The Best Foods To Eat To Help Prevent Migraines
There aren’t any foods that will totally prevent migraines, but some are “pain-free foods,” according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine . “They recommend a plant-based diet as a way to improve your overall health, and these foods shouldn’t trigger any migraines,” says Rizzo. These foods aren’t necessarily linked to migraine prevention, but they are harmless to eat and generally healthy.
What You Eat May Make A Difference In How Often You Have Migraine Attacks
If you experience migraines, you know that they can be brought on by a variety of factors. These can include high stress levels, sleep disruptions, weather changes, and your diet, including what you eat and drink, and when.
Dietary triggers are some of the more common triggers reported by people with migraines, says Vincent Martin, MD, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute in Ohio and president of the National Headache Foundation . Part of the frustration of living with migraines can be trying to figure out what triggers them. You might have a glass of red wine one time and have a headache, another time, you dont, he says.
First, its good to understand how migraines differ from other types of headaches. According to , a headache specialist in the department of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, migraines are not just headaches but an issue of brain state, meaning senses like touch, sight, and smell are also affected during a migraine.
While scientists debate the exact cause of migraines, theres no doubt that environmental factors such as diet play a role in triggering them. To prevent migraines , try making these small adjustments to your diet.
Dont: Eat Foods With Msg
If youve ever gotten a migraine after eating at an Asian restaurant, the culprit might be monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG. Caffeine withdrawal and administration of MSG have the strongest evidence for triggering attacks of headache, says VanderPluym. MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly found in soy sauce, some packaged foods, bouillon, and Asian foods. It can be tricky to spot, because MSG might be listed under another name, including natural flavoring, all-natural preservatives, hydrolyzed fat, or hydrolyzed protein. If youre sensitive to MSG, youll know it: Symptoms start within 20 to 25 minutes of consuming it and can include headache, facial flushing, a burning sensation or tightness in the chest, and abdominal discomfort.
The form of MSG matters as well. Studies show MSG is more likely to cause a headache if its in liquid than if its in food, says Martin. Thats because food delays the absorption of MSG. That means eating wonton soup from your favorite Chinese restaurant is more likely to cause a headache than, say, General Tsos chicken.
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The Fluids You Should Drink And Which Ones To Avoid When You Have A Headache
When you’re dealing with a headache, you may wonder what you should and should not drink to help get rid of it. Maybe you crave a quick solution and hope a cup of coffee or a tall glass of water will ease your pain.
Below, you can see whether what you’re reaching for is a yes, no, or maybe.
/6drinks That Can Help In Curing Sudden Headache
Headaches can be unnerving and most of us find that bit of relief by popping up pills or applying those skin-pinching balms, but is that the only resort to this sudden burst of pain? Well, we mostly look for quick solutions, but we often forget the fact that these instant pain relievers have several side effects. Here are a few simple homemade drinks that can naturally cure the headaches. Just roll up your sleeves and enjoy a cup of relief.
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Managing Vestibular Migraine During Holidays
I recently sat down with Kayla from True Kaylaisms to host our very first “Dizzy Talks” episode about managing your Vestibular Migraine through the holiday season. It can be a tough time of year for those with a Migraine or Vestibular Disorder. Bright lights, loud parties, and lots of alcohol can trigger dizziness, pain, and even vertigo episodes.
If you suffer from this disorder, not all hope is lost. You can still find ways to enjoy yourself, it just takes a little prep and planning. In this video we answer your questions about how to handle some common predicaments that arise. Whether it’s figuring out what you can eat or drink, or even discussing how to manage an attack through natural treatmentsor medication, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some ideas for the best tolerated alcohol options if you have a migraine disorder. And don’t miss my favorite gift ideas for this time of year.
What Gets Rid Of A Headache Fast
When you get a headache, you want relief as fast as possible. Here are treatments and strategies that can work quickly:
- Drink a large glass of water
- Take the medication recommended by your doctor
- Drink one cup of caffeinated coffee or tea
- Drink a beverage while using green light therapy
- Add ginger extract to your water or tea
- Meditate or do yoga
- Sip on a green veggie-packed beverage
Find out more about how to manage migraines, and strategies for relief at work and at home.
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What Our Customers Are Saying*
My migraines are now a rare occurrence
This formula is a god send. My migraines are now a rare occurrence. I have been using the product for several months and have almost forgotten now how bad they used to be. I rarely have one now and when I do I can usually control it with an Excedrin migraine. I have recommended your product to everyone I know who suffers with migraines, including my doctor.
