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Why you get a headache when you're hungry


Although it should never be done, due to rush, a particularly hectic work day or other reasons It may happen that you skip a meal.

In those cases, as the hours pass, hunger inevitably sets in and with it often headaches. According to several studies, in fact, about 30% of people suffer from headaches when they are hungry. When this happens we are instinctively led to blame the tiredness of the moment but in reality the main reason would be another.

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Il main triggering factor of hunger headache is the low blood sugar when you haven't eaten for a while.

Skipping meals or spending a long time between them can in fact lead to headaches, due to the drop in blood sugar that the brain detects. When your blood sugar level drops, your body releases certain hormones in response, and this can trigger pain.

Dehydration can also stimulate the onset of this type of headache. In addition to eating regularly, it is therefore important to make sure you drink enough during the day and if you spend a lot of time away from home try to always have a small bottle or canteen of water with you, so as not to forget it. However, be careful not to drink too much coffee, which in addition to dehydrating, could trigger a headache.

How to recognize it

Hunger headaches are not always easy to spot because they tend to resemble tension headaches. It generally presents with a dull ache, tightness around the head, and pain in the muscles of the scalp, neck, or shoulders. When blood sugar drops significantly, other symptoms such as sweating, weakness, fatigue, confusion, dizziness and tremors may also appear.

Although annoying, hunger headaches are easily contained, simply by eating and therefore restoring the right blood sugar levels.

It usually disappears within 30 minutes of eating food. If this does not happen, the remedies are the same as for a traditional headache and include taking over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin. Rest, certain relaxation techniques, or soothing massages can also help ease the pain.

Obviously, if you are sure that the headache is due to hunger it is best to try to eat regularly and sufficiently, so as to prevent it. If, however, you realize that hunger has nothing to do with it, but the headaches are recurrent and significant, it is advisable to contact your doctor so as to understand together the causes and the measures to be taken.

How to prevent it

Since hunger headaches are mainly caused by an absence of food for several hours, or by a diet that does not allow blood sugar to reach the levels necessary to avoid triggering it, the main way to avoid its onset is exactly eat well and regularly.

In addition to this general indication, however, there are some simple lifestyle habits that can help keep blood sugar levels in balance. For example eat small meals four to six times a day, instead of few but substantial. Dividing food intake in this way ensures a constant supply of sugar and is also suitable for people who are following a low-calorie diet aimed at losing weight, who instead often skip meals in the belief that they are speeding up the process. In addition to being a practice that is not recommended for losing weight, this can also lead to other unpleasant health consequences, such as the appearance of hunger headaches.

Not just frequency, what you eat matters too. Some foods, such as those that contain preservatives or nitrates, could cause headaches, for exampleas well as artificial sweeteners found in soft drinks.

On the contrary, a varied diet can reduce the likelihood of headache onset. So go ahead with meals rich in fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, vitamins and mineral salts.

Therefore, if the headache you feel is caused by hunger, it is most often manageable with a little prevention. However, if you are particularly sensitive and even the slightest change in eating habits can trigger it, and if you spend a lot of time away from home, it is always a good idea to bring healthy snacks with you with which to have small snacks to break your hunger during the day, such as a banana or another fruit of your choice, carrots or vegetables that can be easily munched such as fennel or celery, dried fruit such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios or a yoghurt.

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