While there is no definitive ‘migraine diet’, it is seen that certain foods trigger this debilitating headache, while others lessen the intensity and the frequency. People who experience migraine often recognize their triggers. However, many people don’t realize that there are foods that can mitigate the intensity of the headache and even relieve it completely. Before relying solely on non-medicinal food alternatives, they should seek permission from their healthcare provider or Neurologist in Lahore.
Which foods can Trigger Migraine?
Foods notorious for inducing migraine include: egg, dairy, onions, chocolate, nuts, wheat, citrus fruits, processed meat containing nitrites, and aged cheese.
In a small percentage of people, migraine is triggered by intake of sodium-rich foods, including MSG. Aspartame—the artificial sweetener found in diet drinks also causes migraine.
Which Foods can help to Prevent Headache?
One of the best defenses against migraine is picking the right food. Limiting foods that trigger the headache and focusing on the preventers can make life much better for people who suffer frequent migraine attacks.
The Association of Migraine Disorders have made a list of ‘migraine safe foods’ that generally are free from preservatives, flavorings and yeast that can trigger migraine. Most cereals are good ‘pain-free’ food, except those containing nuts and dried fruits. Unprocessed meat, including fresh beef, fish, lamb, chicken and turkey is also safe to eat. However, marinated meats, nut butters and breaded meats should be avoided.
Seeds like those of poppy, flaxseed, chia, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame are all good as they are a rich source of magnesium. According to registered dietitian Sarah Ferriera, MPH, RD, deficiency of magnesium is one of the reasons for persistent headache, migraine and cluster headaches. Consumption of magnesium-rich foods every day keep these debilitating headaches at bay. Moreover, they are rich in fiber, thus preventing constipation which sometimes compound migraine.
Salads are nutritious and good for health food, but only if they are dressed with fresh dips without artificial flavorings. It is safe to eat homemade ranch dressing, or a dressing with vinegar and oil. Bottled and pre-packaged dressing should be avoided.
Fruits like bananas ward off episodes of hypoglycemia which can bring on headache. Experts suggest reaching for a banana in lieu of processed foods like candy or granola bars. Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium, and are 74 percent water. Therefore, they offer a great option for people with migraine.
Teas like those of peppermint improve hydration and provide other benefits. Dr. Wynne Brown, the medical director of integrative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health, North Carolina, says that peppermint oil is an essential oil for migraine. Inhaling its steam or drinking it relieves headache.
Research published in International Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that putting a drop of diluted peppermint oil in the nose of an individual experiencing migraine, decreased the intensity of the headache in 42 percent of the people. Similarly, according to Dr. Brown, ginger tea offers comparable benefits. Ginger tea is made with half teaspoon of powdered ginger in warm water and should be consumed at the onset of headache for relief.
Individuals who experience chronic headaches should keep a food diary and discuss their triggers and relivers with their healthcare provider like Neurologist in Islamabad to find a medicinal and non-medicinal cure to their plight.