Diet and Migraine Headaches

Migraines are one of the most common causes of chronic pain on the planet, causing a potential lower quality of life and lost work time. Over four million people throughout the world have chronic migraines, or about fifteen migraine days per month. Of those people, over ninety percent of them cannot function normally when they get migraines. While there have been many interventions of different kinds proposed over the years, some sufferers are less inclined to take more medications, and often look to natural methods of reducing migraines. One of those might be the diet.

Eat More Fatty Fish

A diet that is high in fatty fish has been shown to reduce the number of headaches per month for migraine sufferers. This is in comparison to a diet that is higher in vegetable-based oils and fats. The results from a study showing this strong connection between fatty fish and reduced migraines did also make it clear that medications for migraines are often only partially effective, and come with side effects you won’t get from changing your diet.

Caffeine – the Migraine Catch-22

Many people’s migraines are triggered by caffeine, while at the same time, caffeine is frequently and effective treatment for some migraines. The best bet if you suffer from migraines is to practice moderation and, in many cases, it is probably easiest on you if you only take it in the form of any medications you take that contain caffeine. More than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day (total) will put you at greater risk of developing daily headaches.

Supplements for Migraines

While you should always be careful about any big claims made by any supplement, there are some supplements that may help reduce your migraines. Among these are vitamin b2, coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10), Petasites (or butterbur), magnesium and feverfew. You should make sure whatever you are taking is healthy for you outside of migraine prevention, too. For instance, feverfew should not be used while you are pregnant.

Stay Consistent

Don’t skip meals – this is a common migraine trigger on its own – and make sure to eat healthy meals as often as possible. Your body and your brain will reward you for making healthier choices. Five smaller meals per day is often recommended over three large ones. Hydration is not only good for you generally, but dehydration can affect some people’s propensity for headaches, so drink a good amount of water each day.

Avoid Your Triggers

This might seem like common sense, but if you really enjoy something that also happens to trigger your migraines, cutting yourself off can be difficult. Some potential triggers are alcohol, aged cheese, chocolate, yeast extract and cured meats. Learn to find alternatives to your favorite foods, or make a diet shift that can help wean you off of your love of certain flavors.

If you need to speak with someone about your chronic migraines, contact the Maryland Pain & Wellness Center today to discuss your options and your preferences for type of migraine intervention.

Author
Maryland Pain & Wellness

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