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Category Archive Migraines

Magnesium – The Key Nutrient for Fatigue

Magnesium is one of those nutrients we don’t hear about too much, despite the fact that it’s one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies. Moreover, it’s the fourth most abundant mineral that we have! Magnesium – the key nutrient for fatigue helps you to have more energy, better sleep and less muscle cramps amongst many other health functions!

So what role does magnesium – the key nutrient for fatigue play?

Do we really need to be consuming magnesium or taking supplements?

Magnesium has many positive health effects including:

  • Supporting the adrenal glands in producing energy hormones.
  • Relaxing the bowel muscles and helps to ease constipation.
  • Helping to stop chocolate cravings.
  • Lowering our stress levels. In fact, magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral.” Serotonin, which is a natural mood stabiliser found mostly in our digestive system, requires magnesium for its production. Therefore, it is recommended that we take magnesium to help manage our stress, anxiety, and mood disorders. In turn, a magnesium deficiency can affect our stress level and emotional state.
  • Also magnesium helps you to sleep by relaxing your muscles and helping to produce melatonin.
  • Magnesium is used in hospitals and given to patients intravenously who are having heart palpitations – the magnesium helps slow down their heart rate.
  • Numerous chemical reactions in our body, including making DNA.
  • Helps maintain our brain function by relaying signals between our body and our brain. It prevents overstimulation of nerve cells, which could result in brain damage.
  • Regulate muscle contractions – it works opposite to calcium to help our muscles relax. Magnesium is commonly recommended for treating muscle cramps and also PMS.
  • Magnesium has also been linked to helping reduce the risk of many diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Several studies have shown that migraine headaches are associated with low levels of magnesium.

Despite magnesium being so abundant in our body, many people don’t get enough of it.

Some studies say that up to 68% of adults don’t get enough magnesium in accordance with the recommended daily intake (RDI).

So how much magnesium should we be consuming on a daily basis to keep our body functioning as it should?

Adult men should consume 420 mg/day, while adult women should consume 320 mg/day.

There could be consequences from consuming too much magnesium or not enough magnesium:

  • Too much magnesium can cause various symptoms, including diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and irregular heartbeat. Therefore, you might not want to take a supplement that contains magnesium if you are already getting enough magnesium through your food and other sources.
  • A magnesium deficiency (called hypomagnesemia) could lead to various health conditions, including muscle twitches and cramps, osteoporosis, fatigue, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.

Now that we know the importance of magnesium, where do we find magnesium?

Good news! There are plenty of magnesium-rich natural food sources.

  • Pumpkin seeds (check out the recipe below for making Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter)
  • Raw almonds and cashews (raw nuts are better than roasted nuts – roasted nuts lose magnesium during the roasting process)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Black beans, peas, and soybeans
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Whole grains (oat bran)
  • Herbs (coriander, chives, dill, sage)

Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin, so consider using a magnesium oil or lotion that contains magnesium.

But, clearly the easiest (and yummiest) way of getting in your daily magnesium – the key nutrient for fatigue, is to include plenty of food sources high in this multi-tasking mineral, such as creamy pumpkin seed butters!

RECIPE:

Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter

Ingredients:

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

1-2 tsp olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
  4. Cool for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Put the pumpkin seeds in a food processor.
  6. Run the food processor for approximately 4-5 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds begin to have the texture of butter. If necessary, stop the food processor and scrape the sides.
  7. Continue running the food processor for another 2-5 minutes until the pumpkin seeds have the texture of butter. Next add some of the oil, as needed, until the desired consistency is obtained.
  8. Finally pour spoon the pumpkin seed butter into a glass jar and store in a cool, dry place.

REFERENCES:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do

http://www.magnesium.ca/

Foods to Avoid if you Get Migraines

Migraine headaches can be terrible. The pain, vision problems (including aura), nausea, etc. can be debilitating; especially if they stick around for hours or even days.

Migraines affect about 15% of adults, so they’re fairly common. Many people with CFS/ME get regular migraine headaches. And, while the exact cause is not known, there are lots of known triggers. Many foods and drinks are common triggers of migraines. You may have noticed certain foods, and drinks trigger your migraines. Sometimes the migraine comes on within an hour of the food/drink. Other times it may happen several hours, or up to a day later. Avoiding these triggers can help.

One of the main ways these foods and drinks trigger migraines is by their action on the blood vessels in the brain. When the brain’s blood vessels constrict and then dilate (widen), this seems to cause migraines. Many of the foods I’m listing below affect the constriction and dilation of blood vessels during a migraine

If you or someone you care about suffers from migraines, this post lists common triggers. Avoiding these can be a great tool to reduce these uber-painful headaches. You may be sensitive to one, or many of these foods and drinks. They act as migraine triggers in some people, but not all. You can find out by eliminating them and seeing if avoidance helps you.

Foods to avoid if you get migraines

The first food that commonly triggers migraines is hard cheese like cheddar and Swiss cheese; this is because they contain “tyramine” which is from an amino acid in the protein found in cheese. Other foods high in tyramine include those that are aged, cured, dried, smoked or pickled. These include sauerkraut and tofu.

The second most common migraine-triggering foods are cured or processed meats. Things like hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon are in this category; this is because of their nitrates and nitrites that can dilate those blood vessels in the brain. Even if these are not a trigger for you, it’s best to eliminate them from your diet because of the other health issues they’re associated with like colon cancer.

I wish I had better news, but the third common migraine triggering food is chocolate. The evidence is conflicting, as some studies show a link and others don’t. You may or may not be sensitive to chocolate’s effects on the brain; you have to eliminate it to find out.

Artificial flavours like monosodium glutamate (MSG) can also trigger migraines. MSG is often found in Chinese food and is a common migraine trigger. There is not a lot of research on this, but it’s something to consider eliminating from your diet to see if it makes a difference.

If you would like more information of foods to avoid if you get migraines, contact Kate for a free 15 minute call to see if we’re a good fit to work together.

Drinks to avoid if you get migraines

Alcohol is a common trigger for headaches and migraines. Red wine and beer seem to be the most common culprits. We’re not sure why, but it may be red wine’s compounds such as histamine, sulfites, or flavonoids. Also alcohol is dehydrating which could contribute to headaches.

Ice and ice-cold water have also been shown to trigger headaches and migraines. So try not to eat or drink things that are too cold.

Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame are another common trigger. Aspartame is in diet coke and other processed foods to make them taste sweet without adding sugar. As with MSG, there is not a lot of research on its effects with migraines. But again, it is something to consider eliminating from your diet and see if that makes a difference.

Conclusion

There are many common food and drink triggers for migraines. Maybe one, or more of these trigger migraines for you. The best way to know is by eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks and see how that works.

The list includes hard cheeses, processed meats, chocolate, alcohol, ice water, and artificial flavours and sweeteners.

Do any of these trigger migraines for you (or someone you care about)? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe (migraine-calming tea): Migraine-Calming Fresh Herbal Tea

Serves 1

Ingredients

5 washed mint leaves (or a tea bag)

2 cups of boiled water

Instructions

Steep mint leaves (or tea bag) for 5-10 minutes.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Let the tea cool down a bit before drinking it.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/9-common-migraine-triggers/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27714637
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet-infographic
https://examine.com/nutrition/scientists-just-found-that-red-meat-causes-cancer–or-did-they/
https://examine.com/nutrition/does-aspartame-cause-headaches/