Approximately 24% of North Americans suffer from migraines. Different from headaches, migraines are defined as a set of symptoms that are related to the central nervous system and are often a sign of an underlying condition. They can impair your ability to see, hear, and maintain your balance. And they can even interfere with the ability of your gastrointestinal tract to function properly.
The Relationship between Migraines and Diet
If you pay attention to the factors that trigger your migraines, you may notice that they strongly correlate with your diet. In particular, if you suffer from frequent migraines, your diet may be high in a protein known as tyramine. It’s present in a variety of foods, including smoked meat, pork, cheese, chocolate, alcohol, and many fruits. Along with other chemicals in the brain, tyramine can make you more susceptible to migraines. It can also elevate your blood pressure and endanger your health more generally.
Foods That Reduce Migraines
The good news is that just as there are foods that trigger migraines, there are also foods that prevent them. Here are some foods that can reduce the likelihood of developing a migraine:
Leafy greens (e.g., spinach and Swiss chard): These vegetables are packed with magnesium, which has been found to reduce migraines.
Healthy fats (e.g., salmon, olive oil, and walnut oil): The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods decrease the frequency and severity of migraines.
Seeds, nuts, and mushrooms: Seeds and nuts often contain coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin, which can reduce migraine frequency by two to three times in many people. Mushrooms are also high in riboflavin.
A Handy Recipe
Need help incorporating these migraine-preventing foods into an easy meal? Give this recipe a try:
One-Pan Pacific Salmon
- 2 pieces of salmon, 6-7 oz each
- 5-6 large pieces of Swiss chard, washed and roughly chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp crushed chilies
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
- In a large frying pan with a tight lid, sauté the sweet potato in olive oil over medium-high heat until it is golden and starting to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the Swiss chard and reduce the heat by half, covering the pan so the potatoes can steam a little.
- Sprinkle some salt onto the salmon and let it come to room temperature while you make the sauce.
- To make the sauce, combine the lemon juice, maple syrup, and chilies
- Once the potatoes are cooked through, spread the mixture out in the pan to create an even layer. Place the salmon in the pan, and spoon the sauce over each piece.
- Cover the salmon and let it cook for 7-10 minutes
Serve by spooning the sweet potato and Swiss chard mixture onto a plate, topping it with the steamed salmon, and sprinkling it with chopped peanuts.
Nadia is the Founder of Inpression Editing. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and has expertise in research, health care, and psychology. She has been interviewed by well-known organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation and the National Post. She makes a mean gluten-free cinnamon—pecan bread and loves a good mint lemonade.
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