Migraines are painful headaches that keep people from getting to work or from
attending other social events. Sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting often
accompany these head-throbbing experiences. Migraine sufferers describe them as
constant and intense throbbing that can last anywhere from a few hours, to a
couple days before getting relief.
The Migraine Research Foundation indicates
that over 10 percent of the American population suffers from migraines, and that
migraines are one of the top 20 disabling medical conditions in the world.
Migraines are much more common in women than they are in men. 18 percent of
women experience migraines annually, and only 6 percent of men report having
migraines. Even school-aged children suffer from migraines which can cause them
to miss school, and fall behind in their studies.
Doctors are not exactly sure what causes migraines. Some patients experience
them as a result of weather changes, hormone fluctuation, or due to stress. The
popularity of seeking natural and organic treatments for ailments has
drastically increased the number of people using dietary changes to prevent and treat medical conditions,
including migraines. The drugs prescribed to migraine sufferers are typically
strong medicines with harsh side
effects, and can be pretty expensive. So if youíre interested in avoiding
medications or if you simply canít
afford them, pay attention because there are a variety of dietary changes you
can make that can help naturally prevent migraines.
15) Beef Why it works: Beef is a great option for
people who like first-class proteins and are afraid to try seafood as a
migraine-reducing option. A first-class protein is a protein that contains all 8
essential amino acids. Beef is also very affordable for most people. With a
decent amount of magnesium, beef can function for some as a migraine fighter.
Ways to add it: If you already eat beef,
you may want to consider changing to a lighter, less fatty version to reap its
full health benefits.
Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers - Home-style Food that Prevents
If not, you can prepare it in so many ways, from meatballs, to steak on the
grill, or stuffed
peppers. The fat on beef, even in a lean cut, has a rich flavor so you donít
need to add a lot to beef to make it tasty.
14) Olive Oil Why it works: Olive oil is rich in omega-3 fats, good fats that your body
needs to be healthy. A diet rich in omega-3 will help to lower blood pressure. Any food that
increases your blood pressure may cause headaches or migraines. Olive oil should
not be your only source of omega-3 fats because itís unlikely you could eat
as much of it as you need, to get the recommended daily amount. The Mayo Clinic
recommends that adults consume 1.6 grams of omega-3 fats per day, and olive oil
only has .2 grams per serving. This is why olive oil is low on the list. It
still has health benefits and can help prevent migraines, so consider using it
the next time you need oil for a recipe.
Try to Stick to Baking or Using Olive Oil in Salad
Ways to add it: Olive oil is a great
alternative to other oils and fats while cooking and baking in the kitchen. Be
careful, though, because frying olive oil will hinder its omega-3 health
properties. Instead, use it in baking, or to make salad dressings in which you
consume it raw. You can also add it lightly to pasta before serving. It gives a
nice olive flavor to any dish. Even people who donít typically like whole olives
will enjoy the delicate flavor of olive oil. Be careful when purchasing olive
oil that you make sure the oil you are buying is just that. Do your research to
make sure it is actually made from olives. You can usually tell that the oil is
whole, or partial olive oil, if it has a green tint to it and has an olive
taste. Some bottles even show if other oils are
combined with the olive oil, so make sure to avoid those.
13) Eggs fortified with Omega-3
Why it works:
If youíre not a fish eater, you can get the same omega-3 benefits from eggs
fortified with omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fortified eggs have five times the amount
of omega-3 fats as regular eggs. These eggs are made by feeding the hen a diet
high in omega-3. You can check out the labels of any egg carton to search for
cage-free eggs. These fortified eggs shouldnít be much different in price than traditional
ones, though a cage-free egg is more expensive.
Ways to add it: Eggs are so versatile. If
youíre not an egg eater in the traditional forms, you can slide them into
recipes and not even taste them. Many baking recipes call for eggs: pancakes,
muffins, cookies, cakes, and more. Keep eggs on hand to grab if you need to bake
something. Itís particularly cost saving to bake your own breakfast items and
simply freeze them.
By keeping eggs in your refrigerator, you can do this anytime with other
simple ingredients like whole wheat flour, sugar or applesauce, oil, and baking
powder or soda, plus whatever special ingredient you want to add like fruit or
nuts. Eggs are still good if they are kept refrigerated for up to four
weeks past the date on their carton.
