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Foods That Can Trigger Migraines

Foods, drink and eating habits have long been blamed for triggering migraines in sufferers. Some studies show that about 20 percent of migraine sufferers count certain foods as triggers. Other studies report that anywhere from 7 percent to 44 percent of migraine sufferers point to certain foods as triggers.

Sometimes it’s not necessarily the food itself that triggers the attack, it may be an additive in the food such as food coloring that launches the migraine attack.

Specific foods may serve as triggers in some individuals, while others might suffer a migraine attack if they miss a meal. Studies show that almost half of people with migraines have attacks if they fast. The migraine typically occurs after roughly 16 hours of fasting. The reason behind this isn’t certain, but some researchers believe that without food the body produces stress hormones, which activate chemicals in the brain responsible for migraines.

Another belief is that the food cravings are actually part of the disease which leads to eating non-typical foods, such as chocolate. In this scenario, the food itself may not be the trigger.

Most common foods that trigger migraines

  • Chocolate, 75 percent
  • Cheese, particularly aged cheese, 48 percent
  • Citrus fruits , 30 percent
  • Alcohol, particularly red wine and beer, 25 percent

According to a 1979 study of 500 migraine sufferers

An additional list of foods that trigger migraines

  • Ham, hot dogs, other cured meats
  • Monosodium glutamate, MSG, commonly found in Chinese foods, soy sauce and packaged foods
  • Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners
  • Asian foods
  • Snack foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Ice cream and other frozen foods
  • Food dyes
  • Coffee, tea, cola (other items containing caffeine and caffeine withdrawal)
  • Dairy products, yogurt

 

About specific migraine food triggers

Chocolate

Chocolate contains several ingredients that may play a role in triggering migraines. One substance, phenylethylamine may alter blood flow in the brain or cause the release of other chemicals in the brain leading to migraine. Chocolate also contains caffeine.

Caffeine

Caffeine has well-known effects on the central nervous system and the blood vessels of the brain. Marketed as a stimulant that increases alertness and energy, caffeine may also induce insomnia. Withdrawal from caffeine is also known to cause head pain which can last for days.

MSG

MSG, monosodium glutamate, a food additive used to enhance flavor of foods. It is commonly found in foods from Chinese restaurants, frozen foods, canned or dried soups, processed meats, salad dressings, snacks as well as tomato or barbecue sauce. MSG, has been found to cause animal blood vessels to narrow and contract, may trigger migraines by this action in the blood vessels of the brain. It could stimulate certain receptors in the central nervous system or lead to the release of nitric oxide, which may lead to the head pain.

Cured meats

Cured meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and ham contain nitrites to preserve color and flavor, while preventing growth of botulism. Nitrites may cause the release of nitric oxide and widening of blood vessels.

Managing migraine food triggers

The best way to manage your food or any other migraine trigger is to take notes in your migraine journal. This journal should contain:

  • A detailed description of every migraine attack
  • What you were doing before you experienced the migraine
  • How long the migraine lasted
  • A list of all symptoms you experienced
  • A description of how severe your migraine symptoms were

Your migraine journal will help you make your own migraine trigger list. You can probably reduce the number of migraine attacks by avoiding items on your list.

source: migraine.com
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Migraines linked to bacteria in mouth

People who suffer from migraines have more of certain bacteria in their mouths

People who suffer from migraines have long complained that certain foods trigger the severe headaches. New research suggests the culprit might be the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers found that the mouths of people who suffer from migraines harboured significantly more of the microbes that break down nitrates found in certain foods.

These bacteria play an important role in processing nitrates so they can then be converted into nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which widens blood vessels and improves circulation.

While this process is helpful for cardiovascular health, the findings suggest an abundance of these bacteria may break down nitrates more quickly, causing blood vessels in the brain and scalp to dilate, triggering migraines.

Nitrates are naturally found in a variety of leafy green vegetables, and they are added to processed meat as a preservative and to improve flavour and colour.

Doctors have been telling people who suffer from migraines to avoid processed foods for years. Dr. Michael Zitney, who leads the Headache & Pain Relief Centre in Toronto, says this research strengthens their case.

“We have long since known that these kinds of foods can trigger migraines, but we haven’t really known how,” he says.

Link to cardiovascular research

The process of how nitrates break down into nitric oxide is well-studied in cardiovascular health.

