Current medications for migraine can offer partial pain relief but are not an optimal way to deal with it as they can have some negative side effects, including dependence and even addiction. Luckily, migraine sufferers have other proven methods of reducing migraine attacks and their intensity. One of them is through diet.
According to a recent small study, the foods we eat can influence the duration and our experience of pain during a migraine attack. Namely, in the study, among 3 diets, a diet higher in omega-3 fatty acids (found in f.e. fatty fish and shellfish) helped frequent migraine sufferers reduce their monthly number of headaches and intensity of pain compared to participants on a diet higher in linoleic acid, found in vegetable-based fats and oils, such as sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn, and canola oils, as well as nuts (f.e. pecans and Brazil nuts) and seeds (f.e. sunflower seeds and pine nuts).
As for details: when the study began, participants had on average more than 16 headache days per month and over 5 hours of migraine pain per headache day, which had a severe impact on quality of life despite using different headache medications. After 16 weeks, the participants on a diet lower in vegetable oils and higher in fatty fish, achieved reductions in total headache hours per day, severe headache hours per day, and overall headache days per month by 30%- 40% (!) compared to the control group. Blood tests of these participants also showed lower levels of pain-related fatty acid compounds.
However, despite the reduction in headache frequency and pain, these diet changes didn’t seem to significantly improve quality of life. But less pain is still a big gain for the migraine sufferers, isn’t it? Just try this way of managing your migraines and you might be positively surprised by the results!
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