If you’re one of the 40 percent of people who suffer from debilitating headaches at least once a year, the best way to prevent them is to take consistent—almost daily—action to let the proverbial sleeping giant lie. Migraines are thought to be linked to a constriction of blood vessels in the brain. The causes are wide-ranging; anything from lack of sleep, poor posture, hormonal fluctuations, or dental problems can bring them on. Here are some ways to dodge the pain.
Know Your Triggers
Taking notes in a food journal may help you connect the dots. Keep in mind that you can eat something and experience a headache from it days later. In general, you’ll want to avoid foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) and foods that contain the amino acid tyramine, such as: chocolate, cheese, coffee, red wine, oranges, aged meats, potatoes, tomatoes (especially cooked), dairy products, salt, wheat, gluten, yeast, beer, and additives.
On the flip side, you’ll want to load up on such magnesium-rich foods as: green vegetables, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, millet, brown rice, quinoa,sea veggies, nuts, seeds, and watercress. Omega-3 fats can help diminish inflammation and magnesium relaxes the muscles and nerves. If you are in the midst of a migraine, rye broth may help provide relief.
Hydrate for a Happy Head
Simple dehydration can be the most sneaky culprit! Make sure you are drinking clean, filtered water throughout the day to help prevent migraines. In addition, drink a glass of warm water when you feel one coming on to find some quick relief.
A magnesium and Vitamin B6 deficiency may contribute to migraines, so consider supplementing if you aren’t already getting sufficient amounts in your diet (note that a B-complex vitamin may suffice).
When it comes to meds found in nature, Feverfew is the shining star for headache prevention and relief. Dating back to the late 16th century, the leaves of this perennial flower have been successfully used to treat migraines, with a flurry of recent studies to confirm this. It reduces the duration of a migraine, decreasing pain, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Taken regularly, it also seems to make attacks less frequent. It’s pretty bitter, so you may want to mask the fresh leaves in a big bowl of salad greens! (NOTE: This should be avoided if you are pregnant. The alteration in prostaglandins from eating Feverfew can cause pregnant women to miscarry.)
See a Professional
If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, or tend to hold tension in your back, neck, and shoulders, you could benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments or deep tissue massages to break up areas of tightness and improve circulation. Daily exercise doesn’t hurt either!
By making some simple lifestyle tweaks paired with all-natural additions to your medicine cabinet you can make migraines a thing of the past.
Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain by David Buchholz
The University of Maryland Medical Center’s information sheet on Feverfew — http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/feverfew-000243.htm