If you suffer from migraines, you aren’t alone. As the most common headache disorder globally, migraines affect around 13 percent of the US population. Debilitating at times, this serious condition can, among other things, negatively impact your sleep, productivity at work, and cause strain on personal relationships. It’s safe to say that suffering from migraines significantly lowers our general well-being and that alleviating its symptoms is primordial.
While seeing your doctor is advised if you suffer from recurrent migraines, the impact of diet on this condition shouldn’t be discounted. In fact, research indicates that food triggers are one important culprit in the etiology of the disorder. As such, keeping a daily food journal is a good way to identify potential detrimental foods if you wish to improve your condition.
On the flip side, some foods have been shown to exert a positive effect on preventing migraines due to some of the vitamins and minerals they contain. These specific nutrients such as magnesium, riboflavin, and other B-vitamins play a role in promoting optimal mitochondrial functions (cells that turn nutrients into energy) whose dysregulation is thought to be at the root of migraines.
Sounds promising? Take a look at these 8 plant-based foods that contain a load of nutrients that can help you feel better if you suffer from migraines! As a bonus, we’ve included a ton of amazing recipes from the Food Monster App featuring these healthy foods.
Green Spring Minestrone With Orzo and Asparagus/One Green Planet
We all know the importance of getting our greens in to enjoy optimal health so it should come as no surprise that Popeye’s favorite type of greens can help alleviate migraines. Packed with B-vitamins, magnesium, and other important micronutrients, spinach should be on your plate if you wish to get rid of a migraine or a serious headache. These vitamins and minerals prevent and reduce the frequency of migraines due to their positive effect on the two main causes of migraines, impaired mitochondrial functions (the breakdown of nutrients to produce energy) and a high level of homocysteine, an amino acid.
In other words, eating spinach does your brain and body good so make sure to eat it regularly. Need recipe ideas? Try out this Chickpea Spinach Stew With Lentils and Quinoa, this Super Greens Soup With Crispy Chickpea Croutons, this Spinach Salad With Barley Bacon, and these Grilled Mushrooms With Spinach Kale Pesto.
Quinoa Tabbouleh With Lemon Garlic Dressing/One Green Planet
As an alternative to refined carbs which aren’t great for health and can be a trigger for migraines, quinoa is definitely one of our favorites. This versatile healthy source of carbohydrates is rich in riboflavin, a B-vitamin that plays an important role in metabolizing fats and protein and in so doing helps prevent migraines. As a bonus, quinoa is also full of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and copper and contains a good amount of protein (8 grams per cup) which nourishes your brain cells to help you think clearly and focus.
If you’re looking for delicious recipes featuring quinoa, we suggest making this Minted Quinoa, Corn, and Mung Bean Salad, this Lentil and Quinoa Kitchari, this Healthy and Satisfying Quinoa Vegetable Soup With Microgreens, and these Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
Yogi Bowl With Ginger Miso Tahini Dressing/One Green Planet
Having a good dose of healthy starches in your daily diet such as sweet potatoes is a good idea if you are a migraine sufferer as these tubers contain a high amount of vitamin B6, a B-complex vitamin which plays an important role in various cellular processes that positively impact migraine symptoms. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin A and C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, all nutrients that are essential for optimal health and cognitive functions.
Put sweet potatoes on your plate by making dishes like this Soothing Sweet Potato and Beet Soup, this Sweet Potato and Sage Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, this High Protein Sweet Potato Chili, and these Scalloped Sweet Potatoes in Cauliflower Sauce to alleviate your migraines.
Sweet and Sour Sesame Broccoli and Tofu/One Green Planet
The base of one of the best vegan dip ever (hummus!) and a great addition sprinkled on savory Asian dishes, sesame seeds are also great when it comes to alleviating migraines. Their high content in vitamin E and magnesium is largely responsible for their beneficial effect on migraine symptoms as these vitamins and minerals have a positive impact on hormones and homocysteine levels which are at the root of most migraines, especially in women.
Looking for recipes using sesame seeds? We suggest trying out this Sushi Bowl With Sesame-Crusted Tofu, this Sesame Asparagus Stir-Fry, this Healthy Spinach Falafel, and this Paleo Sweet Potato Sesame Pasta.
Basil Cucumber Salad/One Green Planet
Made up of about 96 percent water and packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, cucumber is a great light snack if you suffer from migraines or headaches. As you know, hydration is key for optimal health and it is especially important for migraine sufferers as increasing water-intake has been shown to reduce the duration and intensity of migraines. Thus, keeping your fluids up by drinking a lot of water and snacking on water-rich foods such as cucumber is a great way to alleviate your migraine-related symptoms.
For an interesting twist, you can include cucumbers in recipes such as this Spicy Cucumber Salad With Pan-Fried Tofu, this Raw Cucumber Kimchi, these Cucumber Noodles With Spicy Tahini Sauce, and these Black Bean Hummus Stuffed Cucumber Rolls.
Mushroom Stew With Herbs/One Green Planet
Fan or not, if you’re dealing with recurrent migraines, adding mushrooms into your diet might help. These fungi contain a lot of riboflavin, a type of B-vitamin that has a mitigating effect on symptoms related to migraines through their role in regulating mitochondrial functions, which as you now know, is a factor in the trigger of migraines.
Need ideas to use up those mushrooms? Try making these Savory Spinach Crepes with Sautéed Mushrooms, this Instant Pot Spinach and Portobello Benedict, this Freekeh Risotto With Roasted Trumpet Mushrooms, or this Mushroom Bourguignon for Two.
Black Bean Hemp Burgers/One Green Planet
Rich in magnesium (3 tablespoons will give you 45 percent of your RDA!), B-vitamins, and vitamin E, all of which are nutrients that work to prevent migraines at the root, hemp seeds are a superfood you need to add to your diet if you have recurrent migraines or headaches. Coincidentally, hemp seeds also contain the perfect balance of omega-3s to omega-6s which, research indicates, is an important aspect in relation to reducing migraine frequency and severity.
Not sure to include hemp seeds into your meals? Check out these Twice-Baked Potatoes With Hemp Sour Cream and Maple Coconut Bacon, this Zucchini Pasta With Basil Hemp Pesto, this Chickpea Fusilli in Hemp Tahini Sauce, and these Zoodles With Chunky Hemp Marinara Sauce for some inspiration.
Banana Hemp Seed Sushi Slices/One Green Planet
Packed with healthy sugars that supply our brain and body with energy and nutrients such as vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C that nourish our cells, bananas are a great snack to have on the daily to prevent and alleviate migraines. Be aware, however, that consumed in high amounts, bananas may have the contrary effect as they contain a small amount of tyramine, a known trigger for headaches in some people.
We suggest reaching for a banana whenever you get the munchies or include them in your breakfast by making this Green Goddess Golden Milk Smoothie, this Black Charcoal Smoothie Bowl, or this Bananas Foster Toast.
Portobello Gyros With Hemp Tzatziki/One Green Planet
Want to find out more about foods and recipes that can improve your health? Here are some articles that might interest you:
- 5 Diet Changes That Can Help You Take Charge of Your Mental Health This Year
- Eat These Healthy Foods to Bring Balance to the Mind and Body
- 8 Inexpensive Plant-Based Foods That Pack a Surprising Amount of Health Benefits
- 7 Foods That Can Help Balance Your Hormones and Alleviate PMS
- Beyond Turmeric: 10 Orange Foods That Help Fight Inflammation and Improve Your Health
- 5 Allergen-Free Vegan Sources of Protein
- How to Create 10 Different Healthy Meals From Just 5 Ingredients or Less
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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