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6 Ways to Fight Migraines With Food

January 11, 2014

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If you suffer from migraines, then you know there are few feelings worse than a blinding migraine headache. For some people, migraines can be so crippling that they disable the person’s ability to drive, go to work, or even play with their children. Life with migraines is extremely challenging and it seems the only relief is a cool, dark, and quiet room to ride out the pain.

Migraines can be treated with medication, both preventative and abortive, but foods and nutrients can also play a big role keeping these headaches at bay. Of course specific triggers are different for each person, but here is a list tips to keep in mind when figuring out what you should and shouldn’t eat to avoid migraines. 

  1. Say no to happy hour: Beer and wine are both very high in tyramine, which is one of the most common triggers for migraines. Alcohol also contributes to dehydration. If you are susceptible to migraines, more often than not dehydration can lead to a headache. If you do decide to brave happy hour, try to stick with alcohol that doesn’t have high levels of tyramine and drink plenty of water throughout the evening.  
  2. Fill up your water bottle: As I mentioned above, dehydration is one of the leading causes of migraine headaches. To prevent this, make sure you are drinking about half of your weight in ounces of water per day. That means if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water to stay properly hydrated.
  3. Remember to read the label: Many food additives could contribute to migraines, so it’s important to read the ingredient list before you eat anything. Try to avoid foods that have MSG, yeast extract, or hydrolyzed plant protein. Sticking to a diet of natural, unprocessed foods is the best way to avoid any additives that could cause migraines. 
  4. Skip that morning cup of joe: If you are sensitive to caffeine, meaning you get a stomachache when you drink tea or coffee makes you too jittery to function, then you may be at risk of developing migraines after drinking caffeine. It is a good idea to cut out all caffeinated beverages including coffee, tea, soft drinks, and possibly even chocolate.
  5. Load up on healthy fats: Inflammation is thought to be a common trigger for migraines. Eating healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats that fight inflammation in the body is a great preventative action to take when it comes to migraines. It is a good idea to increase the amount of nuts and olive oil in your diet and consider taking fish oil or omega-3 supplements. 
  6. Figure out your food triggers: As is the case with most things when it comes to health and wellness, foods and circumstances that bring on a migraine headache vary from person to person. To find out exactly what you should be avoiding or adding to your diet to prevent migraines, start a food journal. Write down how you feel after each meal. When you get a migraine, pay close attention to the foods that you ate before. From there, you can start to cut out foods that you think might be causing the problem. If you frequently suffer from migraines, it’s a great idea to talk to your doctor before you cutting out food to see if he or she can offer you and suggestions or advice.

Do you suffer from migraines? How do you treat them naturally?