If you are an unfortunate victim of chronic migraine headaches, you will do anything to avoid one of these debilitating headaches. Otherwise, you could be down for the count, secluded in a dark, quiet room, waiting for the pounding in your head to go away. In addition to taking medication, minimizing triggers stress, getting adequate rest, you may be able to ward off a migraine by paying close attention to your diet.
There are many factors that can contribute to a migraine, such as:
While many triggers or causes of a migraine are beyond your control, what you eat can have a positive impact on your well-being. You may be able to hold off a debilitating headache or ease your migraine symptoms. Try adding the foods below on a regular basis to find out if they make a difference for you. You can experiment with how often you eat certain foods or what combination of foods you include in your diet to get the best results.
You have probably been hearing this often lately, but whole foods are highly recommended for anyone. Whole foods are any type of plant that has not been processed. There are no additives. They are natural. They are beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight, diabetics, and individuals with various health conditions. Truth be told, whole foods are good for everyone. If you eat plenty of whole foods and avoid artificial additives, you will find out what it means to eat clean. Clean eating could be your best defense against a migraine.
Vegetables can improve your well-being, especially if you choose vegetables that have not been canned or cooked in something that is fattening. Your body will get the most nutrients when your vegetables are fresh. Steer toward vegetables that are green, yellow, or orange. Try changing up which vegetables you eat each day so you don't get bored. You may also discover that a particular vegetable gives you the best outcome to keep your next migraine away. Shoot for at least two cups of vegetables every day. If you cook them, steam them. Good examples of vegetables that could help you to keep your headaches at bay include spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash. Don't forget legumes for a boost in protein and mushrooms to increase your intake of vitamin B-2.
Remember when Mom used to tell you an apple a day will keep the doctor away? Eating fresh fruit may help you to keep a migraine away as well. The science behind fresh fruit is the presence of plant-based estrogen. If you are a woman and you are experiencing a dip in your estrogen levels, fruit can give your hormones a boost. Improving your hormonal balance could be just what the doctor ordered. Try darker fruits, such as blueberries, dark grapes, and pomegranate. Dried fruits may also do the trick, such as dried cranberries. Try cherries that are fresh or dried when you have a craving for something sweet.
Many types of bread, pasta, baked goods, and cereals use white flour. The problem with white flour is it has been processed. It also contains gluten, a protein that causes health problems for those who cannot tolerate it. Your migraine headaches may be evidence that white flour doesn't agree with you. While you may not be intolerant to gluten, cutting back on foods made with white flour could be beneficial to you. Try the following instead:
When you choose cereal, bread, or pasta, look for products that have used whole wheat. If possible, make your own bread to avoid additives. Read your labels for any wheat product you buy. The more basic the list of ingredients, the healthier it will be.
You may think that sugar is the only way to go when you want to sweeten up any beverage or food. However, you can choose some other natural ingredients that can improve the flavor while reducing your risk of having a migraine. Agave, honey, pure vanilla, and maple syrup are only a few of your options. You may find you like the taste better. Consider cinnamon as well. When added to coffee, tea, or oatmeal, it spices things up.
If you are prone to migraine headaches and enjoy meat, you don't have to become a vegetarian. Remember the rule of thumb mentioned earlier about eating clean. Fresh meat that has not been processed in any way is best. Look for lean cuts to eliminate excess fat. Don't add sauces or salt. If you choose pork, opt for pork chops and tenderloins that do not have added salt.
If you like fish, you're in luck. Certain types of fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, otherwise known as healthy fats. Healthy fats can help you to fight off inflammation. They may also mean fewer migraines. Examples of fish that are good for those who suffer from migraine headaches include:
As an added bonus, these fish are good for your cardiovascular health. Consider many of the foods recommended to fight off migraines. They are healthy foods that can make you feel better in many ways.
Water is the elixir of life. It flushes toxins from your system, it is good for your metabolism, and it keeps your body hydrated. Make it your beverage of choice. You can have it any way you please. Water is healthy whether it is from the tap, bottled, or has carbonation. Drink at least eight glasses a day to reap the most benefits. The better hydrated you are, the less likely you may be to suffer from a migraine.
