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Diet dos and don'ts for migraine attacks!

By Priya Khanna, Seema Tarneja
April 12, 2005 14:56 IST
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Yesterday, dieticians Priya Khanna and Seema Tarneja enlisted 10 reasons why people suffer from migraines.

Today, Get Ahead presents dietary tips for those who are prone to migraine attacks.

Avoid cheese if you are prone to migraine1. Avoid going without food for long periods of time. Also, make sure you eat something after prolonged exercise.

Else, this may cause low blood sugar, which can indirectly cause migraine.

2. Make sure you eat three well-balanced meals a day. Avoid over-indulging in carbohydrates at any single meal.

3. Never neglect your breakfast.

4. The below foods are known to cause migraine in some people. Try and avoid them:

  • Cheese
  • Vinegar
  • Nuts
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Beans
  • Bananas
  • Plums
  • Raisins
  • Avocados
  • Fresh bread
  • Processed meats like sausage, bacon and salami
  • Chocolates

5. Some drinks are known to cause migraine that you could avoid are:Bananas may cause migraine

  • Red wine
  • Champagne
  • Drinks containing caffeine, like tea, hot chocolate and cola drinks

Some people can tolerate decaffeinated drinks, but they may pose a problem for others.

6. Avoid foods that contain chemicals like:

  • Monosodium Glutamate, which is present in Chinese food as well as many processed foods.
  • Nitrates and nitrites present in many cured and processed meats.
  • Tyramine present in red wine and cheese.
  • Aspartame, tartrazine and other food additives.

7. Take magnesium and riboflavin vitamin supplements regularly.

8. An extra dosage of vitamins B5, C and E as well as evening primrose oil could prove beneficial.

9. Add fresh root ginger to your food.

10. Frequent headaches could indicate you are low in important vitamins and minerals. Low levels of niacin and vitamin B6, for instance, can cause headaches.

Therefore, take all the B vitamins to help combat stress and avoid tension headaches.

Protein rich foods, like chicken, fish beans and peas, milk, cheese, nuts and peanut butter are good dietary sources of both niacin and vitamin B6.

Nuts could cause migraine11. Minerals like calcium and magnesium work together to help prevent headaches, especially those related to the menstrual cycle.

Good sources of calcium are dairy products, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables -- like kale or broccoli -- beans and peas.

Magnesium can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, bananas, wheatgerm, seafood, beans and nuts.

12. Fresh garlic bulbs eaten in a salad helps clear headaches.

13. Parsley and peppermint, spearmint, lemon or chamomile tea help soothe headache symptoms.

Traditional home remedies

i. Heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil. Soak a handkerchief or soft cotton face towel in this oil and apply to the forehead as required.

ii. Steep a handful of coriander seeds in boiling water for several minutes. Inhale the steam under a towel to relieve sinus-related headaches.

iii. A ginger or mustard footbath may ease the pain and warm the body.

Tie a handful of mustard seeds or a ginger piece in muslin cloth. Soak this in a bucket of boiling water. Wait for the water to cool a little. Soak your feet in this water.


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Priya Khanna, Seema Tarneja