Migraine headaches can be extremely debilitating for sufferers. However, there are various diet and lifestyle interventions that can limit or prevent attacks.
Magnesium – Many migraine sufferers are magnesium deficient and 600mg/day of magnesium supplementation (magnesium glycinate is the best source), can act as a prophylactic for attacks when taken over a period of 3-4 months.
Nuts, grains and seeds, as well as green leafy vegetables such as kale are particularly high in magnesium also.
Epsom Baths – Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin. We recommend taking Epsom salt baths or magnesium skin sprays may also be effective.
Treatment – Treatment for an acute migraine headache may be as simple as smelling the scent of lavender. The inhalation of lavender essential oil has been found to alleviate the symptoms in 75% of migraine attacks. This is significantly more effective than the majority of drugs available on the market today.
Muscle is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In general, the more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (i.e. how much energy your body burns each day when you are at rest).
Lifting weights or resistance exercise at the gym is one the most effective ways to boost metabolism as your muscle mass increases.
Brown Fat – Another highly metabolically active tissue in the body is brown fat. Brown fat increases your metabolism by causing thermogenesis (heat production) in response to cold or various foods. The more brown fat you have, the more of your daily energy is used for heat production.
Certain foods can stimulate the body to accumulate brown fat, these include spicy foods such as capsaicin or chilli, and arginine rich foods including; Soy (such as edamame), nuts, seeds and beans.
Exposure to cold can also increase brown fat production, so taking a cold shower, or going from a sauna into a cold swimming pool or the sea can also increase metabolism.
Raising your metabolism means a greater daily intake of calories is needed to support your body’s energetic needs. Any daily calorie deficit will be made up by the body through the utilisation of fat and glucose stores.
Sufferers of acid reflux often experience heartburn after eating. This may be due to a weakness in the ring of sphincter muscle that separates the oesophagus from the stomach. This sphincter muscle should relax to let food through but contract again to keep food in the stomach. It can also be due to a hiatal hernia between the stomach and oesophagus.
Cholecystokinin – Excessive consumption of egg yolks, alcohol and coffee, all increase production of the hormone cholecystokinin. This hormone over relaxes the sphincter muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach, allowing gastric juices to enter the oesophagus where they can cause irritation and damage.
Plant-based diets – Cholecystokinin is also increased by meat consumption. This explains why plant-based diets are good for preventing reflux, and those eating meat have been found to have twice as much reflux. Persistent reflux can increase the risk for cancer of the oesophagus.
Foods such as eggs, meat, spicy foods, tomatoes, vinegar, citrus, saturated fats, mint and bananas can increase the chance of reflux in some people.
Antioxidant-rich foods – People eating the most antioxidant-rich foods have half the odds of oesophageal cancer. Interestingly there is practically no reduction in risk among those people who used antioxidant vitamin supplements, such as vitamin C or E pills.
Protect the Oesophagus – The most protective foods for the oesophagus are red-orange vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, berries, and apples.
As we get older it gets harder to remember things. Even the sharpest of minds can start to experience cognitive decline. However, there are many dietary modifications that you can adopt that have been shown to improve the brain function.
- Consumption of blueberries and strawberries has been shown to reduce brain ageing by up to 2.5 years.
- The herb rosemary, when used in cooking, has been shown to improve memory and enhance the processing speed of the brain.
- Just one week on a plant-based diet can significantly drop blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a toxin associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dehydration causes brain shrinkage and may not only play a role in cognitive impairment, but also in levels of energy, alertness, and happiness. So try and drink up to 2.5 litres of water per day!
- Nitrate rich vegetables such as rocket, beetroot and rhubarb increase blood flow to the brain and can increase cognitive function by optimising oxygen delivery.
- Reducing glycotoxin intake can prevent brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Glycotixins are present in foods such as chicken, pork, beef and fish, but can also accumulate if you are a smoker. They act on the brain to suppress an enzyme involved with the removal of plaques and tangles in your DNA. Over time these can accumulate in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.