By Eirian Hallinan
Those that suffer from migraines would take just about anything to prevent the intense pain of these headaches that affect 38 million men, women, and children in the U.S. alone. Research has found that preventing migraines may be a matter of tweaking your diet and eating certain foods.
It’s long been known that certain foods and additives can trigger migraines in some people. These include. Several studies have confirmed dietary triggers of migraines, including a 1983 study by researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in London that placed 88 children with frequent, severe migraines on an elimination diet. The results were astonishing, with 78 of the children showing a complete recovery and 4 improving greatly. Once certain foods were reintroduced, all but eight experienced migraine recurrences. Since then it’s also been discovered that anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of adults reduce or eliminate their headaches by avoiding common trigger foods.
What to Eat and What Not to Eat
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the ideal migraine diet is one that and eliminates foods that are known migraine triggers and includes “pain-safe” foods that are known to almost never contribute to headaches.
Foods to Avoid
These common food triggers are listed in order of importance:
- dairy products
- citrus fruits
- wheat (bread, pasta, etc.)
- nuts and peanuts
You should also avoid these other common dietary migraine triggers:
- Alcohol, especially red wine
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Caffeinated drinks
Pain-safe foods that you should eat:
- Rice, mainly brown rice
- Cooked green vegetables, like spinach and broccoli
- Cooked yellow vegetables, like summer squash
- Cooked orange vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots
- Water (plain and carbonated)
Finding your best migraine diet is a matter of eliminating the trigger foods while adding a generous amount of the pain-safe foods for two-weeks and taking note of how many migraines you get, if any. After the two weeks, begin adding the avoided trigger foods to your diet one at a time, every two days, starting from the bottom of the list and working your way up to the riskier foods at the top of the list. By doing this you will be able to see which foods trigger your migraines.
If doing this fails to stop your migraines, consider an elimination diet similar to those recommended for those with digestive issues and arthritis.
Natural Remedies for Migraines
Along with changing your diet, you can also speak to your diet about the following natural remedies for migraines:
- Ginger: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (1 to 2 grams) of fresh powdered ginger daily
- Feverfew: 250 milligrams daily
- Calcium: 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of elemental calcium, with 200 IU (5 micrograms) of vitamin D per day
- Magnesium: 200 milligrams per day of an elemental supplement or 400 to 700 milligrams per day total using magnesium-rich foods and a supplement
Always speak to your doctor before taking any new supplement or medication.