MIGRAINES aren’t just bad headaches, they can cause people to feel sick, experience sensitivity to light and some even have tingling in the arms.
It is thought people are genetically predisposed to migraines and, unfortunately, there is no cure.
However, common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, alcohol and diet and dehydration.
Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition has looked at how diet can help or hinder a migraine.
Rob said: “Eating regularly is very important as one of the most common dietary factors is not eating regularly.
“If blood sugar levels drop, then the brain is not able to function properly due to the lack of glucose.
The result of this is that blood flow to the brain is increased and nerve tissues become more sensitive to dilated blood vessels, which trigger a migraine.”
The nutritionist advised people to eat three meals daily and include foods such as wholegrain, pulses, proteins and healthy fats which will help to stabilise blood sugar levels.
However, Rob said people should avoid the following six foods if they are at risk of migraines.
1. Coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks – these all contain high levels if caffeine that can trigger migraines in some people.
2. Chocolate and red wine – these are rich in the amino acid, tyramine and are the most common food triggers
3. Take-away food – these foods are often high in the flavour enhancer, MSG, which has been shown to trigger migraines in people
4. Low calorie food and drinks – these are often sweetened with aspartame, which can trigger migraines.
5. Some people with migraines have experienced sensitivity to citric acid, found in some fruits and also used as a natural preservative.
6. Bacon – this and other processed meats are rich in nitrates, which have been shown to be increase the intensity of headaches for migraine sufferers.
Rob said people at risk of the condition should eat dark green leafy vegetable as food high in B2 have been shown to help people with migraines.
“Research conducted has found that taking 400mg of vitamin B2 per day showed very few side effects in a 1998 study of 80 parents. For 59 per cent of parents their migraines improved by more than 50 per cent. You could even explore the use of a vitamin B complex supplement such as Healthspan.”
Pumpkin seeds, white fish and brown rice are also recommended.
However, Rob added: “There are no hard and fast rules.
“Everyone is individual and you may need to experiment with your personal tolerance limits.
“Keep a diary to help you to identify triggers and symptoms then start to remove these to see if there is any improvement in the intensity and frequency of your migraine attacks.”