12) Sweet Potato Why it works: Sweet potatoes are simply healthy, no matter
what your nutrition goals are. They are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C,
omega-3 fats, and magnesium. Both omega-3 fats and magnesium are food based
migraine deterrents. With all the other added health benefits, choosing sweet
potatoes is a smart decision.
Ways to add it: Sweet potatoes are quite
versatile and can usually be found year-round in American supermarkets. Boiling,
steaming, and roasting them are the best ways to make sure their healthy properties remain intact before consuming.
Slice them thinly and drizzle with olive oil to make a baked, crispy
Sweet Potato Chips
They can also be chopped, boiled, and then mashed as a replacement for
mashed white or red potatoes. A lot of people like to add cinnamon and butter to
sweet potatoes, though they already have a sweet flavor, so be careful how much
sweetness you add to them. They make a great ingredient for baking as well.
Sweet-potato pie, anyone? If youíre not a huge sweet-potato fan, but love white
or red potatoes, try mixing in some sweet potatoes. If you mash or roast your
potatoes, you can add them in a more subtle way.
11) Chicken Why it works: Chicken is another great
alternative for the non-fish eaters out there. It is also extremely affordable.
Even hormone and antibiotic-free chicken is easily accessible and affordable
these days. Chicken is also high in omega-3 fats, as well as to packing a punch of magnesium. Plus, most Americans
grew up consuming chicken on a pretty regular basis, so itís a comfortable and
safe ingredient for many people.
Ways to add it: If youíre not already
eating chicken, you can prepare it in so many ways. It can dry out quickly, but
needs cooked so that any pink is
removed from the center. Itís such a common ingredient, but so many people
overcook it. To prevent it from drying out, you can cook chicken in a marinade in a crock pot. Crock pots are fairly affordable, and you can get a small one to cook
small family meals. Make sure your marinade is nice and moist and
covers all the chicken. You may want to add some olive oil to it. Another way
to get the most use out of a chicken is by cooking a small whole chicken in the crock pot
for about five hours, and then using the bones to make your own chicken stock to
make soups you can freeze.
Chicken Chasseur - Classic French Casserole
Then all you have to do is throw it in the microwave to heat it up, eating
when you donít have time to cook and possibly grabbing a bite on the run.
Chicken is versatile as an ingredient and can be prepared in
so many ways. You can also use almost every part of the chicken in preparation.
10) Tuna Why it works: Tuna has an extremely high
amount of omega-3 fats. If youíre a fish eater, tuna is a good choice for you.
It has almost .5 grams per serving, almost 5 times the amount of omega-3 than
chicken contains. Tuna also has about the same amount of
magnesium that chicken does. It also contains a healthy dose of riboflavin or
vitamin B-2, which is another natural migraine preventive supplement. With all of these headache fighters,
itís hard to say no to tuna.
Ways to add it: If you donít love canned tuna, try fresh tuna cooked like a
steak. Some people only associate tuna with tuna salad and a mayonnaise-rich
sauce, but there are so many other ways to prepare and eat tuna.
Even if you
donít like sushi you may enjoy tuna tartare. In this preparation it is only
cooked with citrus juice, so itís practically rare. If the flavors of the
vinaigrette are punchy and flavorful, then you probably wonít even tell that
youíre eating tuna. Of course, classic tuna salad with crackers is popular with
many people and is an excellent way to reap all of its health benefits with very
9) Pork Why it works: One serving of pork has half a recommended dayís amount of
vitamin B-2. High amounts of vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
can help prevent migraines. It will not alter the strength or duration of
migraines, but it may result in less headaches and migraines for a migraine
sufferer. Pork is another affordable protein that many American families already
consume regularly. It goes in and out of fashion in the food industry but if
youíve forgotten about it, try bringing it back into your diet.
Classic Pork Chop
Ways to add it: Pork is a light meat
similar to chicken. In fact, it can be a chicken substitute in almost any dish.
Pork loin is particularly juicy,
tender and relatively affordable. You can even purchase marinated pork loin at
the grocery store. Be careful of the salt content in these prepared protein dishes
as most prepared foods usually contain high quantities of sodium.
