Luckily only some of us suffer from severe migraines, but all of us can relate to the pounding, never-ending headache. While it can be challenging to consistently exercise, get enough sleep, and stay stress-free, it’s pretty easy to add a few smart food staples to your diet. These healthy food options, abundant in nutrients that directly target severe migraine pains, may prevent the onset of migraines and help mitigate them once they hit. Next time your head is aching, skip the medicine cabinet and find your cure in the aisles of your grocery store.
1. Hearty and healthy whole grains: Whole grains are abundant in magnesium, which is essential to many bodily reactions that normally keep your head ache-free. Try adding some millet, quinoa, amaranth, kamut, or buckwheat to cereals, yogurts and salads. Replace your standard pancake, waffle or baked goods mix with millet or buckwheat based ones, and choose oatmeal with whole grains for your morning booster. To go even further, eat a serving of quinoa with dried cranberries, diced mango, raisins and apple slices instead of your usual white rice.
2. Flaxseeds, salmon and walnuts: All three of these items are entirely different, but what they all have in common is a large amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s have been shown to prevent migraines and act as an anti-inflammatory. Sprinkle some walnuts into your yogurt or trail mix, or just munch on the plain nutty seeds from the palm of your hand. For a satisfying migraine-preventing breakfast, have a few slices of smoked salmon on a morning bagel with cream cheese. And for dinner? Sauté some salmon with asparagus, zucchini, broccoli and tofu Add flax seeds into your pre- and post-workout shakes with some peanut butter, banana and almonds for an extra hit. Now, ask yourself: do you want a piece of salmon or a flavorless pill of Excedrin?
3. Eggs, milk and spinach: These foods supply copious amounts of vitamin B12. This essential nutrient can ease migraines, so be sure to eat a major source of B12 daily. Eggs are an ideal breakfast option, and you can double up their migraine-fighting power by adding some spinach, tomatoes, feta and broccoli to your omelet. For lunch, have a baby spinach salad with egg, tuna, olives and Parmesan cheese paired with a glass of milk. Dip a chocolate chip cookie in a glass of milk for your 9 p.m. sweet fix. The cookie may not be the healthiest, but who drinks milk without a cookie?
Though food can be a solution to your migraines, it may also be contributing to it. Here are some foods to avoid if you get serious migraines: MSG, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, chocolate and soy products. Though these ingredients might not definitively help your head, changing your diet to include more wholesome and healthy foods can’t be bad for the rest of your body, either. So, if you feel a migraine coming on, put down the Hershey’s and coffee. Instead, gradually incorporate these vitamin and mineral-rich foods and eat your way migraine-free.