Get Migraines? New Study Says Your Eating Habits May Be Why

There is no doubt that headaches can be annoying, especially if they are intense, prolonged or frequent. However, migraines go beyond just a bad headache and can be incredibly painful, nauseating, and downright debilitating. While various factors may make you more susceptible to migraines, there are also things that can trigger or worsen the serious condition, including your eating habits, according to a new study.

In a study published by Nutritional NeuroscienceOf the 8,953 participants who first participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004, 1,838 were found to have migraines. Considering potential variables, the people behind the study analyzed available data to find links between diet—specifically, using the prognostic nutrition index, or PNI—and cases of both severe headaches and migraines.

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The findings showed that mild, moderate, and severe malnutrition were more frequently linked with participants who experienced more intense headaches. The people behind the study also noted that the diets of severe headache and migraine sufferers tend to be devoid of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, in addition to dietary fiber, total folate, riboflavin, selenium, potassium and magnesium. , Vitamin C and Vitamin K. On the other hand, they drank more coffee and consumed more theobromine, something found in chocolate. The team concluded that diet (especially PNI) is associated with migraine risk and severity.

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“Off the bat, the finding that moderate to severe malnutrition is associated with migraines is not surprising to me” Sydney Greene, MS, RDtells Eat This, Not That!

“Migraines can be triggered by low blood sugar levels,” explains Greene. “If someone takes long breaks between meals, skips meals, or cuts out major food groups, especially carbohydrates, this can cause blood sugar levels to drop.”

“Moreover, prolonged malnutrition often leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies,” says Greene, noting that “deficiencies in certain vitamins (mostly B vitamins) and the mineral magnesium can contribute to more severe migraines.”

“There can be many reasons why a person may not be getting enough nutrition,” explains Greene, about why the diets of migraine sufferers may be deficient. “Initially, a vicious feedback loop can kick in; you have migraines, your appetite decreases, so your food consumption decreases, and then the migraine recurs. Also, certain diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, and ketogenic diets, can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.”

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“It’s important to find a healthcare provider who has experience working with migraines. A doctor or registered dietitian can help create a diet that will reduce migraine risk,” says Greene. “Supplements may be needed to prevent migraine frequency, and a licensed professional can help establish the best protocol.”

Desire O

Desirée O is a freelance writer covering lifestyle, food and nutrition news, among other topics. Read more about Desirée

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