Joy Bauer https://joybauer.com Life is hard, food should be easy Sat, 27 Feb 2016 03:25:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.3 Migraine Headaches: What Causes Them – and What Can Help https://joybauer.com/migraine-headaches/about-migraines/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=about-migraines Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:42:33 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1400 It's important to identify your specific migraine triggers, then try to avoid them.

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No one knows for sure what causes migraine headaches or precisely what happens in the body once one is triggered. What we do know is that one out of every ten Americans has had at least one migraine headache and that the physiological triggers (the most common being food, stress, and hormonal changes) and symptoms vary from person to person. If you suffer from these debilitating headaches, the most important thing is to identify your specific triggers so you can try to avoid them.
Migraines: What Exactly Are They?
One out of every ten Americans has had at least one migraine. Some experience an aura that presages the coming pain — typically some unusual visual experience, such as blind spots, distortion, jagged lines running through the visual field, sparkling or flashing lights, or enhanced color or depth perception. Before a migraine, some report a pins-and-needles sensation in their arms or legs, speech difficulties, excessive thirst, sleepiness, food cravings, or unexplained mood changes, particularly feelings of depression and irritability.

More often, however, there is no warning before the pain sets in. Migraine headaches usually start on one side but often spread and encompass the other hemisphere too. During an episode, most migraine sufferers become extremely sensitive to light and sound, and some may vomit or feel nauseated. Migraines can come just once or twice a year, several times each month or much more frequently.

Common Migraine Triggers

Migraines are triggered by certain factors, many of which have been identified and studied — but what triggers one person’s headache may not affect you in the least. The most common triggers are:

  • Specific foods. Many everyday foods — such as chocolate, cheese, and red wine — are big, big triggers. See the 9 Most Common Food Triggers.
  • Stress. When we are stressed, our bodies react physically: Muscles tense and hormones become elevated — two physiological changes that can lead to migraines. Learn to control stress — and discover other lifestyle changes you can make.
  • Hormonal changes. Because estrogen and progesterone are such potent migraine triggers, women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience migraines. In fact, there is a subset of migraine headaches known as the menstrual migraine, which can occur one or two days before the start of a woman’s period and during the first day or two of her period.Women with hormone triggers can take comfort in knowing that many cases of menstrual migraines disappear entirely after menopause.
  • Intense sensory stimuli. Bright light, loud noises, and strong smells — such as cleaning chemicals, cigarette smoke, raw onions, scented candles, and perfume — can trigger migraines.
  • Physical exertion or abrupt lifestyle changes. Jumping into an extreme exercise program can cause migraines, as can changing sleep patterns, alternating work shifts, or any other sudden deviation from your normal routine that disrupts or alters your body’s physiology.
  • Environmental factors. Some people get migraines when there are changes in the atmosphere: sudden thunderstorms, abrupt changes in altitude or barometric pressure, windstorms, seasonal changes, even increased pollen levels. Others are sensitive to the switch to daylight savings time or travel across time zones.
  • Medications. Be especially wary of antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and prescription pain medications. Interestingly, migraines can also be triggered if you stop taking prescription or over-the-counter pain medications (such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen) that your body has become accustomed to. This phenomenon is called rebound.

Some neurologists believe that people have different tolerance limits for triggers, and once that limit is exceeded, a migraine is in the near future. If you have extreme sensitivity, then a single mild trigger may be enough to cause a headache, but if you have a greater tolerance, it may take two or three triggers occurring in close succession to push you past that limit. (So you may be just fine if you have to use strong-smelling cleaning products. But if you clean and then a thunderstorm hits, that combination of triggers may be enough to send you over the top.) That’s why it is critical to try to eliminate as many potential “controllable” triggers from your life as possible. Learn the common trigger foods and be sure to include these Four Powerful Nutrients in your diet, and also talk to your doctor about supplements.

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

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Avoiding Migraine Triggers in Restaurants https://joybauer.com/migraine-headaches/dining-out/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dining-out Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:37:41 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1392 Dining at restaurants can be tricky for people who get migraine headaches.

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Restaurants are so tricky for those with migraines! Is there a basic guideline for foods to avoid?

Q: I’ve figured out how to avoid my trigger foods at home, but eating out seems like such a chore! Do you have any guidelines for foods to avoid or suggestions on which foods are safe to eat in restaurants?

A: It can be a bit trickier to avoid triggers at restaurants, but you don’t have to forsake dining out. Here are some guidelines:

Restaurants to avoid include:

  • Cheap buffets: They may leave food sitting too long or use suspect ingredients.
  • Chinese food: Possible triggers are MSG and soy sauce.
  • Japanese food: Possible triggers are soy sauce, tofu, and miso.
  • Mexican food: Possible triggers are beans (fava, navy, broad), cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and (in rare instances) tomato-based salsa.

