Migraine headaches affect 25 percent of the female population and about 8 percent of the male population. Most people who suffer from migraines head straight for the medicine cabinet, but there are foods that can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. These are the best ones.
I used to get severe migraines as a kid. The pain was so unbearable! I have memories of praying so intensely for it to stop because it would hurt so bad. Thankfully, I have not had one since I changed my diet to a kind one.
What are migraines?
Migraines are a type of headache characterized by intense, debilitating pain. They can last for hours or even days, and can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities. Migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms beyond just headache, which can include:
- Aura: These are sensory disturbances that often precede the headache. They can include visual changes such as seeing flashes of light, zigzagging lines, blind spots, or other symptoms like tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg.
- Nausea and vomiting: Many people with migraines experience these symptoms during an attack.
- Extreme sensitivity to light and sound: During a migraine, people often find that light and noise make their headaches worse.
- Lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting: These are less common symptoms but can occur in some people.
Migraines are often divided into two main types: migraine without aura and migraine with aura. Some people will always experience an aura before a migraine headache, while others will never experience an aura.
The exact cause of migraines isn’t completely understood, but they seem to involve changes in the brain and genetic factors. Certain triggers can also increase the risk of having a migraine. These can include stress, certain foods and drinks, lack of sleep, and hormonal changes in women.
Treatment for migraines can include a combination of medications, lifestyle changes (such as identifying and avoiding triggers), and sometimes complementary therapies like acupuncture.
Which foods cause migraines?
Since migraines aren’t fully understood, their triggers aren’t either. But there are a handful of foods connected to migraines including caffeine, alcohol, cheeses and processed meats, as well as food additives including aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, and MSG (Monosodium glutamate), a flavor enhancer used in many types of food.
Foods that fight migraines
If you follow a kind diet but still get migraines, I recommend you see a macrobiotic counselor. For now, here are five foods that have been shown to help fight migraines.
Millet contains migraine-preventing magnesium. Try it for breakfast in my millet and sweet vegetable porridge.
The research is still in its infancy ,but flaxseed is high in omega-3s, and some studies have shown that Omega-3s can reduce the frequency of migraines
3. Olive Oil
At least one study concluded that Olive Oil (also high in omega-3s) reduced the length, intensity, and duration of migraine attacks in adolescents.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a major weapon in the battle against migraines. Spinach has some of the highest amounts of riboflavin among other vegetables*.
Dehydration is a common trigger for migraines, so before you reach into the medicine cabinet, or start chowing down, make sure you’ve had your H2O!
Other foods believed to fight migraine headaches are peppermint, cayenne pepper, ginger, wheat germ, soy, and many dark leafy vegetables.