The Raw Food Migraine Headache Diet
A raw food migraine headache diet can usually banish the throbbing pain in your skull for good, if you make the right choices.
Through most of my teen years I had recurring migraines that would leave me curled up in a ball in the darkest place I could find. Moving at all sent shock waves of pain through my body, and light sources seemed to dig into my eyes like daggers.
At that time I used over-the-counter medication and lots and lots of caffeine to control my headaches, but at best these only offered temporary relief. When they wore off I was often in worse pain than ever.
I've gradually improved my diet since then, though, which has showed me how critical nutrition can be when it comes to preventing headaches.
Since 2005 I've consumed a low fat raw vegan diet and haven't had a significant headache (not counting one time when I was struck in the head with a barbell, and several other food-related instances I will address in this article) since.
I've worked with over a dozen coaching clients that suffered from regular migraines, and in all but two of the cases dietary improvement alone was able get rid of their symptoms. The other two required extended water fasts.
In this article we'll talk about a different way of looking at migraines, and what you can do if you're suffering.
The Cause Of Migraine Headaches
The leading causes of migraine and tension headaches are toxins or irritants within the central nervous system. They get into us mostly through the consumption of toxic foods, beverages, and drugs, but there are other lifestyle and environmental factors that can contribute.
The body is equipped with a liver and kidneys to help detoxify itself and eliminate these substances, but when we're continuously shoveling in toxic food and drugs the situation gets messy.
Often the release of toxins from cells can be painful, but it has the long-term benefit of ridding the body of problems and ensuring you won't get more headaches down the road, provided the stay clear of those same toxins.
I've found getting coaching clients to concentrate on a nutritional rather than drug approaches to overcoming headaches usually brings huge results in less than two months.
Food And Beverage Migraine Headache Triggers
Unfortunately, many of the foods and beverages people consume on a regular basis trigger headaches when the body has to detox them.
Many foods act in a drug-like manner on the body, and cause cravings, headaches, and unnatural hunger pains among other withdrawal issues.
The following foods are considered migraine headache triggers for some people by specialists (1, 2):
Common Migraine Triggers
Processed Foods Of Many Kinds, Including:
Chocolate , Vinegar, Pizza, Salted Or Pickled Fermented Foods, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Nuts, A Huge Range Of Food Additives, Yeast, Hydrolyzed Protein, Baked Goods, Smoked Meats, Dairy, Nuts, Salt
Coffee, Tea, Soda, Hot Chocolate, Energy Drinks, And Other caffinated Beverages. Alcohol.
In short, you can't really eat anything that comes in a package or box and expect good results.
The easiest way to stay clear of these issues is to eat a raw diet of fruits and vegetables and avoid harmful foods. The only beverages we should be consuming are pure water and perhaps the occasional bit of juice.
The Migraine Headache Diet And Drug Rebounds
When you're suffering from a migraine, it's incredibly tempting to pop a few pills and drown the pain in drug-like foods and beverages, like coffee and soda.
These often offer temporary relief, but they bite you back later on when the body has to clear out the toxins they introduce.
Research is clear that there is a rebound headache effect when you take drugs.
Drugs that are commonly used for headaches, such as codeine, "innocent" over-the-counter ones like acetaminophen (Tylenol), barbiturates, and ergotamines all cause "rebound" headaches when the body starts to wash them out of your system. Even aspirin can cause a daily headache (4).
Grin And Bear It
While the detox headache is raging, I suggest my coaching clients avoid all drug and food-related methods of control and instead rely on ice, hot showers, and pressure bands, even though these methods are not extremely effective.
Headache sufferers WILL NEVER PERMENANTLY RECOVER if they don't first detoxify themselves of their drug addictions, which means abstaining from drug use.
This is uncomfortable but necessary.
How To Get Rid Of Your Headaches
Hands down, the quickest and most surefire way to get rid of your headaches for good is to do an extended water fast (Note: fasting should be done with medical supervision).
Chronic headaches are usually gone in under a week when all toxic inputs cease and people get as much sleep and emotional, mental, and physical rest that they can.
Fasting speeds up the detox process because the body is able to bring more energy to bear on housecleaning when the digestive system goes into stasis and the rest of the body is at rest.
Of course, as soon as you reintroduce the food triggers and drugs mentioned above, you're likely to see your headaches return. That's why it's best to start eating a raw food diet after you break your fast.
Most people will not want to spend the time to fast and may lack the discipline, and so a raw food migraine headache diet fix is their best choice.
The Raw Food Diet
Your next best option is to just eat a simple raw food diet that does not include the above food triggers nor the spices, salt, drugs, and toxins that otherwise can lead to headaches.
My coaching clients have reported that their headaches take anywhere from a few days to two months to relent on a raw diet.
It all depends on your level of vitality and your body's toxic load.
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What If Your Headaches Come Back?
It's not unusual for coaching clients to tell me that a fast or simple raw food diet got rid of their headaches, but that their migraines returned when they reintroduced a broader range of food to their diet.
Whether you're looking for food triggers, allergies, or other reactions, it's always best to do a raw food elimination diet. Wait for your headaches go away, and then carefully and methodically reintroduce one food at a time in large enough quantities to ensure that you'll get a reaction from it if it's problematic.
Can A Raw Migraine Headache Diet Cause More Headaches?
I'm frequently asked if bananas (a common staple food of those on low fat raw diets) and tomatoes cause headaches.
Aren't these healthy foods? Why would they be problematic?
I've addressed tomatoes and other nightshades here.
People often wonder if bananas trigger headaches. They're usually considered suspect because of their content of tyramine, a naturally-occurring amino acid that is also found in a huge variety of other foods.
Some suspect the natural breakdown of tyramine causes blood vessels to expand. They suggest this leads to an increase in blood pressure which can trigger migraines in some people.
First off, it's a bit strange to target bananas specifically. Many types of citrus fruits, apples, avocados, nuts, spinach, and other foods you'll eat on a healthy raw diet also contain it in similar amounts.
I should note that when I was overcoming my colitis I just ate very ripe bananas for the first 60 days without any headache problems.
During my early years eating raw I ate bananas as a significant portion of my calories. When I started training for my first marathon I was racking up so many miles that needed lots of fuel, and bananas were a major staple.
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I recall about a half dozen instances when I came in from a 15+ mile run, ate tons of bananas to compensate for the calories I'd burned off, and found that a minor headache developed.
However, I never noticed this effect when I was eating smaller quantities of bananas.
If you suspect that small amounts of bananas may be a migraine trigger, use an elimination diet to find out for sure.
The Raw Food Migraine Headache Diet: Following Up
Get on a raw diet that will leave you feeling better than ever.
Find out which raw food you should be eating and what ones to avoid.
See how this migraine headache diet will help you with other medical problems.
Migraine Headache Diet Article Sources
1) Fukui, Pt. Et al. Trigger factors in migraine patients. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2008 Sep;66(3A):494–99;
2) Millichap JG, et al. The diet factor in pediatric and adolescent migraine. Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Jan;28(1):9–15;
3) Diamond S. Migraine headache: recognizing its peculiarities, precipitants, and prodromes. Consultant. 1995 Aug; 1190–95.
4) Katsarava Z, Holle D, Diener HC. Medication overuse headache. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2009 Mar;9(2):115–19; Stephenson, J. Detox is crucial in chronic daily headache. Family Practice News. 1993 Jul:1, 2.
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