What we eat is the fuel our body uses to continue doing what it does, sustaining us. While the past few medical eras have been devoted to finding the perfect cure in the form of a pill, that perspective seems to be shifting to something a little more everyday — the food we put in our mouths. From diets that may help you lower the risk of cancer to diets that can mitigate autoimmune disease symptoms and dementia, maybe the panacea of health is closer than we first thought.
Amidst all these diet related trends, migraine sufferers are wondering something similar. Can eating the right foods and avoiding others help to curve migraine frequency or stop them altogether? Recent studies reported on Migraine.com estimate that nearly 38 million Americans suffer from migraines, and 5 million have at least one attack per month. Considering that symptoms can be debilitating, in some cases lasting more than 24 hours, any new strategy for dealing with migraines would be welcomed by many.
Can Food Prevent Migraines?
Though there is not yet concrete evidence that one diet is more effective than others at helping to control migraines, many experts suggest diets that consist of dark leafy greens and plenty of vegetable fiber. While it may not be specifically geared toward preventing migraines, the DASH diet was ranked the best overall diet for the eighth year in a row, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. One way a the DASH diet may be helpful is it’s focus on magnesium containing foods like avocado, bananas, black beans, lentils, and fish.
As it turns out, nearly 75 percent of Americans don’t get enough magnesium, especially those who suffer from migraines. Though the link between magnesium and migraines hasn’t been clearly shown, one study actually found that a regular intake of magnesium reduced the frequency of migraines by nearly 41.6 percent. For women especially, magnesium supplements have been shown to effectively prevent menstrual-related migraines.
If you’re hoping to skip the supplements, magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and tuna. If you’re hoping to start supplements, magnesium can produce side-effects in some, so it’s always good to speak with a doctor before regularly taking any supplement.
TMJ Could Be the Cause
If you’ve been suffering from frequent headaches for some time, it’s possible that temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ could be the cause. The temporomandibular joint acts as a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. When you eat, speak, or do just about anything with your mouth, this joint is involved. If this joint ceases to function properly, due to trauma such as a car accident, arthritis, or even genetics, the ramifications of this can be felt throughout the whole skull.
While typical symptoms can include, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and popping noises, TMJ could also be the cause of frequent headaches. Although a connection between TMJ and migraines has yet to be proven, a possible connection lies in the trigeminal nerve, which can become easily overstimulated by TMJ.