Food can be your friend or your foe. Particularly for migraineurs, food can be a serious trigger for a headache, or it can bring a blessed relief from pain. Here is a look at the best and worst foods for migraine sufferers.
Unfortunately, there are far more foods that can be migraine triggers than there are to help prevent them. But don’t give up hope, here are foods that can definitely help.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can ease chronic migraines, alleviate nerve pain and boost the immune system. It can be added to smoothies, juices, soups, salads, or used in baked dishes.
Water is essential to the proper functioning of the body. One of the common migraine triggers is dehydration. So it is important to make sure you stay hydrated.
Studies have tied levels of riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, with the reduction in frequency of migraines. Some excellent food sources of riboflavin include lean beef, mushrooms, spinach, and broccoli.
Certain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats can help reduce inflammation linked with migraine pain. Fatty fish, such as wild-caught salmon, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Olive oil is a wonderful choice for monounsaturated fats. It has been shown in studies to decrease the duration, severity of pain, and frequency of migraine headaches.
Many studies have linked magnesium with the natural prevention of migraines. It has been particularly effective against menstrual-related migraines. The top choices of food sources for magnesium are quinoa, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, fresh amaranth, Swiss chard, brown rice, and whole grains.
When it comes to foods you should avoid, the list of possible triggers is long, but here are the worst offenders.
Tyramine and phenylethylamine are amino acids that are found in a variety of foods. The best-known food sources are chocolate, aged cheeses, processed meats, fermented foods, citrus fruits, beans, avocados, vinegar, and soy foods.
Food additives like MSG, nitrites, sulfites, artificial colors, and artificial flavors are all known to be possible migraine triggers. The reason is that they can increase the flow of blood to the head in many people.
Just as the well-known term “brain freeze” implies, cold foods can definitely cause headache pain. However, for migraine sufferers, the short-lived brain freeze can be just the start of a full-blown migraine. It is best to avoid any excessively cold foods just to be on the safe side.
Alcohol of any type can cause dehydration, which as stated earlier is a trigger of headaches. If you choose to drink any kind of alcohol, it’s a good idea to alternate with glasses of water in order to replenish lost fluids. Also, keep in mind that fermented drinks like beer and wine contain tyramine.
For many people, caffeine is a major migraine trigger. Drinking more than one cup of coffee a day can be begging for a headache. Interestingly, once a migraine starts, caffeine can sometimes stop it in its tracks. Common sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks.