Drug Free Treatment: Migraine Fighting Foods

March 1, 2013

We are all too familiar with some of the foods that appear on chronic migraine trigger lists.  From red wine, to chocolate to cheese, it seems like migraineurs are destined for a culinary abyss.  Before you resign yourself to the idea that you can no longer eat at all, consider this bright news: some foods may actually be drug free migraine treatments!

Health and nutrition expert Joy Bauer recently told Marlo Thomas in an interview with the Huffington Post, that certain nutrients have been shown to prevent migraines, or lessen the severity of migraine symptoms.  Foods rich in these beneficial nutrients should be included in your diet, while trigger foods should be completely eliminated, until you can determine the impact individual foods have on your chronic migraine condition.

Nutritionist Bauer recommends consuming the following nutrients and foods as a drug free migraine solution:

While not an actual ‘food’, water is vital for body functioning.  To avoid dehydration, which is a migraine trigger, she recommends that women drink 9 cups and men drink 13 cups of fluid each day.  Water tops the list, but other beverages can be included, so long as they aren’t too high in sugar, calories or caffeine.

She claims this mineral is especially helpful to women who experience menstrual migraines, although it is helpful for all migraines including episodic and chronic migraine.  Foods with high magnesium content include spinach, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, Swiss chard, fresh amaranth, quinoa, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and whole grains.  Other foods loaded with magnesium are broccoli, kale, wheat germ, black strap molasses, bananas, cantaloupe, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds and almonds.

Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is used in cellular energy production.  According to Bauer, research has suggested migraine sufferers have difficulty with maintaining energy at this cellular level, and could benefit from boosting riboflavin intake with foods high in this vitamin, and 400 mg of a daily supplement. Some riboflavin rich foods are lean beef, whole grain fortified cereal with low fat milk, mushrooms, broccoli and spinach.  Other foods that may help manage chronic migraine episodes include organ meat, Brussels sprouts, eggs, wild rice, almonds and yogurt.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Monounsaturated Fats
These ‘healthy’ fats, linked to so many health benefits, are also believed to lessen inflammation which worsens migraine pain.  Bauer recommends eating fresh wild salmon at least twice per week along with other omega 3 foods like fortified eggs.  She also recommends switching butter for olive oil and canola oil to gain the benefits from these healthy fats.  Drug stores and natural food stores also carry a wide variety of omega 3 supplements to add to your diet if you’re not getting plenty of these nutrients through food sources alone.

A  combination, of riboflavin, omega 3 fats, magnesium and CoQ10,  a vitamin-like substance, is particularly helpful in preventing and treating a chronic migraine condition.  In her interview with the Huffington Post, Bauer said that including supplements with this combination, and working beans into your diet would go a long way in helping to alleviate chronic migraine symptoms.

Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo www.canstockphoto.com

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