercising in hot weather.
- Limit caffeine. Blood flow to your brain may increase sharply when you suddenly cut back on caffeine. Most adults can safely consume about 3 cups of coffee a day. If you need to reduce your caffeine intake, do it gradually.
- Fast safely. Intermittent fasting can have many health benefits. However, going too long without food may cause headaches and other issues for you, especially if you have chronic conditions like diabetes. Check with your doctor first, especially if you plan to fast for more than 16 hours.
Preventing Hunger Headaches:
- Love your food. Strict diets will backfire if you avoid food for most of the day and then overindulge at dinner because you’re starving. Make friends with food and think of it as something positive you do for your body. (1)
- Create menus. Planning meals and snacks in advance will make eating healthier and more convenient. Go shopping with a list of what you’ll need for the week and stock up on staples.
- Wake up early. A hearty breakfast will help prevent mid-morning hunger headaches. Give yourself enough time to sit down to eat or pack up something that you can bring to the office. Smart choices include fish tacos or Greek yogurt with oats.
- Rest and relax. Deal with the stress hormones that cause hunger headaches. Make sleep a top priority and exercise regularly. As a bonus, you may also wind up losing weight.
- Increase protein and fiber. If it’s difficult for you to eat frequently, try adding more protein and fiber to your dishes. They’ll help you to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer. (2)
- Learn simple recipes. Nutritious meals can be convenient. Browse online for recipes that require only a few ingredients. Cook a pot of bean chili over the weekend and divide it into frozen batches to heat up for quick dinners after work.
- Keep a journal. Pinpoint the cause of your hunger headaches or why you keep skipping meals. A food journal can help you spot patterns and create strategies for changing them.
- Talk with your doctor. If you’re concerned about headaches or other symptoms, seek medical care. Your doctor can also provide you with recommendations for healthy eating with your individual needs in mind.
You can manage your weight and enjoy the activities you love without risking hunger headaches. Create an eating plan that keeps you comfortable and works with your schedule.