Migraines are a common issue that many people face in our world today. In fact, 18% females and 6% males report experiencing migraines. A migraine, however, is not just like a normal headache. A migraine is a recurrent intense throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and can often impair vision & balance. These can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours.
The brain is an extremely complex and powerful source to our body, and when heads begin to throb, our daily routines can be put on hold. Migraines are associated with visual disturbances, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light, sound, touch or smell, and tingling in the extremities or even face. With these disabling symptoms, we must begin to understand migraine triggers and how to deal with them so we can continue to go about our busy schedules.
It is common for migraines to run in the family, yet, the overall cause of migraines is still relatively unknown. However, there are certain factors that have been associated with migraine attacks. “Migraine triggers,” are anything that brings on a migraine episode. Some common triggers include:
- High stress
- Food choices
- Emotional & hormonal fluctuations
- Low physical activity levels
- Lack of sleep
- High altitudes
- Bright flashing lights
Although some of these we may not have control over, it is important to understand why some of these trigger migraines, and what we could possibly do to help.
BE PROACTIVE IN YOUR DIET
Nutrition plays a part in migraine occurrence, too! As you now know, food choices can be a “migraine trigger.” Foods, specifically those containing the amino acid, tyramine, have been known to increase the incidence of migraines. This includes food favorites, such as chocolate and wine. On the other hand, however, B Vitamins and magnesium have been shown to aid in the prevention of migraines.
- B Vitamins- vitamins involved in cell metabolism to help your body run and give us energy throughout the day.
- Magnesium- a mineral that assists in muscle contraction, nerve function, maintaining bone density, and many more!
If you tend to have frequent migraines, consider your diet! Dining places on campus have a wide variety of nutritious options to help you make better choices when fighting against vicious migraines! Try to avoid salty, acidic, fried, fatty or greasy foods and look at incorporating more green leafy vegetables, whole grains, or nuts. Adding an appropriate amount of B vitamins or magnesium rich foods, such a lean proteins, could be the key!
MANAGING MIGRAINES- WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
- Be mindful of caffeine intake. Caffeine can sometimes help during the onset of a new headache, but too much or caffeine withdrawals can cause migraines.
- Fuel your brain and your body. During finals week, remember to make healthy choices and get adequate sleep. Our bodies function best when it is fueled and rested properly.
- Identify when migraines occur. Ladies, hormone levels fluctuate around menstrual cycles. If you typically get migraines around this time, it could be hormonal.
- Get active! When you participate in moderate exercise, the body releases endorphins, which act as the body’s natural painkillers. If migraines are in your future, exercise could help!
Try incorporating these helpful tips into your life here on campus to tackle the fight against migraines.
Websites to Check Out:
Created by Courtney Smyth, TTU Graduate & Dietetic Intern
Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD firstname.lastname@example.org