Paleo is the new hack for migraine relief. If you’ve searched high and low, and still can’t get your migraine to go away, changing your diet might be the next best step to lasting relief.
The paleo diet is especially a good option if you’re looking for a natural solution to recurring migraine pain. Maintaining a paleo diet could be what you need to regularly prevent the splitting pain of your next migraine.
What’s the paleo diet?
Nicknamed the “caveman diet,” paleo is based on the idea that we should eat what our ancestors could “hunt and gather.” In other words: meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs nuts, seeds, and herbs. However, processed foods should be avoided at all costs, including wheat, dairy, beans, sugar, and salt. Anything that comes in a package is considered a no-go, especially:
- Soft drinks
- Vegetable oils
- Artificial sweeteners
- Diet products
- Pastries, cookies, crackers, bread, cereals
- Ice cream
What are some paleo-friendly recipes?
Everything you eat on a paleo diet should be unprocessed. So, you should load up on whole foods, focusing on fresh meats and vegetables, as well as eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds and spices. This leaves a lot of room to make delicious, healthy meals. Some popular paleo options include:
- Chicken salad
- Salmon with asparagus
- Vegetable stir-fry
- Steak and potatoes
- BBQ chicken wings
If you’re struggling to come up with meals, try to substitute wheat-based foods like pasta and rice with a side of vegetables. When you’re first starting the diet, you may also want to invest in paleo meals kits and packs to get a sense of the diet.
5 key benefits of a paleo diet for migraine relief
Starting a paleo diet isn’t just good for you, it could also help reduce migraine pain. Migraines are triggered by a wide range of reasons, which a paleo diet can help address. Let’s take a look at the benefits in detail.
1. Removing processed food triggers
Migraines can be triggered by certain foods and compounds. But because migraines can be caused by a myriad of factors, we often don’t think about processed food as a primary trigger.
Luckily, the paleo diet cuts the most common food triggers from your diet. Specifically, it reduces five of the top culprits in migraines:
- Aspartame: found in low-cal sweetener, including diet soda.
- MSG: a flavor enhancer found in canned veggies, canned soup and processed meats
- Nitrites: preservatives found in sausages, hot dogs and deli meats.
- Tyramine: a substance found in cheese and chocolate.
- Gluten: a substance found in grains.
A paleo diet also recommends cutting alcohol and caffeine, which can contribute to migraines. By sticking to whole foods, the paleo diet can help your next migraine by automatically taking out potential triggers.
2. Boosting magnesium in the brain
Migraines can also be caused by magnesium deficiency in the brain. Studies show magnesium is important for neuro-communication and anti-inflammatory response. Some sufferers of migraines have lower magnesium levels than they should.
The paleo diets recommend foods with high magnesium levels, including nuts, leafy vegetables, and fish. If you really want a boost, add plenty of avocados and bananas to your diet.
3. Maximizing your health with omega-3
Omega-3 has a huge role in keeping your body healthy and functional. There are infinite benefits of omega-3 on the body’s brain health. It’s considered helpful for reducing depression and anxiety, psychiatric disorders, mental decline, and autoimmune diseases. In addition, high omega-3 intake is excellent for migraine reduction, especially when coupled with low omega-6 intake.
The paleo diet also helps you get that key omega-3 by focusing on fish and nuts. You can also consider an omega-3 supplement if you don’t like the taste of fish.
4. Upping your energy
The paleo diet has also been shown to boost energy in followers, which is great for getting rid of your next migraine. These changes in energy level can help with a main concern for migraines: sleep patterns. Getting too little sleep or poor-quality sleep can be a trigger for a migraine.
On the paleo diet, this boost in energy can help balance your wake-sleep cycle and make you feel less tired.
5. Reducing stress
Finally, the paleo diet is good for stress-reduction, a major factor in migraine onset.
The paleo diet has comprehensive benefits – including weight loss and appetite management – which can help reduce stress. Putting whole foods into your body can make you feel better, calmer and more energized. In turn, this can reduce stress, which is a major migraine trigger.
In addition, those who follow paleo are more likely to take less pain medication, which can be a huge plus for migraine sufferers. By going for a natural solution, you will feel less dependent on painkillers and less stressed about a potential migraine in the future.
Other ways to naturally relieve migraines
If you’re looking to take charge of your next migraine, you can consider other ways of preventive self-care. These can be coupled with a paleo diet for best results. For natural migraine relief, you can try:
- Exercise: this makes your body release endorphins, which can make you less stressed and help you get to sleep. Find a sport that makes you feel relaxed, such as water aerobics.
- Sleep: sleep is essential to keep your body from receiving extra stress. Make sure to create a sleep routine, such as doing relaxing activities before bed.
- Dietary supplements: in particular, supplements for magnesium and omega-3 are recommended for migraine prevention. If you’re already doing a paleo diet, you may not need them.
- Yoga: yoga has a mind-body approach that can give your body endorphins, while also promoting relaxation and wellness.
- Massage therapy: this can help iron out any migraine triggers, including stress and physical discomfort.
Talk with your doctor
If you’re interested in starting a paleo diet, talk with your doctor. He/she will know what might be best for your medical situation, as well as recommend a holistic plan for reducing migraine relief naturally.
A paleo diet may be the first step to lasting relief from your next migraine!