If I stick to this Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle, I don’t get migraine headaches any more. I can still get a migraine, if I let myself get very dehydrated or drift into carbohydrate excess, but I am shocked when it happens. I can still enjoy chocolate and coffee. Avoiding the headaches is under my control and the diet is healthy and easy to follow.
Chronic Inflammation Is the Foundation for Migraine Headaches
The details and rationale for the Basic Anti-inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle are discussed in many articles on this blog. The guiding logic is that migraine headaches are based on chronic inflammation, although in each individual case there may be specific health problems that contribute and trigger migraines. If the chronic inflammation is removed, then migraines can’t happen or are reduced in frequency and/or severity.
Common Migraine Guidelines Point to Inflammation as the Problem
Feverfew is present on all of the lists of traditional treatments to avoid migraines. Extracts of feverfew contain parthenolide, a sesquiterpene lactone, that has been shown in mouse studies to inhibit activation of NFkB, the inflammation transcription factor. Stress reduction, acupuncture, etc. all point to vagal stimulation to reduce chronic inflammation. I would also recommend that migraine sufferers investigate vagal stimulation exercises to augment the basic diet and exercise to eliminate chronic inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory Diet in a Nutshell
- Vitamin D -- deficiency is common... even with adequate sun exposure
- Low carbs -- starch is hyperglycemic, grain gluten intolerance is very common
- Vegetable oils -- only olive oil is safe (trans fats are dangerous), butter is better
- Fish oil -- omega-3 oils can reduce chronic inflammation
- High fructose corn syrup -- eliminate all sources
- Saturated Fats -- safer than polyunsaturated fats, major source of calories
Typical Meals for a Healthy Head
- Breakfast -- eggs, bacon, sausage, stewed tomatoes, cottage cheese, coffee, yogurt (low sugar, no HFCS) (avoid cereal, pancakes, waffles, toast, etc.)
- Lunch -- soup, salad, chicken, ham, tuna, vegetables, modest amounts of fruit, etc. (avoid bread, buns, potatoes, pasta, rice), keep the carbs to less than 50 grams
- Dinner -- fish, meat, vegetables, 50 grams of carbs (avoid grains)
Why Conventional Diet Wisdom Gives You a Headache
The government food pyramid was designed by the food industry and was never supported by evidence from the biomedical literature. Research shows that saturated fats actually lower heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats in common vegetable oils are a major source of chronic diet-based inflammation. Starch/sugar raises triglycerides, not dietary fats. Grains are a major source of inflammation, because of the high incidence of gluten intolerance, the high content of hyperglycemic starch (even in whole grain breads, etc.) and in the support of gut biofilms based on Klebsiella, a contributor to Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases. Blood lipid levels were not associated with heart disease and lowering these levels with statins does not improve health. Lowering inflammation uniformly improves health, as well as eliminating migraines.