Migraine Sufferers—Eat Your Spinach!
According to research recently released by Griffith University in Australia, women who have migraine headaches had a 14 percent reduction in the severity, as well as the frequency and disability, of symptoms when they ate foods that were rich in folate content. Folate, which is folic acid in its synthetic form, is found naturally in leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, Asian greens collard greens and turnip greens, as well as legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans and black beans.
A migraine is a severe headache that typically starts on one side of the head and can then expand to the rest of the head. Migraine pain is often described as throbbing, pulsing or constrictive pressure and can be made worse by movement, reading, watching television or working in front of a computer screen. Some migraine sufferers also experience an aura—dizziness, ringing in the ears, light sensitivity and other sensory symptoms that precede the excruciating pain of a migraine headache. Migraines affect approximately 10 percent of the population and they are about two to three times more common in women than men.
Migraine Research to the Rescue
During the six-month study, researchers monitored the diets of 147 Australian women with clinically-diagnosed migraine with aura. As participants ate more foods with folate, they exhibited dramatic improvement in their migraine headaches. Diet is only one of the many suspected triggers of migraine headaches. Others include stress, genetics and hormonal fluctuations.
In addition to increasing the amount of folate-rich foods, there are other steps migraine sufferers can take to avoid the onset of a headache.
Doctors and researchers offer the following recommendations:
• Track your migraines in a diary. Record your diet, exercise, sleep and daily stress levels each day to see what might trigger headaches.
• Eat at regular intervals and don’t skip meals.
• Curb the caffeine, but don’t go cold turkey. Suddenly cutting back on caffeine may bring on a migraine. Try tapering off instead.
• Exercise is important to stay healthy, but it can also trigger a headache. Note the time of day that you exercise as well as the intensity of your workout, because they can relate to migraines.
• Establish a regular sleep schedule.
• Manage stress with relaxation, biofeedback, counseling and social interaction with friends.
Helping You Stay Headache-Free
If you have migraines, then we hope the information provided here will help you avoid the next one. Dr. DiGiallorenzo and his staff want to become your partners in your ongoing journey toward a healthier, more fulfilling life. Our Williamsport, PA, and Collegeville, PA, locations proudly serve communities in Sunbury, Pottstown, Lock Haven, Bloomberg, and beyond.