A migraine is a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head.
Some people also have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.
So, how to prevent migraines starting? Here are three things that may that reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and possibly prevent them altogether:
- Omega 3 fish oils can reduce both severity and frequency of your headaches. I would recommend including at least three portions of oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel and sardines) and taking a good quality omega-3 supplement.
- A low-fat diet with just under 30g of fat per day could also be useful.
- Low blood sugar levels or hypoglycaemia can be another factor that could cause migraine headaches. If you know that your blood sugar is erratic it may be worth supplementing with chromium — chromium picolinate is the best form to take.
If you suspect a specific trigger is causing your migraines, such as stress or a certain type of food, avoiding this trigger may help reduce your risk of experiencing migraines.
It may also help to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, sleep and meals, as well as ensuring you stay well hydrated and limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
Here is a list of five common triggers:
- Tyramine and phenylalaline – these amino acids can cause problems for most migraine sufferers. Found in chocolate, aged cheeses (blue, cheddar brie etc.), soy foods, nuts, citrus fruits, vinegar and alcohol.
- Nitrites – preservatives found in processed meats, such as sausages, bacon and ham.
- Sulphites – another preservative often used in dried fruits and processed foods and can be found in wine.
- Caffeine – found in black tea, coffee, green tea, colas and energy drinks. If you’re sensitive to caffeine it can be a problem but it’s worth noting that some people find that coffee may stop a migraine if it’s drunk as the headache is developing. I am in no way advocating that you drink lots of coffee, besides, too much caffeine will trigger migraines as well.
- Food additives such as MSG found in processed and fast foods.
As well as trying to avoid the foods in this list it would be worth keeping a food diary to see if you can identify any other foods that could trigger migraine attacks. Keep a note of symptoms alongside the food you eat.