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What To Eat To Help Migraine

Foods That Help Migraines Go Away: What To Eat And What To Skip

Diet that triggers headaches and what to eat to reduce them – Ms. Sushma Jaiswal

Many people with migraine, especially those who have suffered from debilitating headaches for many years, come to believe that certain foods and drinks can trigger their attacks.

While most common on their lists are chocolate, cheese, and coffee, most clinical studies found none of the so-called food triggers to be consistent and reliable, meaning that even these foods or drinks do not trigger migraine attacks every time they are consumed. On the other hand, foods/drinks that help with migraine can sometimes stop an oncoming attack or abort an acute one, but sometimes they dont.

Because of this general lack of consistency, the relationship between migraine and certain foods is not considered hard-core science. Nevertheless, you may find it helpful to know what millions of migraine patients find helpful for them.

You know some foods are healthy in abundance, and some are best kept to a minimum. But for many people with migraine, eating healthy is more complicated. Some foods help prevent or reduce the length and intensity of migraines, while others can trigger severe migraines. Read on to learn which foods to skip and which foods might even help migraines go away.

Smoked Or Processed Meats

If you’re eating meats or vegan meats that are processed, they likely contain additives, such as nitrates and nitrites, which can dilate blood vessels and cause headaches in some people. Plus, these meats also have tyramine, says Rizzo, which might lead to the onset of head pain. You’re better off grilling or roasting a plain piece of unprocessed meat and pairing it with fresh veggies instead of pickled or fermented ones.

Discover 11 Foods That Can Help Migraines Go Away

Below are a few of the best foods to try to see if they positively impact your migraines. The first few are all rich in magnesium, a nutrient that seems to play a role in migraines.

Magnesium supplements are common treatments for migraine. The science behind this practice is that the ongoing pain of migraine causes neurons in the brain to become more active and more sensitive than normal, and that this hypersensitivity plays a big role in the chronification of migraine .

Magnesium is a gate-keeper to these neurons. When it is found in abundance, it keeps the gates closed and prevents the neurons from becoming more active or more sensitive. When it is depleted, the gates open and ions or chemicals can alter the physiological properties of the neurons involved in the generation of migraine headache.

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Watermelon Provides Fluids To Keep You Hydrated

Interesting fact: Watermelon is actually considered a vegetable because of the way its grown, although some people would argue it belongs firmly in the fruit category because of its sweet flavor and higher sugar content.

Watermelon also has a lot of water in it. Its actually 92 percent water, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Getting plenty of water both by drinking it and by consuming foods that contain lots of water will help you stay hydrated.

Getting enough fluids is important for all aspects of health, including migraine, says Brown. About one in three people with migraine say dehydration is a trigger, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

Many fruits and vegetables can have a hydrating effect, and the fresher it is, the higher the water content, says Brown.

Broccoli May Help Prevent Menstrual Migraine

Foods That Help With Migraines

Changes in hormone levels can lead to headaches, especially for women with menstrual migraine or headaches, says Brown. Falling levels of estrogen, which occur just before menstruation begins, can trigger an attack, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

Women who have this type of migraine would benefit from increasing their intake of cruciferous vegetables, because of their effects on estrogen, Brown says.

Cruciferous vegetables contain hormonally active compounds called phytoestrogens, which can have estrogenic, or estrogen-like, effects in humans or, conversely, antiestrogenic effects. Its thought that the antiestrogenic effects of some phytoestrogens may lower a womans risk of certain types of cancer by lowering her exposure to her own estrogen.

Some research, cited in a February 2021 review in Climacteric, indicates phytoestrogens improve bone mineral density and markers of cardiovascular risk in post-menopausal women effects that estrogen would be expected to have in premenopausal women.

Theres also some evidence that phytoestrogens help to prevent menstrual migraine attacks in premenopausal women, according to a review published in Neurological Sciences.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy those can all be very helpful if you include more of them in your diet, says Brown.

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Watch What You Drink Too

Caffeine: Although not technically a food, caffeine comes in at the top of the migraine trigger list. This natural stimulant is most commonly found in tea, coffee and cocoa, as well fizzy drinks and energy drinks. Both consuming it in beverages and experiencing caffeine withdrawal can lead to migraine attacks.

Alcohol: Congeners, byproducts of alcohol, have also been linked to headaches. Dark alcoholic drinks like red wine, whiskey and brandy are said to have a higher concentration. As well as leaving us dehydrated, alcohol relaxes the blood vessels, resulting in increased blood flow to the brain.

What to try instead: Decaffeinated hot drinks such as herbal teas containing chamomile, ginger and turmeric all boast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve migraine and headache pain. These teas may also help reduce stress and anxiety another contributing factor to migraines.

Instead Of: Fresh Oranges For Breakfast

You may think that eating plenty of citrus fruits is a good thing to begin your day, but for some people, fresh citrus can be a trigger. Plus, the added acid isnt doing a stomach upset by migraine any favors.

