Foods That Fight Series-Migraine Headaches
Today’s Foods That Fight Series is another one that is personal to me because in the last two years I have been getting migraines more frequently. In fact, I’ve had more migraines in the last two years than what I’ve had, or realized I’ve had, in the previous 40 years of my life.
Many people that I’ve talked to that suffer from migraines have communicated many different triggers. The pattern that I’ve noticed for myself seems to be stress coupled with acid reflux. You may think that I could take my own “Foods That Fight” advice and eat to fight anxiety (click here for that blog) and also eat to fight acid reflux (click here for that blog), and I do, but what about when you already have a migraine? What do you do then?
What you are going to find in this blog are the foods that study’s show actively fight to relieve migraines after the fact and not the foods that are offered to never trigger them. While I believe that is good information to not trigger migraines, it doesn’t help when you are in the agony of one.
So, in true Foods That Fight Series fashion, I am going to define the issue (Migraines), give you some research based information about natural foods that may combat this issue, and tell you how I eat these foods. Lets get to it!
What are Migraines?
Merriam-Webster defines a migraine as “a condition marked by recurring moderate to severe headache with throbbing pain that usually lasts from four hours to three days, typically begins on one side of the head but may spread to both sides, is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, and is sometimes preceded by an aura and is often followed by fatigue.”
Headaches Not Necessary
The American Migraine foundation and many other sources note that “the headache of migraine need not be intense or disabling on every occasion; some migraine attacks may involve no headache whatsoever…”
Food and eating habits can be triggers for Migraine episodes. I have chosen three foods that I believe are more commonly acceptable by the mass majority, foods that I eat, and foods that research shows can have a positive effect on combating your Migraines.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has categorized sweet potatoes as a “pain-safe” food. What I have found is that sweet potatoes have more potassium than bananas. Even better is that potassium helps balance electrolytes which makes it a natural headache calmer.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fats and vitamin B-2 (riboflavin). From the research that I have found, you should seek more omega-3 fats like those found in salmon, flaxseed, halibut, and cod. I assume salmon is more commonly eaten among these four and is more commonly eaten in my house, which is why I chose it.
Dr. Vincent Martin, a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine stated that “one of the most promising diets for those with more frequent attacks of migraine is one that boosts your omega-3 fats while lessening your omega-6…” Studies from The American Migraine Foundation and Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute has shown that vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) may help decrease the frequency of migraines.
It is important to not choose smoked salmon as that may contain preservatives that can make your headache worse.
Many migraine resources such as PCRM recommend non-citrus fruits as “pain-safe” options. Cherries have been listed as one of the safe fruits but it may also be an active remedy. Cherries contain this wonderful thing called quercetin. Quercetin is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Since anti-inflammatory drugs are what most reach for to calm the pain of a headache, this natural option seems fitting for those looking to calm the inflammation naturally. Plus cherries are delicious!
What can you do with this great information I just gave you? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Provided you don’t have any allergies or health related issues with the three foods mentioned here and your doctor is okay with you eating these, your mission is to find exciting and healthy ways to eat these foods. Here are some of my favorite ways:
Sweet Potatoes: I like my sweet potatoes baked with butter and honey for a healthier sweetened option. Full disclosure, I REALLY love them with butter and brown sugar.
Salmon: I love my salmon grilled with garlic butter. Although the most common way I eat my salmon in support of my workout meal plan is Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon packs over brown rice with some olive oil drizzled over it. I dash it with a little salt and pepper and enjoy.
Cherries: I eat cherries washed and raw mostly. I consume 2 ounces of tart cherry, ginger, and turmeric in a healthy drink every day. Click here for my review on that drink.
I hope this information has enlightened and helped you. Please “heart” this blog and feel free to comment with other ways you eat the foods listed here and other helpful information.
Brian "B-Rob" Robinson is a Certified Sports Nutrition Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, YouTuber, and co-founder of LEANWellonline. His YouTube channel is called thisisb-rob.
What Is Migraine?
Uc Researchers Affirm Diet Can Impact Migraines
Anand David, A. V., Arulmoli, R., & Parasuraman, S. (2016). Overviews of Biological Importance of Quercetin: A Bioactive Flavonoid. Pharmacognosy reviews, 10(20), 84–89. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.194044