Personally I have never suffered from migraines. Headaches, Yes! But not the shooting pain that comes with migraines. I do have friends & relatives who suffer from migraines and have on occasion doled out ” food advice”. There are many triggers for migraine including noise, stress, body chemistry, genetics, external toxins etc and food is only one of them. What I am attempting to do in this post is to list some dietary changes that may help your migraines especially if they’re connect to food triggers. These tips can be preventive in nature too. Eliminating certain foods and including certain habits may prevent the onset of the migraine before it happens or reduce the severity of the attack. Hope these tips help 🙂
Food Help for Migraines !
Keep a food diary : Apart from a general list of foods that should generally be avoided, you may be susceptible to certain foods and food combinations that trigger migraine. Certain foods may be alright eaten alone, but become a trigger when combined with others. By keeping a food dairy you can identify your special triggers or the ones common to all migraines. Then eliminate them from your diet.
Detox regularly : Detox is a means of ridding your body of toxic build up and since most migraines are associated with toxins, regular short detox plans will benefit you. To read a short & easy detox plan click here. This can be tailored to 2 , 3 or 5 days. I recommend a short 3 0r 5 day detox once/ month for those suffering from migraines. I recently went on a detox and am feeling so much more clear-headed and energetic after it.
Even when not on detox, drink lots of water to flush your system clear. Dehydration is a common trigger and I cannot emphasize the importance of drinking plain water ( 8-10 glasses/day) Drink an herbal detox tea on a daily basis which will keep your liver in good condition and prime it for the next detox.
Food Supplements and Natural Foods that have proven useful in preventing migraines :
Ginger : Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which has been found useful in treating migraines. It also prevents nausea which is often associated with severe migraines. Use in teas, soups, salad, smoothies, fresh juices, stir-frys etc. I add ginger to all my smoothie and juice concoctions. It gives additional flavor and spice !! Click here for my “Mango Ginger Pina Colada”
Fish Oil : Is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, chemicals that protect nerves and reduce inflammation in the body. Fish oil supplements seem to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Omega 3 fish champs are salmon, sardines, smelt and anchovies. I love Omega-3. Apart from fish and supplements other ways to get Omega-3 are from walnuts, flax oil, tofu and soybeans.
Feverfew : A herb that has the same anti- inflammatory properties as Aspirin. If you don’t like popping a pill when the headaches start, feverfew may be a good option. Unlike aspirin, it had been found to reduce frequency & duration of migraines. Pregnant women should not take herbs of any form since they may be harmful.
Magnesium : Helps to relax constricted blood vessels. Lab tests have shown that many migraine patients are deficient in magnesium, so a simple addition of magnesium either through foods or as a supplement may correct the problem. A good steady supply of magnesium is necessary for so many body functions. Food sources of magnesium are green vegetables like spinach. Also, some beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole, unrefined grains are good sources of magnesium as well.
B complex : B2 aka Riboflavin is associated with brain health and neurological health. B2 in combination with the other B vitamins seems to prevent and keep migraines at bay. B complex vitamins are water-soluble, so excess will only be washed away in the urine. Don’t be alarmed to see bright yellow colored urine when you are taking B-complex.
Do get your Zzzzz ‘s and eat meals : Fasting or skipping meals can trigger migraine headaches. Make sure you eat within an hour after waking up and then every three hours. Also, a good 8 hrs sleep is essential for those suffering from migraines. If you suffer from insomnia and want some natural remedies read this !
Red Alert ! Food to Avoid when you have migraines !
Food additives & Food preservatives except natural ones like salt, lemon, vinegar etc.
Pesticides – Go as close to organic as you can. If you need some practical tips on going organic without breaking the bank, click here. You can also use a fruit/veggie wash to remove pesticide residue.
Artificial sweeteners except the safe ones (stevia and agave nectar). It’s preferable to use raw honey or raw sugar than any artificial stuff. Artificial sweeteners are a BIG trigger !
Processed meats, processed foods, deli meats! Eat as close to natural as possible!
Food that MAY trigger migraines! Avoid if they seem to trigger your headaches.
Dark red wines and alcohol : Alcohol triggers certain people. Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. It is believed that the headache could be caused by impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are the most commonly identified headache triggers.
Aged cheese and other tyramine containing foods: Tyramine in these foods develops as a result of fermentation. Other Tyramine containing foods are red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats. Click here for a list of common aged cheese. Tyramine is a common trigger, but again may not be a trigger for all. Let the food dairy be your guide.
Caffeine : found in chocolate and cocoa. Beverages such as coffee, tea and colas can be trigger for some people. Caffeine is also found in certain medications.
Some other foods that may be triggers. Let the food diary be your guide !!
Soups made from meat extracts or bouillon. Certain fresh fruits including ripe bananas, citrus fruits, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds, sourdough bread, fresh-baked yeast goods, commercial potato chip products, smoked or dried fish.
I dislike having to put so many possible foods on the list, but don’t let this intimidate you! Let the food diary be your guide to elimination! most important Don’t Stress!!! Stress is a huge trigger in the migraine process and can intensify a migraine!! All the best and if you have some natural remedies or foods that have helped your migraines, do share !