Try: Cooked fruit such as pears or cherries

Compounds in tart cherries can ease inflammation, including inflammation that may make a migraine worse. Mixed in with some overnight oats, chia seeds, and rice milk, cooked cherries or pears help you work towards your daily recommended amount of fruit without increasing your pain.

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Dietary Supplements For Migraine Prevention

A majority of patients with migraine have tried using minerals, herbs, and vitamins to treat their headaches. Patients have different reasons for using supplements, including the idea that they are more natural or do not require a prescription. Because these complementary and alternative treatments can affect pain pathways and other body functions similar to prescription medications, it is important to be aware of the nature of these supplements, including potential side effects and the quality of evidence supporting their use for migraine prevention.

Migraine And Food: Whats The Connection

Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

Although the cause of migraine is unknown, evidence suggests that these painful headaches are induced by altering chemical compounds, such as serotonin, which narrow blood vessels throughout the body. There is, however, a huge knowledge gap on the subject, and much more research is needed particularly concerning triggers.

Eating a well-balanced diet offers endless health benefits it gives us energy, enables growth and repair, and helps to prevent illness. One 2021 study found that a diet rich in fatty fish, which is thought to soothe inflammation, helped frequent migraine sufferers reduce their monthly number of headaches and intensity of pain.

Mediterranean and DASH diets are also believed to ease migraine, with certain foods such as olive oil, green leafy vegetables and nuts protecting the brain from oxidative stress.

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Identify Your Trigger Foods And Construct A Migraine Diet Plan

This is where the daily activity journal will do the most good. Since foods affect people differently, it helps to reset your diet to mostly safe foods to begin with. Trigger foods usually take about two days to start causing headaches again so you can then slowly add in foods you enjoy to see if they are the culprit for headaches.

Caution should be advised when changing your diet as there is no universal migraine diet that is right for everyone. A well-balanced diet is recommended. You should avoid skipping meals as this can have negative effects and actually exacerbate migraines.

Migraine Causes And How To Prevent Them With Your Diet

When you have a migraine, you likely have a hard time doing anything. All you want to do is lie down in a dark room with a cold washcloth on your head and will the pain away.

Pulsing, throbbing, pounding and often debilitating migraines affect approximately 36 million Americans. Although not always preventable, understanding migraine causes, including foods that cause migraines, can help sufferers avoid them.

Its also important to distinguish between a regular headache and an actual migraine.

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The Connection Between Your Diet And Migraines

While migraines may arise due to a wide range of factorsand these vary from person to persontheres no doubt that diet and dietary patterns are linked to the condition. How so? Heres a quick breakdown:

  • Certain foods and drinks contain substances that may trigger migraine attacks.
  • Skipping meals or eating at irregular times can also bring on migraines.
  • Obesity is a risk factor for migraines, so diet may be used to promote weight loss.

More research is needed about the exact associations between diet and migraines. However, the current consensus is that they increase the chances of attacks. And, for an estimated 20% of those with this disorder, certain foods and drinks act as triggers.

Berries May Relieve Sinus Pressure

Struggling with Migraines? Try the Plant

Eating things that are high in antioxidants can help to relieve sinus pressure over time, says Brown. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all good choices.

Smaller fruits tend to have more exposure to pesticides, and so Brown recommends getting organic berries whenever possible.

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Eliminating The Food And Drink Culprits

Since each person is different as to which foods and drinks cause and relieve headaches, it takes giving the special diet attention to determine what triggers headaches and what helps headache pain. It may be possible to link certain foods to your headaches, so you can eliminate them from the diet, or to link them to headache relief and add them to the diet.

Developing a healthy lifestyle is also crucial to headache management. You should not rely only on medications for relief. Many headaches are caused by stress and tension, so address the stress factors in your life. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Limit alcohol intake. Do not skip meals. Drink lots of water every day. Get regular good sleep. Exercise regularly. These are behaviors that anyone can control and will go a long way towards preventing headaches and/or minimizing headache pain.

Morning Pickup Or Daily Grind

Caffeine can help treat migraine headaches. Patients often report that coffee or soda helps reduce head pain. Caffeine is also a common ingredient in over-the-counter headache medicines. Many patients note that medicines with caffeine are more helpful than those without. However, caffeine is a drug, and like many other drugs, it can cause problems when overused. Caffeine can be useful when used infrequently, but using it daily can lead to medication overuse headaches, which are also known as rebound headaches. Using more than 100 mg of caffeine daily is a known risk factor for developing daily headache.

Some suggestions for caffeine use in migraine patients:

  • Episodic migraine patients should limit caffeine intake to one or two beverages daily .
  • Patients with daily headaches should consider avoiding caffeine completely.
  • Limit the use of caffeine-containing medications to no more than two days a week.
  • Reduce caffeine intake slowly, by 25% each week, to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
  • The amount of caffeine in different brands and types of coffee varies widely, from 133mg of caffeine in a large McDonalds brew to 415mg in a venti Starbucks. The same is true for different medicines. Consider using an online calculator or talking to your doctor when figuring out your daily caffeine use.
  • Caffeine is probably not the only cause of frequent migraines, but reducing caffeine will often help improve headache.

