Food for Thought: Tackling migraine pain with diet change

diet, chronic pain, migraine, food trigger, seattle pain, bellevue pain, headache, food pain

Are your favorite foods to blame for migraine headaches? More than a quarter of migraine sufferers have specific triggers, including food. 

 
Triggers can include stress, weather, and a lack of sleep, but food is one trigger that can be easily controlled. Caffeine and alcohol are common triggers, but citrus, onions, and cheese can lead to headaches as well for some patients.
 
Other common food triggers include:
Chocolate
Alcoholic beverages (particularly red wine, beer, and sherry)
Aged, canned, cured, or processed meats
Dried fruits (figs, raisins, dates)
Smoked or dried fish
Canned soups 
 
While this list is daunting, controlling diet to lessen migraine triggers is an effective and cost-mindful way to take initiative in pain treatment. Although these foods do tend to cause headaches, there are some foods that contain powerful nutrients for fighting migraines.
 
Foods containing high amounts of healthy fats, riboflavin, and magnesium have been known to fight headache pain. Spinach is a magnesium-rich superfood, and a tasty way to relax nerves and muscles that transmit nerve impulses throughout the body. Magnesium helps prevent nerves from becoming over excited -- so it aids in both prevention and reduction of migraines.
 
Steamed Spinach Recipe via simplyrecipes.com
 
2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
Olive oil, extra virgin
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt to taste
 
1. Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.
2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.
3. Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.
4. After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat. Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.
 
Yield: Serves 4.
 
Before beginning any significant change to your diet or health plan, be sure to speak with a licensed physician to find a treatment plan right for you. For more information about pain treatment and pain doctors in the Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Olympia and Edmonds area, contact the Washington Center for Pain Management.