Memphis Blog

Migraine And Nutrition Advice

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Migraine is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headache, mostly associated with several symptoms in the autonomic nervous system. Normally, the headache is unilateral and pulsating in nature and lasts from 2 to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, and the pain is usually aggravated by physical activity. Nearly one-third of people with migraine headaches experience an aura of temporary sensory, motor, visual or speech impairment that signals the imminent occurrence of a headache. Migraine is thought to be due to a mix of environmental and hereditary factors. About two-thirds of cases run in families. Changing hormone levels may also play a role. Migraine propensity usually decreases during pregnancy. The true mechanism of migraine is unknown. However, it is thought to be a neurovascular disorder. The main theory is related to increased excitability of the cerebral cortex and abnormal control of pain neurons located in the trigeminal nucleus in the brainstem. Some foods and beverages can trigger migraines. However, the mechanisms revealing the effect of dietary interventions associated with migraine are not clear.

Migraine Diet Triggers Must Be Eliminated.

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Migraine is a very common problem. It affects about 18% of all women and 6% of all men. Studies have shown that migraine is a genetic disorder, but environment, lifestyle, and diet can still play a large role in how often you get migraines.

Commonly reported migraine triggers include alcohol (especially red wine and beer), chocolate, aged cheese, cured meats, smoked fish, yeast extract, food preservatives containing nitrates and nitrites, artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). There are a few important points to remember about migraine food triggers:

Migraine attacks are usually due to multiple factors. There are many non-diet trigger factors for migraine. When you’re already stressed, don’t sleep well, and don’t exercise, eating a food trigger can make you more likely to have a migraine attack. In this case, it’s a combination of all these different things that contributes to a migraine, not a single nutrient. Not all of these foods trigger a migraine attack in every person with migraine. Understanding your personal food triggers can be difficult.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep a food diary with your headache diary to help you identify what you ate before your migraine attacks.
  • Some foods may trigger a headache immediately, while other foods may delay the headache for up to 24 hours.
  • If you think a certain food triggers migraine attacks, you can try avoiding that food for a month.
  • Monitor your symptoms to see if they improve.
  • Be sure to try extremely strict diets.
  • There is a risk of avoiding foods that are not necessarily migraine triggers, and you may be missing out on many important nutrients.

Insulin resistance and obesity can trigger migraine

It has been reported that insulin sensitivity is impaired in patients with chronic migraine, and hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity are common. However , the highest prevalence of migraine was found in morbidly obese women .

The relationship between migraine and obesity has started to attract more attention in the last 10 years. In a study, patients with headache types were discussed and these patients were divided into 5 groups (thin, normal, obese, obese, morbidly obese) according to their body mass index (BMI). As a result, although the prevalence of migraine does not differ according to BMI, it has been found that the risk of episodic migraine returning to chronic is higher in obese migraine patients (20).

In the first longitudinal study examining the relationship between headache and obesity, 1,192 adults aged 18-65 years with episodic and chronic daily headaches were followed for 11 months. It has been stated that the conversion of episodic headache to chronic daily headache is 5 times higher in obese individuals than in non-obese individuals (22).

At the same time, daily headache is associated with obesity; however, obesity has been reported to be a stronger risk factor in migraine than tension-type headache (20). Of the 14,000 young women aged 18-23 years, obese were reported to have 47% more headaches or migraines than non-obese women. In a study, it was reported that 3,791 out of 30,215 individuals had migraine symptoms, and while there was no significant relationship between migraine prevalence and increased BMI, it was reported that there was a relationship between increased body weight and incidence of headache and severity of pain (25). In a study examining the relationship between migraine and obesity in similar age groups in recent years, data on a relationship between migraine and obesity were shown ().

Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice throughout the day

About 1/3 of migraine sufferers say dehydration is a trigger, and for some, even the slightest hint of dehydration can be the fast track to a debilitating headache. Dehydration affects the body at all levels and can cause dizziness, confusion and even become a medical emergency.

How to cope: Always carry a water bottle and monitor your fluid intake (recommendation is two liters per day) and limit your diuretic consumption. Sometimes an attack can be stopped by just drinking a glass of water

Hunger can trigger migraines.

Migraine sufferers often note that missing meals can trigger headaches. Long periods between meals can trigger migraine attacks or make headaches more severe due to low blood sugar levels. The risk of developing a headache increases with the amount of time between meals. Migraine sufferers should take time for small meals. In addition to regular sleep schedules and exercise, regular daily mealtimes are associated with fewer migraines.

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