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Hydration and Migraine: How drinking water can help you fight against headaches

‘Stay hydrated!’ We hear this advice often, and with good reason – the benefits of drinking water are numerous. One of the benefits of staying hydrated is that it helps to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. This is because dehydration (which happens when too much fluid leaves our body) is often recorded as a trigger of headaches. Dehydration has a number of causes: drinking too much juice, alcohol, or salty broths; excessive sweating; excessive urination; and diarrhoea and vomiting (to name just a few). And yet we can easily fend off dehydration (and potentially fend off migraine attacks) by making sure we drink enough liquids – especially water.

The recommendation is to drink about 2l of water a day

General advice tends to recommend drinking 2 litres of water a day. This may seem like a lot, but splitting this up by drinking a few cups every couple of hours soon makes this very realistic.

Tips to stay hydrated and manage migraine:

Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you drink enough on a daily basis:

  • Get a reusable water bottle – keep it with you at all times. You can even get bottles with the hours of the day printed on the side which can be really helpful in making sure you have drank enough throughout the day.
  • Stop yourself getting thirsty – rather than holding out for a drink until you are desperate, try regularly sipping on water.
  • Make water more exciting – try adding flavour by infusing lemon or mint into plain water (or drink more herbal teas if you enjoy them!).
  • Avoid heat (by staying in during the hottest part of the day) to reduce water loss through sweating
  • Drink before, during, and after workouts – this replaces any sweat you produce whilst getting active!
Eat your water – especially cucumbers & lettuce have a high water content
  • Eat your water – Yes that’s right, you don’t have to drink bottle after bottle of water to make sure you stay hydrated! Eating foods with a high water content is also a great (and tasty!) way to get water into your body. Stick to raw vegetables (particularly ones like cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and peppers which have an especially high water content). Fresh fruit and soups are also options, be sure to check the salt and sugar content – this could end up cancelling out the benefits of the water!

Whilst increasing water intake doesn’t cure migraine, it certainly helps to manage attacks and comes with many, many more health benefits. So remember – Stay hydrated!

Sources

Migraine Canada on Hydration and Migraine

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