While you will get many valuable nutrients when you follow healthy eating habits, don't forget the benefits of vitamins. Try adding B-2, otherwise known as riboflavin, vitamin D, and magnesium. Melatonin before bed can give you a good night's rest while helping you to be headache-free.
In the same way that eating certain foods can reduce the occurrence of migraines, you can increase the severity and frequency if you eat the wrong foods. Think of these foods as potential triggers. Pay close attention. You may have been eating them for years. Once you eliminate them, you could be amazed at the change.
Processed foods are often a red flag for those who battle with migraines. The main reason that these foods cause problems is because they are high in additives. Artificial ingredients, including food coloring and preservatives, can be part of the reason you have been hit hard with migraines. If you enjoy Chinese food, ask for dishes that do not contain high sodium or MSG. Both have been found to trigger migraines.
Dairy products may not be your friend when it comes to migraines. If you love a glass of milk before bed, try almond milk for another alternative. You can also use non-dairy creamer in your coffee or tea. Look for almond-based yogurt. If you are concerned about your calcium intake, you can try supplements on a regular basis.
Eggs contain tyramine, an amino acid that could lead to your next severe headache. Try egg substitutes if you are craving that flavor. You can also try cutting them out for a while and then introducing a little bit at a time.
Have you been enjoying orange juice at breakfast every day or a sliced grapefruit? Your citrus fruits also contain tyramine. Try eliminating your favorite citrus foods. If you are really missing your orange juice, you might be able to have a very small glass once in a while. If those headaches keep hounding you, the juice may be off the list permanently.
Lunch meat that is high in salts and nitrites can be a recipe for disaster for anyone who suffers from migraines. That means you should avoid salami, bologna, and any other type of lunch meat that has been cured. Look for lunch meat that is low in salt and fat, such as chicken, turkey, or roast beef for healthier alternatives.
If you are like many others, you can't imagine starting your day without a cup of coffee or tea. You may even enjoy several cups a day. However, the caffeine can lead to trouble with headaches. Try coffee and tea without the caffeine, including herbal teas. See if the change helps you.
Alcohol is considered another trigger when it comes to migraines. When you have an alcoholic beverage, it causes the blood flow to your brain to increase. This occurs due to the relaxation of blood vessels throughout the body. Red wine is considered especially high risk for anyone who experiences migraines on a chronic basis. However, any alcohol can cause similar effects. If you limit your intake to five ounces or less, you may be able to indulge in your favorite alcoholic beverage on occasion. However, stop drinking alcohol if you continue to struggle with migraines.
Chocolate could be your go-to choice when you want a treat. Unfortunately, tyramine is found in this sweet indulgence. As with any other food that could set off a severe headache, consider removing it completely from your diet. You may be able to tolerate a small amount of chocolate on special occasions. If you are hit by a migraine after sampling chocolate, you should eliminate it completely.
Aspartame is considered a trigger for migraines by the American Migraine Association. It's found in many diet beverages and baked goods that don't contain sugar. You may also find it in your favorite sugar-free gum or candies. Remember that anything artificial could trigger a migraine.
If you have embraced a healthy lifestyle, you may include seeds and nuts in your diet for a good source of healthy fats. Nuts are also an excellent source of protein. Unfortunately, nuts and seeds also contain tyramine. If you don't want to end up in bed with another migraine headache, choose other snacks from the list of foods that are listed above. You don't have to give up everything you love. You just need to become more creative.
Now that you have a list of recommended foods, as well as foods that you should avoid, start writing down what you eat. Include your beverages as well. You may also choose to add other details, such as how you slept, if there have been any changes in the weather, and if you are experiencing any stress. If you are taking medication or supplements, include them in your journal. Make sure you note when you have had a migraine. Write down when it occurred, how long it lasted, and how severe it was. After a month, go through your journal. See if you can find any patterns. You can also bring your journal with you when you see your doctor. Share your notes to come up with any conclusions about what is causing your migraine headaches. Practice mindful eating in the same way that people do to lose weight. Remember that you are making the choice to take charge of your migraines by making healthy choices in what you put in your body. You may find the key to keeping your migraine headaches away.