Nutrition is a crucial component of your health and well-being. A healthy diet can help prevent a variety of health issues, even some that may seem totally unrelated, such as migraines. Migraines are a type of headache that causes intense pain and other debilitating symptoms such as nausea and light/sound sensitivity. Migraines can arise due to genetic and environmental factors, including poor and improper nutrition.
Some foods can trigger or prevent migraines. The exact mechanism behind this link is not fully understood. Some compounds found in food can affect the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, and blood vessels, leading to migraines. One example of an aspect of nutrition linked to migraines is tyramine, a compound that forms when proteins in food break down. Foods high in tyramine include aged cheeses, cured meats, and fermented foods like kimchi. Additionally, a stimulant in coffee and tea, caffeine, can relieve headaches in some people but triggers migraines in others. Alcohol can dilate blood vessels. This increases blood flow to the brain, triggering migraines in some individuals. Red wine is a common trigger, because it is aged it has tyramine in it, along with histamines, sulfites, and other compounds that may contribute to migraines in susceptible individuals. Another example is citrus fruits which contain a compound called histamine. Histamine can cause blood vessels to dilate and constrict, leading to migraines.
Eating at regular intervals and not skipping meals is an essential part of migraine management. Just as not eating foods that spike blood sugar, and this does not mean avoiding sugar alone. As an example, eating white bread spikes more blood sugar than a snickers bar. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, and limit carbohydrates as most will spike blood sugar. It should also have lean proteins and healthy fats. A diet like this can help regulate blood sugar levels, thus reducing inflammation and preventing migraines.
The mineral magnesium helps in many bodily functions, including blood sugar regulation and blood pressure control. It also aids in nerve and muscle function. It can prevent migraines by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow to the brain. Most Americans are deficient in this mineral. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fish are rich in magnesium.
Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, helps prevent migraines by improving mitochondria function. Foods rich in riboflavin include dairy products, fish, meat, eggs, and leafy greens.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and essential for brain health. They help prevent migraines by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow to the brain. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like tuna and salmon, nuts, and seeds.
Identify and avoid trigger foods that can increase the risk of migraines. You can keep a food diary to track your symptoms and identify patterns if you suspect some foods are triggering your migraines. Work with an experienced migraine professional to develop a plan to eliminate trigger foods from your diet.
It is always best to get nutrients from whole foods. However, some people may benefit from taking supplements to ensure they are getting enough of certain nutrients. It is vital to consult a qualified professional before taking any supplements. Some may interact with medications or have other potential side effects. Also, a lot of supplements on the market are not regulated, so they might not be effective.
Dehydration can trigger migraines. Drinking plenty of water and other non-dehydrating fluids helps prevent migraine headaches. We recommend drinking half your body weight ounces every day to make sure you are hydrated enough. You can have more if you are physically active or in a hot environment.
For more information on migraines triggered by nutrition, contact Calibration Chiropractic + Functional Health at our office in Mansfield, Texas. Call (817) 779-3435 to book an appointment today.