Restaurants to enjoy include:

  • High-Quality American: Order the chicken (grilled, baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, or broiled — request no MSG, vinegar, or citrus juice); vegetables (steamed or sautéed in olive oil and garlic); rice or potatoes, plain (baked, boiled, or roasted),
  • Seafood: Have any fish (grilled, baked, roasted, steamed, poached, or broiled — request no MSG, vinegar, or citrus juice); vegetables (steamed or sautéed in olive oil and garlic); rice or potatoes, plain (baked, boiled, or roasted),
  • Italian: Order pasta with broccoli and grilled chicken or seafood tossed in an olive oil–based sauce

Just desserts:

  • Treat yourself to strawberries with whipped cream; rice pudding; or herbal tea with plain biscotti.
  • Avoid chocolate, unless you have confirmed that chocolate is not a personal migraine trigger.

Keep in mind these suggested meals are free from all of the most common migraine triggers. After keeping a migraine diary, you’ll probably find that you are sensitive to only a handful of foods. Once you’ve identified your personal triggers, it will be much easier to order a wide variety of dishes in most ethnic cuisines. While you’re still figuring out your triggers, though, keep this wallet-sized guide handy.

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

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Migraines and Botox https://joybauer.com/migraine-headaches/migraines-and-botox/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migraines-and-botox Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:34:31 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1384 Is there any truth to the stories I've heard about Botox injections being used to cure migraines?

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Is there any truth to the stories I’ve heard about Botox injections being used to relieve migraines?

Q: I’ve heard people say that they’ve gotten Botox because it helps alleviate their migraine headaches. Is that true? Do you recommend getting Botox to help with migraines?

A: Researchers have discovered that some migraine sufferers get almost total relief from their headaches after receiving injections of Botox. That’s the same substance dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons use to reduce facial wrinkles. It works by paralyzing the muscles that, when tense, create frown lines and crow’s feet.

Researchers from Harvard found that people who describe their migraines as a “crushing” pain went from an average of 16 migraine days per month to about one a month after Botox therapy. They believe that these types of migraines are caused, at least in part, by muscle spasms of the face and head. On the other hand, people who describe their pain as “exploding” didn’t experience the same benefits. If the usual treatments haven’t helped your pain, ask your doctor about whether Botox therapy might work for you.

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

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Migraines and Supplements https://joybauer.com/migraine-headaches/migraines-and-supplements/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migraines-and-supplements Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:29:58 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1372 Which of the many supplements out there can help prevent or relieve migraine headaches?

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Are supplements really effective for fighting persistent migraines?

Q: My doctor suggested I start taking supplements to help with my migraines. Do they really work, and if so, which ones should I buy?

A: If you suffer from migraine headaches and are considering supplements, you may want to look at these three, which research suggests might be helpful:

  • Feverfew. Of all the herbs and botanicals touted for migraine relief, feverfew is by far the most promising and well-studied. Feverfew is a traditional medicinal herb that shares the same family as marigolds and chrysanthemums. A few trials, but not all, have shown that feverfew reduces the frequency and severity of headaches in chronic migraine sufferers, presumably by relaxing blood vessels and decreasing inflammation to improve circulation in the brain. Although the evidence is by no means watertight, feverfew has limited side effects and may be worth trying. However, choosing a quality formulation is critical. A common dose is 100 to 125 milligrams of powdered feverfew leaves, standardized to 0.2 percent parthenolide, which is believed to be the active ingredient in feverfew. Feverfew is also found in combination with riboflavin and magnesium in supplements formulated specifically for migraine prevention. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant and individuals taking blood thinners should not take feverfew due to undetermined safety in these populations.
  • Omega-3 fish oil.Omega-3 fats are natural anti-inflammatories and may help to reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine headaches. If you can’t get enough omega-3 fats through diet alone, try fish-oil supplements. I recommend 1,000 mg coming from a combination of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the two most beneficial types of omega-3 fats. Because the amount of EPA+DHA per capsule varies widely among brands, you’ll need to read the label and add up the individual milligrams yourself to determine how many pills it will take to reach 1,000 mg total EPA+DHA. Store these supplements in the fridge to keep them from going rancid. To prevent fishy burps, take with food and choose enteric-coated varieties, which are designed to dissolve in the intestines instead of the stomach. Because fish oil acts as a blood thinner, it should not be taken by people who have hemophilia, platelet disorders, or who are already taking blood-thinning medications or aspirin.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance produced by the body that helps enzymes create energy at the cellular level. Without it, cells can’t work properly. A handful of studies have shown that CoQ10 reduces the frequency and severity of migraines. If you’re looking to try CoQ10, I recommend a daily dose of 100 to 200 milligrams. Although there are very few side effects from CoQ10, some people may experience flulike symptoms, itching, rashes, heartburn, lack of appetite, or gastrointestinal distress. If you have liver disease, diabetes, or thyroid disease, talk with your doctor before trying CoQ10.

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