I’m a busy mom. I have no time to waste being sick but when I get a migraine, it literally ruins the entire day. Do you ever deal with migraines? They’re the worst! What starts off as a headache just seems to escalate and get so intense that my head feels like it’s going to pop off! The pain can get so bad that I need to go lay down in a dark room to sleep it off, which usually means sleeping until the next morning. Even worse are those migraines that last more than one day.I decided to set up an appointment to meet with a Kaiser Permanente Orange County Clinical Dietician. I wanted to chat in person and talk about my own experiences with migraines, what I’m eating, and if there’s anything I can alter in my diet to help minimize my migraines? I’ve had a few friends mention certain foods being related to the cause of migraines,so that was one of the things I wanted to inquire about. I also wanted to ask for other tips to help minimize the frequency of my migraines. I was anxious for my appointment with Natalie Lloyd, R.D., who’s a Clinical Dietitian from Kaiser Nutritional Services. The first thing I learned was about 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines, which means, if your parent has migraines, you’re pretty much guaranteed to experience them also. My mom does get them, so that was discouraging news, however, there are still things I can do to combat that statistic. I’m not giving up hope.Some other factors that can be related to migraines include lack of sleep, dehydration, hormones, and stress. Well, I fall into every one of those categories, too. I decided that it was time to make some big changes and get more pro-active in my efforts to do things to counter what could be making me get migraines. During my appointment with the Clinical Dietitian, I learned that there’s no actual evidence that’s been found to link any certain food as the actual cause of a migraine. So weird because I swear there are foods that set mine off. We discussed this further though and although there isn’t actual evidence to support that, there are certain foods and ingredients used in foods (and some drinks) that can be avoided to help minimize migraines.
Here are just some of the foods to avoid:
- anything fermented
- canned foods
- processed, aged cheeses
- overripe tomatoes and avocados
- heavily processed foods
- caffeine – This is actually a tricky one. Sometimes people who drink caffeine regularly haven’t had enough caffeine which may cause a migraine, while others have had too much.
- aspartame – This chemical can be found in several diet drinks and other beverages that claim to be low-cal or sugar free. It’s just bad overall and should be avoided. *Tip: Try drinking sparkling water.
- alcohol and wine – Although many people talk about the sulfites in wine as being a problem, tannins are also something that can be a culprit of a migraine after consumption. Both sulfites and tannins should be avoided.
Some of my favorite things to snack on are actually on the list to try to avoid. The good news is that I was told that I didn’t need to completely eliminate these foods altogether, just to cut back on them significantly. Basically, just enjoy them every now and then and not on a daily basis.The Clinical Dietitian also gave me some great general nutrition tips to follow as well. I feel like her tips were great for maintaining overall wellness, which is something that Kaiser Permanente Orange County strives to teach all of its patients and staff. It’s really more of a general guide to daily living, that could easily keep you on track and I feel like it’s really helpful. She also suggested keeping a food journal or food log, especially if you’re attempting to eliminate certain foods to see how your body reacts.
Take a look at the general tips I got: I learned so much at my appointment with the nutritionist. Although there’s no cure and nothing will completely eliminate my migraines, it’s been a big help to be more educated about some of the things to avoid. Since my appointment, and after making some changes in my diet and regimen, I feel a lot better and have experienced far fewer migraines lately.
Do you have issues with migraines? If you do, I highly recommend seeking professional advice from your own doctor.
To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, visit http://www.kp.org/orangecounty. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, too.