Diet rules for migraines
People with migraine sometimes feel like their heads are ticking bombs. A wrong move can lead to a debilitating headache which might make all activity next to impossible. Staying up late, stress, too much coffee or even too little, can all be triggers for migraine. To be honest, I've had migraine attacks due to far less.
The problem with migraine is only those who suffer from it actually understand how crippling it can be. When I have migraine attacks, I don't just have a headache, I can't even open my eyes. Some people who have nausea, vomiting is not uncommon. Characteristic migraine headaches are pulsating, they start on one side and can gradually involve the whole head. Too much light and sound make things worse. Migraine patients are even more susceptible to depression and have much more trouble maintaining social ties and doing well at work.
While there are medications to help those with migraine, there are also lifestyle changes and food habits that can help you have fewer attacks.
Here are a few rules you have to maintain if you want to prevent headaches:
Find out what your food triggers are
Everything from chocolate to coffee has been blamed for migraines, remember different foods affect different people. What might be a trigger for you may not affect someone else. Keep a food diary for a few weeks and mark the days you have a migraine. If you analyse what you ate the day before or on the day you had migraine you'll be able to figure out what caused it. This might be a slightly tedious process but this has helped many people. Avoiding triggers, sleeping on time and maintaining a balanced lifestyle can potentially eliminate migraine attacks.
Green vegetables and nuts everyday
Magnesium and Riboflavin (vitamin B2) are two substances that reduce headaches. They are present in green vegetables and nuts so make sure there's shaak (spinach) for lunch or dinner everyday. Have 4-6 almonds daily as well. Other valuable sources of magnesium are potatoes and whole-grains (lal atta). Riboflavin is also abundant in eggs and low fat milk.
Load up on Vitamin D
Vitamin D which is mostly required for bone and teeth health has also been linked to headaches. The daily requirement of Vitamin D is 1000 IU and this goes up to 1200 IU after menopause for women. Most of this comes from exposure of the skin to sunlight but a fair amount needs to come from food. Foods with Vitamin D are mushrooms, egg yolks, cheese (even deshi paneer is good), yoghurt, milk, cod liver oil and beef liver. You can try having Calcium- Vitamin D supplements. This is especially important after menopause and for all individuals past 60.
Eat regularly. Eat sensibly
Instead of having 3 large meals daily, have smaller and more frequent meals to make sure your blood sugar never drops.
Reduce your fat intake and eat complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates refer to foods that slowly release sugar into your system, like brown bread, rotis made with lal atta, oatmeal, red rice or lal chaal, low GI rice, vegetables. Simpler carbohydrates refer to sugars, things that are unprocessed like white bread, maida, cakes etc. These foods are the ones you should avoid.
While you may not be able to ever be “cured” of migraines, a few sensible choices can make a huge difference in your life.
Naomi Ferdous Mirza