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Food To Eat With Migraine

Anyone who suffers from migraines will tell you that they would do pretty much anything to avoid them. Sometimes the cause is hormonal or stress-related, but diet can also play a big role.

Foods most likely to trigger migraines include wheat, milk, cheese, chocolate, coffee, sugar, peanuts, pork, and chemical additives and preservatives, but the specific triggers are different for each person. Many migraine attacks are thought to be due to undetected food allergies.Since nausea and vomiting are often part of the migraine experience, many sufferers do not really want to eat anything during a migraine. Still, sometimes it can help relieve symptoms if you eat well and drink plenty of fluids.

Also, skipping or postponing meals is associated with the onset of migraines. You can even benefit from a snack before bed to keep blood sugar levels constant during the night. Stay tuned to learn what foods are best to eat and when to eat them to combat the annoying migraines.

Grains

Fluctuating blood sugar is thought to be related to headaches, and a good, slow-burning carbohydrate can help keep this in balance. People who suffer from migraines often also have low magnesium levels, which is why eating magnesium-rich whole grains or oatmeal is recommended.

It should also be noted that gluten can trigger migraines in some people. If that applies to you, you should avoid wheat and stick to gluten-free grains like quinoa, rice, millet, amaranth, and corn.

Fish and Meat

Fruits

Fruit Warning

What Foods Help With Migraine

Foods to avoid in Migraine – Ms. Sushma Jaiswal

Since every migraine sufferer is different, itâs difficult to deem a particular food or ingredient âsafeâ for everyone. Generally, eating a balanced diet and consuming foods that are fresh including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is a good place to start, but still, triggers can lurk in seemingly âhealthyâ foods. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has that âvirtually never contribute to headaches or other painful conditions,â including:

  • rice
  • cooked yellow vegetables
  • cooked or dried non-citrus fruits

The Association of Migraine Disorders has created a more extensive list of âmigraine safe foods,â compiled of foods that do not contain preservatives, yeasts, flavorings, and other potentially triggering additives. Examples of safe foods include:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • fresh beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork, turkey, and veal
  • poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds without natural flavors
  • most cereals, except for those containing nuts, dried fruits, or aspartame
  • plain bagels
  • quick bread, such as pumpernickel or zucchini bread
  • most plain pretzels and potato chips
  • unflavored crackers, such as saltines or Club crackers
  • white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread from a store

While the full list is extensive and can be found here, itâs meant to guide your food choices rather than be definitive.

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Prioritize Sleep To Lower Migraine Risk

A frequent problem for those with chronic migraine: poor sleep. Getting eight hours of sleep is really important, says Dr. Rajneesh. But according to a 2018 study, people with migraine are five times likelier to have insomnia than people who dont suffer from migraines. Chronic migraine also appears to increase the risk of sleep apnea, which makes your brain receive less oxygen, and when you wake up in the morning youll have more headaches, explains Dr. Rajneesh. Tell your doctor if you have trouble sleepingand consider doing a sleep study to determine if sleep apnea could be triggering your migraines.

Is It A Trigger Or A Warning

We know that the brain of someone with migraine likes balance, like regular sleep and meal patterns. We also know that migraine can be triggered by alcohol and the menstrual cycle. The evidence for other triggers, such as exercise, eating chocolate and bright light, is less certain.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is really a trigger, or if what youre experiencing is an early symptom of a migraine attack.

Studies have found that sometimes what you may think is a trigger is actually to do with the premonitory or warning stage of a migraine attack.

During this stage, you may get symptoms such as changes in your mood or emotions, cravings for certain foods, and being more sensitive to light, sound or smells.

These symptoms can lead to you think that something is triggering your migraine attack. For example, at the beginning of a migraine attack, you may start to crave sweet foods. You may then eat some chocolate to satisfy the craving. When you then get a headache, you may think that eating chocolate was the trigger. But actually you were starting to have a migraine attack when the cravings started and the cravings were the warning sign.

The same could be true for other triggers. If you are more sensitive to light in the warning stage, you might think bright lights are a trigger. If you are more sensitive to smells, you might think certain scents are a trigger.

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A Migraine Diet Made Easy

We have put together a list of tasty and healthy foods that are rich in the vitamins and minerals that will help fight off migraines. We have also included some tips and tricks on crafting an overall better migraine diet, from what to avoid to what you should definitely eat. Finally, we rounded that up with a collection of eat this, not that recommendations at the end.

There has been quite a bit of research done on the correlation between certain foods and migraines. The results are usually classified into categories such as pain-safe foods that never contribute to headache and common triggers that often cause headaches. Everything else can fall in the middle and not all diet choices will be right for you.

Some triggers will affect you and some wont, so it is always a smart idea to keep track of what you eat and how it affects you. You can use a daily activity journal to track and identify problem foods and activities to better understand how to mitigate your migraines. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that it could take several months to notice a sizeable difference when eliminating certain foods. Remember, changing your diet isnt guaranteed to make you migraine-free, but it is a powerful tool in helping you reduce migraine episodes and pain overall.

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