It is known that there are more than 300 types of headaches and that they can be divided into two large groups:
Primary headaches: among which are migraine, tension headache, cluster headache, chronic daily headache and trigeminal neuralgia. They represent 95% of headaches.
Secondary headaches: they are about 5% of headaches. After a medical study, the cause that produces them can be identified. Generally, they are of sudden onset, due to some cranial or cerebral disorder (hemorrhages, heart attacks, tumors), although they can also be caused by infections or excessive use of analgesic medication.
In the case of migraine, the pain is one-sided (for example, half of the head hurts or a cluster), throbbing in nature and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and intolerance to light and noise.
The worldwide prevalence of headache in adults is 50% and 12% or more suffer from migraine, which impairs activities of daily living and impairs quality of life.
Migraine usually it starts in the formto unexpected, although there are a number of triggers that can cause it. These factors vary for each person, so each patient must identify their own and try to avoid them. Some of these triggers include alcohol (particularly red wine and vodka), strong odors, bright lights, weather changes, sleep rhythm disturbances, hormonal variations (menstruation, ovulation) and stress.
Its relationship with food lies in the fact that Numerous studies show that alcohol and some foods are linked to migrainesalthough not all individuals react with the same or with the same quantities.
At a nutritional level, it is known that among the most cited foods are cured cheeses, sausages, chocolates, fruit juices, alcohol and ice cream. They also seem to be related, due to their content of nitrites/nitrates and monosodium glutamate as some condiments and dressings have, especially Chinese sauce.
An easier way to look for trigger foods is to keep a detailed record of everything you eat and notice when a bout of dizziness associated with migraine appears. Carefully watch the foods you eat within 24 hours before the attack. Some trigger foods cause symptoms immediately or within 6 hours; others delay symptoms until the next day.
Among the key anti-migraine micronutrients are vitamin B2, omega 3, coenzyme Q10, tryptophan, magnesium and vitamin D.
In addition to having to cover with the ideal foods to avoid certain deficiencies, it is important to organize the meal times and complement a healthy lifestyle with the practice of exercise; as well as to regulate the hours of sleep.
Let us remember that non-pharmacological measures, which involve nutrition, are an option for the prevention and reduction of migraine attacks combined with pharmacological treatment, contributing to the decrease in the frequency, intensity and duration of the attacks. Likewise, this reduction contributes to improving the quality of life of patients.
People with the following digestive diseases are more prone to migraine attacks: intolerance to gluten (celiac disease), stomach infection by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. In all of them, the common denominator is the chronic inflammatory process at the level of the internal walls of the digestive tract, which causes certain inflammatory toxic substances to reach the central nervous system through the bloodstream, activating the trigeminal-vascular system.
90% of migraines are also related to an enzyme deficiency, We are talking about the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO), an enzyme located in the small intestine responsible for digesting histamine.
Histamine is present in most foodsTherefore, it is not possible to completely eliminate it from the diet, but we can reduce its consumption. The deficiency of this enzyme may be due to genetic causes, consumption of medications such as analgesics, antihistamines, tranquilizers, expectorants, diuretics.
Consider visiting a nutrition professional if you require further nutritional advice.
Nutritional guidelines to consider:
· Consume deep-sea fish: salmon, tuna, cod, trout and natural sardines at least 3 times a week due to their high content of omega 3.
· Eat fruits and vegetables daily, varying them every week, that are characterized by their content in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
· Prefer natural whole grains without processing such as brown rice or quinoa, for their contribution in terms of fiber.
If you tolerate dairy, choose them free of sugar like natural yogurt or kefir.
Eat healthy fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil or dried fruit.
· Avoid consuming refined sugars (packaged beverages/soft drinks, pastries) and foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol (fried foods, margarines, butter, snacks).
· Avoid tobacco and alcohol in all its formslimit the consumption of wine occasionally.
Avocado and sesame dip recipe
The components of this recipe, among which avocado and sesame stand out, are considered essential foods that provide the body with anti-migraine nutrients.
1 ripe avocado
· 1/2 cup. of kefir or natural yogurt
2 garlic cloves
· 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
· 2 tbsp. sesame
· 1 tsp. of salt
1. Blend the kefir with the avocado and the rest of the ingredients, adding the lemon juice.
2. Add the salt and decorate with sesame seeds.
3. It can be served at social gatherings, be part of a snack mid-afternoon or as a dressing in salads and for use in school lunch preparations, accompanied by roasted greens or cooked sweet potatoes.
M. Sc. Martha Belén Ortiz Celi
Clinical nutritionist / chef in Nutritional Gastronomy
Member of the Association of Nutritionists of Guayas