Patricia SperwingGreat Falls, MT
I am blown away already with the results
“I began taking the Migraine Support Formula as soon as it arrived. I have to say I am blown away already with the results.
After only 2 days I actually awoke without a headache brewing. Now 4 days into it I am headache free. I am amazed and so very happy to wake up without pain. I thank you and my family thanks you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Victoria ShearerTampa, FL
I am thrilled that this is not a prescription
After suffering with migraines for years, and trying this product, instead of having 2 migraines each week, I have had only one in a month. I have seen every doctor possible to help me with my migraines and none of the medication has ever worked. I am thrilled that this is not a prescription, but supplements that are not harmful to my body and work. I have been taking it now for 2 months.
Pamela LawsonTulsa OK
I would recommend this product to any woman who suffers from migraines
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I love this product and will never stop using it
Dorothy MoltRiverside, CA
If You Have Migraines Put Down Your Coffee And Read This
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
During medical school, a neurologist taught me that the number one cause of headaches in the US was coffee.
That was news to me! But it made more sense when he clarified that he meant lack of coffee. His point was that for people who regularly drink coffee, missing an early morning cup, or even just having your first cup later than usual, can trigger a caffeine withdrawal headache. And considering how many daily coffee drinkers there are , its likely that coffee withdrawal is among the most common causes of headaches.
Later in my neurology rotation, I learned that caffeine is a major ingredient in many headache remedies, from over-the-counter medicines such as Excedrin and Anacin, to powerful prescription treatments such as Fioricet. The caffeine is supposed to make the other drugs in these combination remedies work better and, of course, it might be quite effective for caffeine-withdrawal headaches.
But then I learned that for people with migraine headaches, certain drugs, foods, and drinks should be avoided, as they can trigger migraines. At the top of this list? Coffee.
So, to review: the caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods or drinks can help prevent a headache, treat a headache, and also trigger a headache. How can this be?
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How To Identify Triggers
If you have migraine, almost anything can be a trigger. This means it can be very difficult to identify your potential triggers. It may also be a combination of a few things that seems to lead to a migraine attack. And a trigger may not lead to a migraine attack every time, which can confuse things even more.
Here is an example of how combinations of triggers can work: A young woman has identified that her migraine attacks appear to be triggered when she skips meals, is feeling stressed and when she is about to have her period. If she comes home late from a very stressful day at work, her period is just about to start, and she goes straight to bed without eating a proper meal, she will almost certainly have a migraine attack. However, if she skips dinner another time, when the other triggers did not happen, she will probably not have migraine attack.
Many people find that they sometimes go a long time without having a migraine attack. During this time, your body may seem to be less sensitive to triggers and you may find that even the combination of your usual triggers doesnt result in a migraine attack.
Worst Foods For Headaches
I know. I know. Thanks, Captain Obvious. But its too common not to put on the list. Headaches from alcohol tend to creep up either immediately or in the form of the dreaded hangover the next day. In fact, people who get migraines may experience a headache after only a single small drink.
Interestingly, research suggests that migraine sufferers tend to drink less alcohol than their headache-free counterparts, likely because of the risk of an attack. What remains less clear is if its the alcohol or some other component of a drink that triggers it. Tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine, sulfites, and flavonoid phenols are commonly found in our favorite drinks and have all been suspected as a potential cause of migraines. In fact, its not uncommon for studies to suggest an increase in migraine episodes following a glass of sulfite- and histamine-filled red wine.
Want to cut back on the chance of an attack? For one, drink moderately . No weekend benders for you! And two, choose a light colored drink like gin or vodka over red wine or dark liquors, which tend to have lower amounts of headache-inducing histamine and sulfites.
Ah yes, take away the morning Joe and get ready for a real pounder. One Norwegian study found that individuals with the highest intake of caffeine were 10 percent more likely to get headaches and migraines. Other population-based studies have concurred, citing a greater prevalence of headaches with excessive levels of consumption.
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Foods That Can Trigger Headaches And Migraines
Whilst there are foods and natural herbs that can help cure a headache, there are some that make it worse.
Dr Bond says: Most of the food triggers associated with headaches and migraines come from people self-reporting not clinical trials.
Trigger foods include bananas, beans , chocolate, citrus fruits, cultured dairy , nuts and nut butters, strawberries, cheese high in tyramine , MSG , aspartame , nitrates and nitrites , alcohol .
