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As headaches go, migraines are in a league all their own. Affecting three times as many women as men, they’re a lot more painful than the common tension headaches. To make matters worse, research indicates that for some victims, serious health consequences might be part of their migraine bundle. Fortunately, help may be as simple as a visit to your neighborhood health food store. The ideal diet or supplement may make a massive difference when handling your migraine and its effects.

Migraines Explained

A migraine creates excruciating, throbbing pain on one side of the head which lasts from several hours to a couple days. It may also cause nausea, vomiting and a sensitivity to light and noise. About 20 percent of the estimated 25 to 30 million migraine sufferers in the U.S. also experience an aura. No, it is not some “new era” invention. A migraine aura is a disturbance in vision that precedes an attack.

While all migraines cause distress, migraines having an aura seem to undermine health the most. Several studies suggest a link between migraines with aura and stroke. One Harvard study examined the incidence of stroke in a group of almost 40,000 middle-aged girls over the course of nine decades. The results? Women who underwent an aura were almost two times as likely to suffer ischemic strokes, the kind caused by obstructed blood vessels into the brain. But migraines with no aura posed no such danger.

During a subsequent study, the Harvard team found connections between auras and other cardiovascular ailments. As an example, migraines having an aura almost doubled the chance for heart disease, heart attack and angina in almost 28,000 people in comparison with aura-free migraines and no migraines in any respect.

What – Me Worry?

Experts aren’t certain why an air increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some suggest it is genetic. Australian and New Zealand researchers recently discovered that a genetic mutation that leads to elevated blood levels of homocysteine occurs more frequently among individuals who experience migraines with a feeling than those with no aura. And higher homocysteine levels boost the probability of stroke and heart attack.

But even aura-free migraines take some risk. In a recent study of men, those who suffered migraines with or without air – were 42 percent more likely to have a heart attack. And new research suggests that migraines interrupts brain cells of oxygen, causing brain damage.

So should you be worried?

While researchers ponder the mysteries of migraines with aura, it is important to keep the danger in perspective. After all, you can not alter how you have migraines with an air. But there are risk factors you can control to reduce your odds of developing cardiovascular disease. Eating a diet low in trans fat and saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables and fiber is a excellent first step. Keeping your weight down is also significant. Extra body fat not only raises cardiovascular risk, being overweight can make migraines worse. Over 30,000 people were asked about headache frequency and severity in a recent analysis. Researchers found that, as a individual’s body mass index increased, so did the amount of headaches and severity of pain.

Heading Off Pain

If you are a long-time migraine sufferer, dietary changes alone likely won’t do the trick. But adding one of these supplements can lower the frequency, severity and duration of you migraines. But take one at a time so that you can tell which one works for you.


Research indicates that taking 75 mg. Of butterbur extract twice per day for at least four weeks may cut migraine attacks almost in half for people who experience both to six times each month.


Studies show that taking 125 mg. of a feverfew extract daily can help prevent migraines. Just ensure you don’t try this one if you’re allergic to ragweed.


Several studies have found that insufficient magnesium intake may trigger migraines. Eat whole grains, legumes, nuts, avocado and spinach and take 300 mg. Of supplemental magnesium daily to bring up magnesium levels.

One Last Thing…

Based on anecdotal reports, certain foods may trigger migraine attacks in some people – but the scientific evidence linking food to migraines is truly quite sparse. Still, it is sensible to steer clear of foods if you have discovered they place your migraines in movement.

Here are the most common food triggers: Caffeine can spark a migraine, particularly when consumed in excess. But be careful if you cut back, because stopping caffeine often leads to rebound headaches. Foods brimming with tyramine and tannins, two natural food chemicals, may also set off a migraine. Tyramine is richest in red wine, avocados, overripe bananas, green cheese and chocolate. Tannins are most abundant in apple juice, blackberries, coffee, tea, chocolate and red wine.

But do not expect to be headache-free by simply avoiding a food or two. It’s very likely that giving up trigger foods will not be sufficient to deter migraines. That’s because migraines are generally the by-product of accumulated insults to the nervous system, including tension and fatigue. You might have to combine nutritional supplements, food avoidance, anxiety management and routine exercise to genuinely get a handle on your migraines.

This Just In …

Are you one of those men and women who think that an occasional indulgence – state, a fried chicken dinner or a buttery dessert – can not hurt? Well, think again! It turns out that eating one high-fat meal may raise blood pressure more than a low-carb meal.

That’s what U.S. and Canadian researchers discovered when they fed 30 healthy individuals one meal which was very low-fat (roughly one percent of calories) or quite high-fat (roughly 46 percent of calories) and then subjected them to stressful situations such as public speaking, performing mental math and exposure to cold temperatures. Those given the high fat meal experienced a greater increase in blood pressure and much more stress in their blood vessels, upping the threat for their cardiovascular system.

So, the next time you are tempted to go whole hog at the dinner table, have a pass. Your heart will thank you.