Four Ways to Beat Migraines
It’s not just in your head.
After hearing multiple TGK fans describe sweet relief from their migraine symptoms after subscribing, we set out to see how diet influences these day-ruining affairs, and what we can do to make sure all of our meals are migraine-friendly.
While research hasn’t yet delivered information on a silver bullet for migraine-reduction (diet isn’t always a factor), it does suggest that not all foods are created equal.
There are the usual suspects of alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate, which anecdotally – and to some extent, in controlled studies – can bring on that tell-tale “aura”. But some lesser-known culprits might be triggers as well. For instance, the amino acid tyramine, which is found in aged cheeses and processed meats, can kick-start blood vessel changes that mirror those at the onset of a migraine. Processed meats (think: deli meats) can hit especially hard, since they not only contain tyramine, but often contain preservatives such as nitrates or nitrites that aren’t great for anyone, but can really wreck someone’s day if they are migraine-prone.
*slowly sets down that Reuben sammy from the corner store*
Migraine sufferers also point to MSG, refined sugars, and aspartame as problem foods. RIP Chinese takeout?
Thankfully, we’ve stayed away from all of the above ingredients from day one. But head-health (and health in a holistic sense) is about more than just removing things from your diet — and thank goodness, since deprivation has never been our thing. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding a day in the pain cave, start building a life that lets you regularly give yourself good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and hydration.
I know, I know, can’t it just be simple? Actually, sometimes it can be. That’s why we do what we do, after all! On top of letting us simplify your nutrition decisions for you, here are few basic things we’ve learned from our research that can help you stay sharp and avoid mind-melting migraines:
[Big flag here that we aren’t doctors – these thoughts come from our own digging, not a medical degree. Take with a grain of salt – just hold the MSG]
Avoid foods with additives and preservatives. You might have noticed a trend among some of the trigger foods listed above – notably MSG, sugar, and nitrites/nitrates: they’re not typically found in well-sourced, minimally processed foods. Keeping your meals “real” with whole foods and simple ingredients is a safe bet. Check out some of our Whole30-approved meals and recipes for inspiration.
Don’t skip meals. We love intermittent fasting (and occasionally going hardcore with it to give our guts a break), but if you suffer from migraines, it’s important to keep your glucose levels stable. Including plenty of proteins and healthy fats in your meals can also help achieve this. Speaking of which...
Get plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a classic source of this ever-so-useful healthy fat, which can reduce inflammation and potentially protect against migraines. You can also opt for chia seeds and walnuts to get your fix.
Hydrate! What else can we say? It’s the cheapest, simplest way to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine. Pair with regular exercise for best results 👌