Persistent headaches can often result from high blood pressure. Because it is believed that excessive salt consumption can cause high blood pressure, doctors have often thought that perhaps eating too much salt can by this connection cause headaches. But a new study has found that high salt consumption can cause headaches on its own, even without evidence of higher blood pressure.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, found that people who ate foods high in sodium had up to one third more headaches than those who ate foods low in sodium. This result occurred independent of whether the participants ate a healthy diet (one rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat) or a less nutritious diet.
Because the study subjects ate the high sodium diet for only a short period of time, there was no notable corresponding rise in blood pressure, even with an increase in headaches. Thus, the researchers believe that there is an independent mechanism at work that causes more headaches.
They note that more research needs to be conducted to understand this link. But if you find that you have unexplained headaches that come and go, you may want to take a look at your diet. If it has had a sudden increase in salt consumption, try cutting back to see if you get any relief.