What I Eat During A Migraine Attack
Instead of heavy, sugary, salty or fried snacks, I like to keep fresh, light foods in my fridge for the times when I just have to eat something but I don’t want to think too much about it and I don’t want my nausea and vomiting to get any worse. Foods that are staples for me that fit into my chronic migraine life are:
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With So Many Complicating Factors Whats The Best Approach To Reduce My Chance Of Getting A Headache
Being aware of foods, drinks and most importantly, the ingredients and chemicals that have been reported as headache triggers can be a helpful tool, a good starting point. Keep in mind that headache triggers vary from person to person. Also understand that pinpointing a headache trigger goes far beyond food/drink products that may have been consumed in the hours or even days before the headache started. So many other factors influence the occurrence of a headache.
So then, what can you do to lower your chance of headache? The best approach may be to begin to control known influencers of headache. A family history of headaches is something you cannot control. However, getting a good nights sleep, not skipping meals, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and exercising regularly are some of the other things you can control.
As far as foods, drinks, and ingredients are concerned, it certainly doesnt hurt to try to figure out if one or more food items might be triggering your headache. Eliminate one item at a time over weeks or months and record this information in a headache diary. Only cut out a food if you have a high suspicion it causes headaches, otherwise you might remove foods you enjoy! In this diary, also track other factors that occurred within 24 hours of the headache . With all of this information in hand, you can begin to sort out and discover for yourself the factors that provoke your headache.
Managing A Headache With Good Food Choices
The Cleveland Clinic notes that most information about food that triggers headaches was gathered from people self-reporting their experiences. There have been research studies conducted in the past, and many ongoing right now. The challenge for researchers is that each case is different. The first step is avoiding foods that are known to trigger headaches. Should a headache develop, there are foods that may spur a faster recovery period.
Knowing what to eat when your head hurts can help you make good choices. The most common foods and drinks that have been reported to help headaches include:
- Leafy greens
- A small cup of coffee for a caffeine headache
Avoid consuming processed foods, aged cheeses, smoked or dried fish, cultured dairy products, high sodium foods like potato chips and foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. Sometimes, headache relief comes from knowing what not to eat.
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Almond Milk And Cashew Milk Can Help With Migraines
Almonds and cashews are high in magnesium, a nutrient that can protect against migraines. According to the American Migraine Foundation, magnesium can reduce the brain signaling that produces migraine auras and reduce or block the chemicals that transmit pain in the brain. Boost your intake of magnesium by drinking almond milk or cashew milk straight or adding one or both of them to your favorite smoothie recipes.
Watermelon And Cucumber Smoothie With Honey And Mint
The ingredients in this smoothie are full of vitamins and minerals. Watermelons are full of water, magnesium, and potassium which help reduce brain fog and increase focus. Honey is rich in many minerals that aid in blood vessel relaxation, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Please Note: Certain ingredients identified with an asterisk are reported as migraine triggers by some patients. Migraine food triggers are a very personal thing – learn more here. If you think you’re sensitive, please make a substitution.
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Alcohol And Migraine Diets
If you’re following a migraine diet let me be clear – there is no “safe” alcohol in the elimination phase. This post is really meant for those who have made it through that phase and are starting to reintroduce foods. Or perhaps for someone who is looking for an option to enjoy on a birthday, anniversary, etc. Although I recommend following the restrictions as closely as possible, one evening of celebration should not be enough to derail your progress as I state in my cookbook. However, if you can make better choices throughout that celebration, it can help you not suffer as many consequences with an attack the next day.
These things include:
- Limiting your consumption to 1-2 glasses at the most
- Balance a cocktail with a mocktail
- Staying hydrated
- Watching your other triggers and keeping those low – so enjoying a glass of wine but keeping the rest of the meal migraine-friendly
- Using wine wands to remove the sulfites and biogenic amines
What Happens During A Migraine
Every migraine begins differently. Sometimes people get a warning that a migraine is on its way. A few hours or even days before the actual headache, people might feel funny or “not right. They might crave different foods, or feel thirsty, irritable, tired, or even full of energy. This is called a “premonition.”
Some people get auras. These are neurological symptoms that start just before the headache and last up to an hour. An aura is different in every person, but it often affects vision. For example, a person might:
- have blurred vision
- see spots, colored balls, jagged lines, or bright flashing lights
- smell a certain odor
- feel tingling in a part of their face
Once the headache starts, light, smell, or sound may bother people with migraines or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head, but it might eventually affect both sides. Trying to do physical activities can make the pain worse.
Most migraines last from 30 minutes to several hours some can last a couple of days.
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