May 16, 2021

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Changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to relieve painful migraines

Around 190,000 people experience migraines every day in England alone, and it is estimated that six million people in the UK experience migraines at some time in their lives.

Up to a quarter of women and up to 10 percent of men reported experiencing attacks, and the effects can have a major impact.

But many experts believe that changes in diet and lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in symptoms, so what should you try?

Know your triggers

“Migraines are thought to be caused by chemical changes in the nerve cells of the brain,” says Jane Clark, a nutritionist and founder of Nourish Drinks (nourishby).

Young Women Wearing Black Sports Clothing Doing Yoga
Around 190,000 people experience a migraine attack every day

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“For some of us, certain chemicals or compounds in our food can be the culprit. You may be allergic to MSG, which is the flavor enhancer found in many processed foods.”

Or, keeping a food and migraine diary may reveal that tyramine, an amino acid found in mature cheese, peanuts, chocolate, beans, and fermented foods like sauerkraut, could be your weakness in a migraine.

Stop sagging

Personal trainer Christina Chan says: “Sitting in front of a monitor all day in a leaning forward position – the dreaded ‘technical neck’ pose – will cause aches and pains in your back, neck and shoulders, which can lead to headaches and even migraines. uk).

“ If you work long hours, especially from home where preparation may not be great, it’s important to get up regularly, walk, roll your shoulders back, and open up through the chest.

A woman performing the Paschimottasana pose in a yoga class
Exercise can help relieve the stress of a migraine

“Movement and regular exercise can offer you many benefits, both mentally and physically.

“Slow and low-intensity workouts can help improve flexibility, range of motion and posture by focusing on movement through the jaw, back, neck and shoulders,” says Christina.

Boost your gut health

“Migraines often have symptoms in the digestive system, and there is a clear link between their prevalence and gastrointestinal disorders,” says nutritional therapist Hannah Bray.

Newly emerging research indicates that supplementation of live bacteria may be beneficial.

A recent clinical trial found that 14 strains of live bacteria in Bio-Kult Migré (£ 16; shoes), significantly reduced the frequency and severity of episodic and chronic migraine, and drug dependence in as little as eight weeks.

A woman's hand puts a heart on her thin belly, around her navel
Consider an anti-inflammatory diet

Inflammation could be the root of the problem.

“While there is evidence of a genetic predisposition to migraine in some cases, it is also linked to low-grade inflammation of poor gut health, which is thought to contribute to inflammation of major pain pathways in the brain, leading to migraine attacks.”

“Consider an anti-inflammatory diet, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish, and antioxidants from colorful fruits and vegetables and spices like turmeric and ginger,” says Hannah.

Maintain blood sugar balance

“Sweet foods cause highs and lows in energy that seem to trigger migraines in some people, so maintaining a balance of blood sugars can make the difference between a migraine and a pain-free day,” advises Jane.

Close-up of a cake in a plate on a blue background
The sugar in sweet foods can be a trigger

Skip the biscuits, cookies, chocolate, and soft drinks, and if you’re craving something sweet, try pears, dried apricots, peaches, grapes, dates, and kiwifruit, which seem to be tolerable all.

“Making sure the snacks come with a large amount of protein – a sticky medjool dates with walnuts, or some cheese with fresh apple slices – will help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which means it is less likely to trigger an attack.”

Metal Marvel

“Magnesium deficiency may contribute to attacks, especially migraines during menstruation,” says Hannah. “To increase your magnesium levels, eat more green leafy vegetables (at least two servings per day), avocados, nuts, seeds, and legumes.”