What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Holistic Approach to Migraine Relief

Understanding Food Triggers

Understanding that certain foods trigger migraines is a big step in creating healing and controlling migraine headaches. Knowing which foods are harmful to you means you can adjust your diet to eliminate them and find foods that heal rather than harm. Of course, there are various means of dealing with migraine headaches and your doctor will work with you to ensure your diet is sufficient and compatible with your medications.

The real trick to changing your diet is to do it slowly. Most people live busy lives and often don't take the time to cook for themselves. But, like all change, if you start slowly, over time you will have made the changes and you'll be more pain free than before.

Making Changes to Your Diet

When you consider making changes to your diet in order to optimize meals for healing, then there are a few things you will want to be sure you are doing. The obvious is to avoid triggers the majority of the time. Integrate headache fighting foods and in general, be healthy, balanced and regular in your lifestyle. A healthy diet means avoiding refined foods (white flour and sugar) and including more whole grains, vegetables, fruits and seeds. That doesn't necessarily mean a vegetarian diet, but definitely swinging to more fresh foods is important.

Foods that are Good for You

There are some foods that have been specifically connected to positively affecting migraineurs and they may even cut down pain. Some of them are herbs and spices and others are foods rich in magnesium and serotonin. Peppermint, cayenne pepper, and ginger fit into the spice category and are helpful in relieving the symptoms of migraine. Fish and fish oil, foods rich in calcium (spinach, broccoli and kale) and foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, oatmeal, wheat, and garlic are all excellent choices for your new diet.

The Serotonin Connection

Dropping serotonin levels may be a big part of the migraine process. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and low levels of serotonin have been linked to a variety of maladies, including depression, lack of concentration, obesity, and migraine. Serotonin is not available in food. The body makes it from an amino acid called tryptophan, a precursor to neurotransmitters. The best sources of tryptophan are turkey, black eyed-peas, black and English walnuts, almonds, sesame or pumpkin seeds, and cheddar, gruyere or Swiss cheese. It is also available in lesser amounts in whole grains, rice and other dairy products.

For women who suffer with migraines, it is important to note that often the drop in estrogen levels at the time of menstruation triggers a migraine. Serotonin levels tend to drop at the same time - so maintaining a diet that supplies high levels of serotonin, especially during that week of menses, can help steer you away from a migraine.