Nitrate-containing drugs are prescribed to treat chest pain or congestive heart failure. But roughly four out of five cardiac patients who take the drugs report severe headaches as a side-effect.

The study’s authors hope these findings will help link existing cardiovascular research with migraines.

migraine

 

“It opens a full area of research and connects two areas of research that have not been connected before,” says the study’s lead author, Antonio Gonzalez, from the University of California San Diego.

Data collected from ‘citizen scientists’

This study was based on data from the American Gut Project, which crowd sources oral and fecal samples from so-called “citizen scientists.”

Researchers sequenced bacteria found in 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples. They found that the nitrate-reducing microbes were slightly more abundant in the fecal samples of people who suffer from migraines, but significantly more abundant in their oral samples.

Chronic migraines are frequent, severe, pulsating headaches accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. They last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

It’s estimated that eight per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with migraines, although this likely underestimates their prevalence, as some people who suffer from migraines don’t seek professional help.

The study’s authors say they still need to determine whether the bacteria are a cause or a result of migraines, or are indirectly linked in some other way.

For now, Zitney says, the research suggests that some migraines could one day be treated by controlling the bacteria in our mouths.

“This may be just a glimmer of hope in terms of pursuing possible treatments,” he says.

The study was published earlier this week in mSystems, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

By Darryl Hol, CBC News     Oct 19, 2016
With files from Christine Birak and Melanie Glanz
 
source: www.cbc.ca


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Migraines Linked To Lack Of Specific Vitamins

Many young adults, teens and children with migraines are deficient in these three nutrients, study finds.

Mild deficiency of coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and vitamin D has been found in a high percentage of patients with migraines.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that supplementation of coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and vitamin D may benefit migraine patients.

The patients’ blood levels of vitamin D, coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin were checked.

Deficient patients were given vitamin supplementation.

Young women and girls were more likely to be deficient  in coenzyme Q10 compared to young men and boys.

However, young men and boys were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.

migraine

Patients who suffered from chronic migraines compared to episodic migraines had higher coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiency.

Coenzyme Q10 — a vitamin-like substance — is a key to energy production in the human body.

Organ meats such as liver, heart and kidney naturally contain high levels of coenzyme Q10.

It has also been found in beef, mackerel, sardines, nuts, shellfish, broccoli, dark leafy greens, pork and chicken.

Riboflavin is known as vitamin B2 and, like the other B vitamins, plays a role in energy production and is involved in many other functions such as eye, skin and digestive health.

Foods rich in riboflavin include organ meats, lean meats, eggs, milk, cheese, leafy vegetables, almonds, mushrooms, legumes and fortified grains and cereals.

Vitamin D can be obtained from sun exposure, oily fish such as salmon, and supplements.

In addition to being essential for bone and mental health, vitamin D is involved in the reduction of inflammation, neuromuscular and immune function and modulation of cell growth.

Dr Suzanne Hagler, the lead author of this study, said:

“Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation.”

The study was presented on June 10, 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.

23RD JUNE 2016     MINA DEAN


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Health Benefits of Magnesium

Top 6 Health Benefits of Magnesium

By April Klazema     March 20, 2014

You probably already know a lot about the other vitamins and minerals that are crucial to your overall optimal health, such as iron, calcium, and vitamin C, but other minerals – such as magnesium – are often neglected when it comes to choosing the foods and supplements that you put into your diet in order to stay healthy.

However, magnesium has a number of incredible health benefits that can make you stronger, that can ease your fatigue, and that can even improve your mood.

Here are six incredible health benefits of magnesium that you can gain by eating the right kind of foods.

1. High Blood Pressure Regulation

Whether you have a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure, or you simply want to ensure that you maintain a healthy blood pressure, adding magnesium into your diet is a simple but effective way to ensure you don’t suffer the ill effects of hypertension.[1]

2. Migraine Headaches

Do you suffer from chronic migraine headaches? Many individuals will try every treatment under the sun, without realizing that one of the most effective treatments for migraines may actually be something as simple as magnesium. In fact, some researchers have suggested that every sufferer of migraines should attempt to use magnesium as a cure.[2]

3. Depression and Other Mood Problems

While deficient levels of magnesium have not been shown to be a cause of depression, many individuals have reported that using magnesium has been able to better help them transition out of depression and to elevate their mood[3]. Other issues such as anxiety have also been shown to be effectively treated by magnesium.

