Yesterday’s blog post focused on the importance of eating plant-based to reduce migraines. Today’s post continues examining the diet/migraine connection.
I’ll begin with ginger and lavender, two plant-based ingredients scientifically shown to alleviate migraine pain:
NutritionFacts.org reviews at least eight randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials testing powdered ginger’s pain-relieving properties.
In this video, Dr. Michael Greger looks at one such trial involving 100 migraine sufferers and pitting ginger against the widely prescribed migraine drug Imitrex (Sumatriptan):
“They tried using just one-eighth of a teaspoon [250mg] of powdered ginger, versus a good dose [50mg} of the drug. And, they both worked just as well, just as fast. Most started out in moderate or severe pain before. But, after the drug or ginger, ended up in mild pain or pain-free.”
Inhaling sweet-selling lavender oil, it turns out, has more than just a calming effect. According to this clinical study, it was also over 50 percent more effective at lessening or eliminated migraine pain than inhaling an unscented liquid paraffin placebo.
In Dr. Greger’s words,
“In the lavender group, 74% of patients had an improvement in their symptoms — significantly better than a placebo… Conclusion: The present study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.”
Now for a few migraine-triggering foods. If you’re susceptible, it’s best to avoid them:
Splenda® (aka sucralose):
Before the FDA approved the artificial sweetener Splenda® (scientific name one-six-dichloro-one-six-di-deoxy-beta-D-fructo-furanosyl-four-chloro-four-deoxy-alpha-D-galacto-pyranoside) for human consumption in 1976, research had already identified it as “a rare migraine trigger in susceptible individuals.”
Yet 44 years later, Splenda®-laced products still fill our grocery shelves and freezers. The most popular by far? Diet sodas.
A few years after I was married, an old college friend staying with us overnight showed up at the breakfast table with a 2-liter bottle of cola. By the end of breakfast, it was empty — and he said he started each day the same way!
Perhaps he’s just lucky and drinking that much cola doesn’t give him migraines.
The 36 kids aged 6 to 18 who participated in this study, drank at least 1.5 liters of cola every day. They, however, paid for it with “daily or near-daily headaches.”
“Patients were encouraged to achieve gradual withdrawal from cola drinks, which led to complete cessation of all headaches in 33 subjects…”
And in the three participants who continued experiencing migraines, the headaches weren’t frequent or severe enough to require medication!
The study results were remarkable,
Carolina Reaper Chili Peppers:
Take your average jalapeno pepper, measuring 5,000 Scoville Heat Units. If biting into one makes your eyes stream, imagine biting into a Carolina Reaper chili pepper, with a SHU range between 1,400,000 and 2,200,000 (yes, millions).
Streaming eyes wouldn’t begin to describe it. In Dr. Greger’s words, “So mind-numbingly hot it can clamp off the arteries in your brain, and you can end up with a so-called thunderclap headache.”
Eating undercooked pork (or beef) could expose you to a tapeworm infestation. As grisly as that sounds, it gets worse: tapeworm larvae migrate to the brain, where research has linked them to chronic headaches:
“We now know that they may present as chronic headaches — either migraines or so-called tension-headaches — even when the worms in your head are dead.”