Migraine headaches are often very difficult to treat.
A migraine will occur when the blood vessels enlarge and cause a release of chemicals to wrap around the arteries surrounding the brain. The sufferer experience not only headache but also inflammation, vomiting, nausea and/or diarrhea.
Some triggers are obvious to the seasoned headache sufferer: stress, smoking/second hand smoke, alcohol, lack of sleep, menstrual cycle and skipping meals. Some specific foods like chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, smoked meats, citrus fruits and dairy products can also be a factor.
There are foods that can help
In the book “Food: Your Miracle Medicine,” Jean Carper points out that eating foods high in magnesium, calcium and serotonin will provide some relief.
- Magnesium. About 15 to 20 percent of people who suffer migraines are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium helps stabilize blood vessel walls which prevents enlargement which can trigger a headache. It also helps a person achieve a more restful sleep state. Foods rich in magnesium include wheat germ, oatmeal, garlic, beans, whole grain, seafood and dark green leafy vegetables. While high in magnesium, milk and bananas should be avoided since they are often a trigger for headaches.
- Calcium. Calcium is also important for regulating blood vessel enlargement and contraction. Eat calcium-rich foods like spinach, kale, broccoli, turnip greens, seaweed, figs, and pink salmon. Milk and milk products like yogurt should be avoided since they are known to trigger migraine headaches.
- Serotinin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter made from the amino acid tryptophan. Low serotonin is linked to depression, obesity and migraines. Tryptophan can be found in turkey, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, eggs, wheat germ, whole grains and dairy products. Again, stay away from dairy. Some nuts are also known to trigger headaches.