While your best option when feeling depression is to seek help form someone specialized in dealing with these issues, you may consider boosting your magnesium levels if you are feeling overly anxious or down in the dumps.

4. Cancer Reduction

Studies have shown a 13 percent reduction in colorectal cancer among those individuals who have increased amounts of magnesium in their body[4].

Whether an individual has an increased risk of cancer due to family history or not, it can be a good idea to increase one’s magnesium intake to help prevent cancer.

5. Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

A deficiency in magnesium levels can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to numerous problems, including an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease[5]. Ensuring that you are getting enough magnesium can help prevent these issues and keep your blood sugar at the appropriate levels.

6. Bone Health

Bone health is incredibly important for every individual, but especially for women as they grow older. Magnesium, over half of which is stored in the bones within the body, works with both Vitamin D and calcium to promote healthy, stronger bones.

Having enough magnesium in your body can help prevent major issues such as osteoporosis, so be sure to keep this in mind – especially if you are at particular risk for these conditions[6].

As if these six factors weren’t enough, magnesium may be associated with a number of other health benefits as well. In other words, you might want to look at ways you can incorporate magnesium rich foods in your diet, and to use an appropriate supplement if necessary.

references:



[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313230354.htm
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22426836
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950577
[4] http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=200073
[5] http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=412391
[6] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286304001573

Top 9 Veggies Highest in Magnesium

By Daily Health Post      March 11, 2014

While vitamins and minerals can be ingested via supplements, the best and most natural way to ensure that you have enough of them in your diet is to choose healthy foods – especially vegetables – that include these vitamins and minerals.

Many people do not realize how important magnesium is to their overall health, despite the fact that magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in the body.

Magnesium deficiency can lead to numerous issues, such as fatigue and mood disorders.

Having the optimal amount of magnesium can help to prevent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even issues such as migraine headaches, anxiety, and depression.

There are many things that can cause magnesium deficiency. The most obvious reason a persons magnesium levels might be low is simply because they are not eating enough of these magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis. However, issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and excessive alcohol consumption can also be a factor in magnesium deficiency.

Regardless of why your magnesium levels might be low, there are a number of great, delicious vegetables that you can begin incorporating into your diet to ensure that you are maintaining your optimal health and preventing many of the issues associated with low magnesium levels.

1. Spinach

This dark, leafy green can be consumed in many different ways. While raw is always best – in salads and on sandwiches, for example – spinach can also be steamed or cooked into pasta for a quick, magnesium rich dietary addition. There are over 150 mg of magnesium per cup of this leafy green, making it one of the best sources of this mineral available.

2. Broccoli

With 33 mg per cup, broccoli isn’t as rich in magnesium as spinach, but is still a great source of magnesium that can be utilized in many different ways. Whether served raw or cooked, it’s a delicious and nutritious magnesium source.

3. Squash

It’s not just the leafy greens that can provide plenty of healthy magnesium to your body. A little over 40 mg can be found in every cup of squash, so when you’re tired of all the green veggies choose squash as a side.

4. Okra

At a smidge over 70 mg per cup, okra is a great source of magnesium. While it’s probably best to stay away from fried okra, delicious as it may be, it can be served in many different ways.

5. Beet Greens

Though they aren’t the most common type of green, beet greens deserve a second look, as they contain a whopping 100 mg per cup of magnesium. Think of serving them as you would any other types of leafy greens, whether raw or cooked.

6. Pumpkin

The biggest benefit of pumpkin? It can be served as a savory option or a delicious dessert. At almost 60 mg per cup, there is plenty of magnesium to be had in pumpkin, no matter how you have it.

7. Peas

With a little over 70 mg of magnesium, peas are a great source of this mineral. Whether you have them as a side, choose split pea soup, or have peas mixed in with pasta or a salad, there are tons of ways to enjoy these veggies.

8. Cucumbers

Another versatile favorite, cucumbers contain a decent 40 mg per cup of magnesium. Eat them raw, mix them into a salad, or choose any other delicious recipe containing cucumbers. There are plenty of options available.

9. Collard Greens

A soul food favorite, collard greens are delicious and flavorful, and at a little over 50 mg of magnesium per cup offer plenty of magnesium.