Decreasing Migraine Frequency with Nutrition
Does Migraine bother you and affect your quality of life?
Headache Disorders are one of the major causes of disability worldwide and studies have shown that one out of six people is suffering from the different intensities of headaches which are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
Psychiatric comorbidities like Anxiety and Depression, sleep disorders, fatigue, cardiovascular risk factors (eg, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity), and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases are also associated with Migraine.
Through Functional Medicine, the doctor partners up with the patient to directly work on the major triggers of Migraine and control them to reduce the migraine frequency.
Research has shown that food is the major trigger of Migraine, hence nutritional intervention is highly recommended for better results.
Nutrition treatments for migraine may help to reduce allergy-based triggers and influence systemic inflammation, vasodilation, and cerebral glucose metabolism, as well as attack frequency, duration, and severity.
As Food is the major triggering factor, inflammation plays a vital role. Reports have shown that 25% of the patients have seen their migraine triggering due to certain food items.
In some patients, immune-mediated food sensitivities may be involved, and IgG antibodies may correlate with inflammation. Hence, an IgG-based elimination diet has evidently shown a reduction in the frequency of migraines.
Foods to Avoid with Migraine
Also, certain food items are recommended to be avoided if you are suffering from a Migraine. These include:
- chocolate, possibly due to the chemical beta-phenylalanine
- Nitrate Rich Foods such as cured meats and hot dogs
- Monosodium Glutamate is an additive often found in processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame
- Tyramine is a chemical found in fermented foods, aged cheeses, and some kinds of fresh-baked bread
- Alcohol and Beverages like wine and beer
- Gluten and dairy should also be avoided as they are highly inflammatory.
Apart from this, food cravings and hunger may also be a root cause of triggers as due to low blood sugar levels, people have food cravings and by the time they eat anything, a migraine attack may already be there. So Food, Hunger, or both can be the triggering factors of migraine. Also, eating something too hot or too cold triggers a migraine, avoid having hot and cold treats.
Foods and Supplements for Migraine
Other than this, there are certain supplements, diets and food items that are beneficial for patients with migraine. These are:
- Some plants of the genus Petasites (like butterbur), the nutritional supplements coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and magnesium glycinte, CoQ10 with L-carnitine, and cinnamon may be beneficial in patients with migraine.
- Riboflavin, which is suggested to improve energy metabolism similarly to CoQ10, has also shown effective results in reducing migraine frequency.
- Migraine Patients are mostly deficient in Vitamin D, hence Vitamin D Supplements also help to reduce the number of migraine attacks.
- Supplements of Omega 3 Fatty Acids have also proved to reduce the severity, frequency and duration of migraine. It can be incorporated with curcumin for better results.
- Higher adherence to a Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, with increased consumption of vegetables, legumes, and nuts and decreased intake of refined grains and energy helps in reducing severe headaches.
- Low Lipid Diet and Low Glycemic Index Diet may prove to be effective and reliable diet approaches that control the frequency of migraine attacks.
- The administration of alpha-lipoic acid may also help in reduction in the number of attacks and the days of treatment in migraineurs with insulin resistance.
- Magnesium is considered an effective component to improve Migraine, hence incorporate your diet with Magnesium Rich Foods like dark leafy greens, avocado, and tuna.
- Keto helps reduce migraine attacks, hence following Ketogenic Diet that includes foods that are low in carbohydrates but rich in fat like seafood, non-starchy vegetables, and eggs. On contrary, some keto foods may trigger Migraine Attacks, so consult a dietician and get a proper diet chart for effective results.
So, apart from the regular medication, keeping a check on your diet and eliminating the triggers can help to reduce the frequency of migraines to a significant extent. Hence, avoid chocolate, cheese, citrus fruits, processed meats, monosodium glutamate, aspartame, fatty foods, coffee, and alcohol which are considered major triggers.
A systematic review has revealed fasting and alcohol as triggers in 44% and 27% of people with migraine, respectively. It is observed that Patients with triggers are reported to be more prone to have a functional disability compared to those without triggers. Hence, controlling the triggers is the utmost priority that relieves you from Migraine.
Diet interventions, such as a high folate diet, low-fat diet, high omega-3, and low omega-6 fatty acid diets, ketogenic diet, Atkins diet, and low sodium diet, have been reported to reduce migraine attacks.
So, incorporating these diets into your daily routine can help you deal with the frequency of migraines.
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