How Lifestyle and Dietary Changes Affect Migraine?
By Jyoti Pachisia
Everyone experiences headaches from time to time, but people with migraine suffer from chronic pain. Migraines can cause excruciating pain or a throbbing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. The pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
According to a research, 1 billion people experience migraine attacks making it the third most common illness in the world.
Migraine can be hereditary, passed on from one generation to another. Migraine attacks can be so severe that pain can last for hours or days. A severe Migraine comes with warning symptoms known as the aura that occurs before or with the headache. The symptoms include flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling on one side of the face or arm.
Recent studies suggest that diet plays a crucial role in migraine attacks. A few dietary and lifestyle changes to your routine might reduce the frequency and intensity of Migraine. Experts suggest maintaining a food diary to know what food triggers Migraine. A food journal would be of great help to track the foods and drinks you consume daily. Consider yourself to be sensitive to a certain food or drink if you get a headache within 20 minutes-2 hours after eating that food or beverage. Try to keep a journal so that it would be easy to track your headache when you consume the same food the next time.
Headache hygiene is the practice of reducing the likelihood, frequency, intensity, and severity of headaches.
These include two simple steps:
• Lifestyle changes
• Trigger avoidance
Lifestyle Changes: Positive Impact on Migraine
Understanding how lifestyle affects the severity and frequency of attacks can be a large part of successful migraine prevention. These healthy and fitness routines could make wonders for your Migraine. Try to implement these changes to your routine:
1. Maintain Regular Sleep Patterns
Sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Make a routine and follow it!
2. Exercise Regularly
Opt for, Zumba or aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. This might reduce the frequency or severity of migraine.
3. Eat Regular Meals
Do not skip meals, eat a good, and healthy breakfast. Try to eat all the meals at the same time everyday. This would make your dietary routine perfect and you wouldn't crave for munchies.
4. Reduce Stress
Avoid conflicts and resolve clashes without taking stress. Stay calm and composed. Take a “stress break.” Schedule a relaxation period that includes relaxation strategies such as deep breaths.
5. Follow Medication Plan
Follow the diet plan or medication plan designed by the physician. Early intervention may help prevent the migraine from progressing into a severe, disabling attack.
6. Avoid Smoking
Smoking contains a multitude of chemicals that trigger or aggravate your headache. Quitting smoking must be on high-priority list.
People suffering from migraine are often diagnosed with low levels of magnesium. Intake of magnesium reduces the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels. Dietary sources of magnesium include beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens.
Dietary Changes: Reduce Severity of Migraine
Here’s a list of foods that can help reduce the severity and the frequency of the pain:
It has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent and treat migraine with no side effects. Take 1/2 to 1 tsp (1 to 2 grams) of fresh powdered ginger per day with a glass of warm water.
Rich in magnesium. Studies indicate that magnesium eases and prevents the onset of headaches as it plays a vital role in blood pressure regulation.
The anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and soothing properties of chamomile help relieve migraine. Drinking chamomile tea regularly helps prevent Migraine. German chamomile gives the best result, especially in the case of migraine.
The anti-inflammatory property of peppermint helps soothe the nerves and also has a calming effect. Drinking peppermint tea with raw organic honey would be helpful for Migraine.
Peppercorns are a great remedy for migraine. Soak 4-5 peppercorns in water overnight and consume them with water in the morning. Bite into it and then swallow.
6. Cayenne Pepper
It contains a phytochemical called capsaicin that alleviates the pain associated with certain headaches. Mix half to 1 tsp cayenne pepper in a cup of warm water. Optionally, add some lemon juice and raw organic honey to it. Drink this as needed.
Eating an apple (even green apple works) in the morning daily can reduce the severity of migraine and shorten the migraine episodes. Apple contains properties that balance alkaline and acidic levels in the body while providing relief from headaches or migraine.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Add 1 tbsp. ACV to a glass of water. Mix 1/2 tsp raw organic honey. Drink this daily to prevent and reduce the pain. If you are not used to ACV, start by taking 1 tsp and gradually increase the amount. During Migraine attacks or when you get the aura, take 2-3 tsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar. Munching on cucumbers, drinking lemon water, bottling gourd juice, aloe vera juice, etc. also help keep the body alkaline.
Studies have shown that low levels of riboflavin (vitamin B2) in the body is one of the triggers for migraine. It’s best to combat the low levels by eating a diet rich in dairy, meat, eggs, and leafy greens.
10. No Sugar
Avoid eating high sugar foods on an empty stomach, when excessively hungry. Foods with high protein should be prepared and eaten fresh.
Last but not the least,
1. Eat a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fresh fruits, and low-fat protein
2. Avoid processed foods
3. Do Not Miss Any Meal
Getting the right diet and food consultation with a registered dietitian and nutritionist would be of great help to prevent your Migraine attacks and their severity.