Roast Pork Tenderloin
It may be cheaper and healthier for you to make your own marinade. Pork also
pairs well with fruits like strawberries and apples, and can be served cold in
the summer for a refreshing change to classic dishes like boring chicken salad.
8) Whole Grains Why it works: Whole grains are good for you for a variety of reasons. They
are packed with complex carbohydrates that your brain needs to function
properly. They also help to prevent blood sugar swings that may cause headaches
and migraines. Whole grains
can help reduce cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Both of these ailments can
contribute to the horrific pain headache and migraine sufferers experience every
day. Whole grains also contain vitamin B-2 and magnesium. A vitamin and mineral
that both ward off migraines. It is so easy to purchase whole grains these days
in a variety of forms, so consider going the whole grain route instead of
choosing a refined grain the next time you are shopping.
Ways to add it: The best way to make the switch from refined to whole grains
is to start mixing them together. Some people note that whole-grain bread,
pasta, and rice are an acquired taste. By eating half and half at first, you can
slowly ease into the transition. Be careful when you purchase whole grain products, because many are labeled ďwhole grainĒ but also contain refined grains.
To know that a product is 100 percent whole grain you must look at the
ingredient label. The first ingredient in bread, pasta, or rice should be ď100
percent whole grain/wheat.Ē If itís not, look at for an alternative brand or product
that has 100 percent whole grain/wheat printed on the box. You can even
make your own whole grain products at home: breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, and
more. If you purchase white whole-wheat flour, it will give you all the benefits
of red germ whole wheat, but with the taste and cooking properties of refined
white flour. Your kids wonít even notice the difference!
7) Almonds Why it works: Almonds have been a known headache fighter for
a long time in the health community. And
with almond milks and butters in vogue, itís easier than ever to add them to
your diet. One serving of almonds has more than half of the recommended daily
value of magnesium, one of the most important headache fighting minerals.
Ways to add it: With the increased caution about GMOs and the ways in which
soybeans are cultivated and processed in this country, it makes sense to use
almond milk in cereal and for baking needs.
It tastes similar to both soy milk
and cowís milk, and can be stored in the fridge for weeks. Almond butter, though a more
expensive alternative to peanut butter, is also packed with the healthy benefits
of almonds. Kids probably wonít be able to tell the difference either. A handful
of lightly salted almonds as a snack will go a long way to helping prevent the
next headache that might be right around the corner, and will keep you satisfied
and full for hours.
6) Leafy Greens Why it works: Any leafy green is a great option for headache prevention. They
are also filled with magnesium, so theyíll stave off that upcoming headache or
migraine. You can easily find leafy greens in your grocery store, too. You get a
lot of nutrition for a relatively little expense.
Fresh Green Kale
Ways to add it: Not everyone loves leafy greens. You can sneak them into
smoothies and shakes or use just a small amount in salads with less leafy
lettuce. Donít forget that greens on turnips and beets also count.
Fresh Red Beet Juice
If they are
sautťed lightly, they will provide a delicious and inexpensive dose of magnesium.
5) Broccoli Why it works: Broccoli is rich in phosphorous, a mineral that aids the body
in energy storage. This is essential for nerve function and can help prevent
migraines that are caused because of low electrolytes or fluids.
Glass of Broccoli Juice
Ways to add it: Broccoli is not everyoneís favorite food, but its health
benefits make it worth eating. If youíre not a fan of boiled or steamed
broccoli, try roasting it in the oven with some olive oil and salt and pepper.
Roast at a high temperature or even broil. The tips will get a bit crispy, and
some of the bitter flavor will subside with the addition of olive oil and salt
4) Halibut Why it works: If you like seafood, choose a fish like halibut. Halibut has
almost all of the migraine-fighting elements: omega-3 fats, magnesium, and
vitamin B-2. The omega-3 fats in halibut are so high, that youíd just need a
over a single serving to get your recommended daily amount. Itís also a more
palatable fish for most than tuna.
Halibut Seared on a Bed of Brown Rice
Ways to add it: Halibut is a delicate and flaky white fish. Its delicate
flavor is mild enough even for those who donít love fish. Toss it on the grill
with a flavorful marinade and itíll cook quickly and taste delicious. Try it
instead of chicken or steak next time you have a barbeque.
