When migraines begin to strike, taking over-the-counter medicine seems like the only solution to nix discomfort. But, eating the right foods can provide a more natural fix for long-term relief. In fact, new research suggests that eating a plant-based diet that includes five ounces of dark leafy greens each day can help eliminate migraine pain over time.
A recent case study published BMJ Case Reports was centered around a 60-year-old man who suffered from frequent migraines for 12 1/2 years. The patient’s migraines were resistant to various treatments and eventually became chronic. Symptoms of chronic migraines include constipation, changes in mood, and neck stiffness. Researchers advised the patient to follow the Low Inflammatory Foods Everyday (LIFE) diet.
This diet heavily emphasizes eating dark leafy green veggies including spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. The man was asked to drink a 32 ounce LIFE smoothie and eat five ounces of leafy greens through a salad or cooking them each day. Dairy, red meat, whole grains, starchy veggies, and oils were among the foods he had to limit. The frequency of the patient’s migraines were measured and tracked throughout the study.
After two months, the study authors found that the patient’s headaches were lowered from 18 to 24 migraine days per month to one. At the three month follow-up period, the patient reported no longer having any headaches, which allowed him to discontinue his migraine medication. Researchers credited these results to the LIFE diet tripling the patient’s beta-carotene levels by the end of the study. This organic compound naturally found in dark leafy greens helps reduce inflammation in the body, which is a trigger for migraines.
Principal study investigator David Dunaief, MD, shares more insight about the study findings with Woman’s World. “This patient was incapacitated by migraines on almost a daily basis prior to starting the LIFE diet,” he says. “What is also impressive and important is the duration. The patient has been migraine free for over seven years.”
Dr. Dunaief adds that focusing on one patient for this case study rather than several allows for everyone to see how powerful the LIFE diet can be for migraine relief. He mentions that the patient achieved these results with frequent physician follow-up and guidance so that medications and diet can be adjusted thoughtfully. This methos is key for measuring objective outcomes that boost the patient’s motivation to continue the diet.
Luckily, adding more leafy greens into your daily diet is as simple as blending spinach into a smoothie or steaming Swiss chard as a side dish. This way you can be on the path to being migraine-free for good!