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Condition - Migraine

By Jenny Bodenham BA (Hons) DipION MBANT

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

Non-dietary:

  • Stress or relief of stress
  • Muscle tension
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Liver toxicity
  • Head trauma
  • Temperomandibular joint syndrome
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hormonal changes in women during menstruation and oral contraceptive use
  • Environmental changes, e.g. high pressure, pressure changes, hot and dry wind and seasonal changes

Dietary:

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Caffeine
  • Dehydration
  • Reactions to additives, e.g. saccharin, MSG, aspartame, nitrites, sulphites, sodium benzoate and artificial colours and flavourings
  • Foods such as cheese, fermented foods, bananas, eggs, milk, peanuts, citrus fruits and chocolate
  • Digestive disorders
  • Allergies and intolerances, such as wheat and milk/dairy
  • Alcohol, especially red wine and brandy

USEFUL SUPPLEMENTS

  • Magnesium aids relaxation and has an effect on blood vessel walls
  • Vitamin B2 has been shown to be useful for the control of migraines
  • Essential fatty acids: fish oils have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Probiotics help to replenish the good gut bacteria and aid the removal of wastes 
  • Feverfew has been shown to help in the prevention of migraine headaches and to reduce their frequency and severity

DIETARY ADVICE

Eliminate triggers

Avoid all potential triggers, including:

  • Caffeine, including tea, coffee, cola drinks, Red Bull and other energy drinks, as well as certain painkillers
  • Additives, such as saccharin, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, sodium benzoate and artificial colours and flavourings
  • Nitrites in foods such as processed meats (bacon, hot dogs and salamis)
  • Alcohol, especially wine, beer and cider, due to sulphites
  • Citric acid, found in tinned fruit and vegetables
  • Bananas, citrus, eggs, chocolate, peanuts, pineapple, figs and dates
  • Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, vinegar, pickled vegetables and fish, soy sauce and yeast extract
  • Allergens, such as wheat and dairy (cheese, milk, cream, yoghurt and ice cream)

Avoid dehydration

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid salt

Gain hormonal balance

This can be achieved by:

  • Having a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. The fibre found in complex carbohydrates encourages elimination of toxic waste in the body and a slow release of energy into the bloodstream. Wheat can be relied upon too heavily as a carbohydrate source and is often implicated in allergy-related migraine. It is better to reduce wheat in the diet and choose other carbohydrate sources, such as rye breads, rice breads, quinoa, brown rice, barley, oats, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, lentils and beans
  • Avoiding sugar and hidden sugar in foods
  • Opting for home-made meals with organic foods and avoiding pre-prepared meals and snacks, to reduce additives and sugar
  • Eating small meals frequently, to avoid hypoglycaemia, and adding protein to each meal. This slows digestion and the release of energy into the bloodstream

Good protein sources include lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, lean meat and soy

  • Increasing phytoestrogens in the diet, such as soy, lentils, chickpeas and beans. These have a hormone-balancing effect, especially in women. However, soy has been implicated in allergy-related migraine in some people, so it may not be suitable for all individuals
  • Reducing saturated fats from animal sources and dairy. Saturated fats may affect hormone balance

Encourage good gut bacteria

Eat prebiotic foods, such as Jerusalem artichoke, oats, salsify, leeks and onions or supplement with FOS, which feed the friendly gut bacteria and encourage their colonisation. Take a good probiotic supplement every day as well 

Lifestyle alterations

Relieve stress

Make sure you take time to relax, relieve stresses and get plenty of sleep. Magnesium can help if taken at night.


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