3) Flaxseeds Why it works: Believe it or not, flaxseeds
have way more omega-3 fats than any fish. Just one serving of flaxseeds will
give you almost 30 times your recommended daily amount! It seems that a lot of
companies now are putting flaxseeds in their products, so itís easier than ever
to get them into your system as a powerful
Brown and Golden Flaxseed
Ways to add it: Try a cereal with flaxseeds. On their own, they may be too
gritty and rich for most people, but put in cereal or granola, flaxseeds are
delicious. And since you only need a small amount, you can simply add a small
handful to one of your meals and youíre set for the entire day.
2) Pumpkin Seeds Why it works: One serving of pumpkin seeds has almost twice the recommended
daily amount of magnesium. Magnesium has been proven to be the number one
migraine fighter when it comes to minerals. Almost every medical source on
migraines recommends magnesium as a preventive dietary measure. It also has the added bonus of
relaxing you and helping you sleep. Lack of sleep can certainly worsen or even
cause headaches and migraines.
Organic Pumpkin Seeds
Ways to add it: You can usually find
pumpkin seeds at the store easily in the nut section, but itís fun to roast them
yourself in the fall. Pumpkins are relatively inexpensive when theyíre in
season, so simply add some olive oil and spices to the seeds, pop them in the
oven at a high temperature, and youíll have a tasty snack in minutes. You can
also add them to salads for an added crunch.
1) Water Why it works: The best thing you can do to prevent headaches and migraines is
to stay hydrated. This is a crucial component for preventing migraines. With so
many drink options available, it is no surprise that many people live in a
natural state of dehydration. Diuretic drinks such as coffee, soda, and tea are
sometimes the only liquids people drink throughout the day. For some people
caffeine is a trigger so if you suffer from migraines, go for decaf tea or
coffee in moderate amounts. According to a report in the Associated Press, the
average American consumes 44 gallons of soda per year. One of the first symptoms
of dehydration is headache or light-headedness. If youíre already a headache
sufferer, this dehydration headache can quickly escalate into a full-blown
migraine. Many people donít even realize they are dehydrated. The best way to
determine if youíre dehydrated is to evaluate how you feel when you go for a
drink. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated and should only be
reaching for water. By staying hydrated you will be taking the best step at not
only preventing migraines, but improving your overall health and diet.
Ways to add it: There are many supplement
mixes that can be added to water to help you get the amount of water you need.
The general rule of thumb is to take your weight, divide it in half, and then
drink that many ounces of water per day. So, if you are a 140-pound woman, you
should consume 70 ounces of water (or 8.75 glasses that are 8 ounce in size) per
day. Since you are trying to prevent migraines, you may want to hydrate a bit
beyond this recommendation. When choosing a mix to add to your water, if you
donít like the taste of water or canít bring yourself to drink that many ounces,
be careful to read the ingredients. Some of these supplement mixes contain
caffeine, artificial sweeteners, or large amounts of sugar. Choose a supplement
mix that is derived from real fruit and contains supplements you feel
comfortable taking (Vitamin C is a great one). You should also carry around a
bottle of water so that you can sip on it all day long. This way, you can sneak
in a lot of extra water without feeling like you have to drink many glasses of
water all at once.
Most migraine sufferers live in fear about when their next migraine will come
along. If you equip yourself with the knowledge to help prevent these
debilitating headaches, you can go through your day and life with confidence
that youíve done all you can do to prevent the next one from sneaking up on you. And if your migraines are
caused by stress, taking preventative measures can also help relax you and
decrease the stress you feel.
Of course everybodyís migraine triggers are unique. If you are a new migraine
sufferer, consider keeping a food diary so that you can track which foods
trigger them. Even if a food is on the migraine prevention list, if it causes
you to feel bad or get a headache or migraine, you should stop incorporating it
into your diet. With the right tools and a healthy diet and life outlook, you
can prevent migraines before they even happen.
References: 13) Eggs fortified with Omega-3
Authority Nutrition - (omega-3 fortified eggs have five times the amount
of omega-3 fats as regular eggs)
American Egg Board - (eggs can be kept refrigerated for up to four weeks
past the date on their carton)
Medline Plus - (high amounts of vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) can prevent
8) Whole Grains
Harvard School of Public Health - (whole grains can help reduce
cardiovascular issues and diabetes)