In the U.S., more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine suffers are chronic. Women report longer and chronic pain more frequently than men and account for 75% of the 37 million migraine sufferers.
They can start as a child, teenager, or adult and tend to disappear once we go through menopause. This is because one of the triggers for migraines is changes in estrogen, which explains the large number of women who experience migraines around their period. While hormones do play a role, I will talk about preventative measures you can take whether or not your migraines are hormone related.
If you suffer from migraines, you know the debilitating feeling and effects it has on your work, life, and mood. You don’t have to deal with them for the rest of your life. Here are 5 steps you can start implementing one by one to lower the frequency and severity of your migraines, and hopefully get rid of them for good.

1. Identify your triggers.

You can do this by starting a migraine diary to pay attention to what you ate and drank in the past hours and what you were doing, including travel, exercises, exposure to scents or different environments, and sleep. Pay attention to what you’ve done 12 hours prior to the onset of the migraine. These are some of the underlying triggers you want to pay attention to for migraine prevention.

  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Red Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Soy
  • Food additives (MSG, dextrose)
  • Stress
  • Neck and shoulder tension
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medications
  • Perfumes and odors

When it comes to what you eat and what you drink, pay attention to ingredient lists and note if they contain any of these triggers to make sense of a “healthy” food that could be causing a reaction. The label might not necessary say “sugar” or “additives” but you can look for words like sucralose, maltodextrin, dextrose, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or “contains: soy, wheat, dairy” at the very bottom. For perfumes and odors, pay attention to when you go certain places like the mall, a hardware store, or a party where someone might be wearing perfume. This tracking will help you to put the pieces together and pay attention to patterns. You can do this along with the next recommendation, so you’re doing both at the same time.

2. Do an elimination diet.

Remove common triggers for 2-3 weeks, which at a baseline include sugar gluten, dairy. If you really plan, prep, and commit, you’ll benefit the most from following a full elimination diet. This includes also removing grains, legumes, unhealthy fats, dairy, eggs, sugar/artificial sugar, soy, corn, caffeine, nightshades, alcohol, processed meats,  When you’re gluten sensitive, it can cause a wide range of symptoms that have nothing to do with your digestive system, so before thinking you don’t have an issue with it, eliminate it and see if you feel any differently overall. There are also components in dairy that can also be a migraine trigger and you don’t have to be lactose intolerant. You might be thinking “that’s basically everything I eat” so I recommend focusing on all of the things you can eat and putting together meals based on that list. You also have to keep your blood sugar steady, so if your headaches don’t go away you know that just simply removing foods won’t make a huge difference. You need to have plenty of healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar in addition to eliminating the common triggers. There are many different versions of an elimination diet, so if you are confused or curious to learn more you can contact me for a guided elimination diet plan.

I’m interested in following an elimination diet

4. Get things moving.

If you’re struggling with constipation, you want to address this right away. Having regular bowel movements (1-3 a day) is essential for a healthy digestive system and gut. Take magnesium citrate before bed to have a healthy bowel movement in the morning. It’s also important to sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet, managing your stress, and consuming probiotic rich foods for healthy gut bacteria balance. Inflammation in the gut can cause inflammation in the brain, so ensuring regular bowel movements and a healthy gut is essential.

4. Take a combination of these 4 migraine prevention supplements: B2, magnesium glycinate, fish oil, and ginger.

  • Riboflavin (B2) has been shown to safely prevent reoccurring migraines by 50%, com. Benefits are due to increased efficiency of your mitochondria, which are the powerhouse of the cells that help to produce energy.
  • Magnesium glycinate has been shown to be effective for people low in magnesium. According to WHO, about 70% of people in the U.S. have been found to be magnesium deficient, so sing this supplement can have benefits beyond just relieving migraines. Migraines with your period it can be especially beneficial. If you’re struggling with constipation and supplementing already with magnesium citrate, work up to an appropriate dosage with that then add in the magnesium glycinate.
  • Ginger is useful for treating pain and inflammation. Because nausea and vomiting are common migraine symptoms, it is also helpful in offering some migraine sufferers relief of their stomach upset. You can add it to food (seasoning on vegetables, smoothies) or take as a powdered or capsule supplement.
  • Fish oil has been shown to reduce the frequency, length, and severity of headaches. It’s an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA of which many of us are deficient.

You need to use these for a few months to see results, so stick with them and be patient. Don’t expect to see relief overnight, but know that these supplements can benefit you more in the long run than migraine medications.

5. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet and keep blood sugar regulated.

Reducing pro Artificial sweeteners, processed foods, white flour products, processed meat. Then, add in a wide array of dark leafy vegetables, berries, fats like coconut and avocado, and high quality animal proteins. This plan can be followed in my 10 Day Real Food Cleanse or 21 Day Body Refresh Group Program.

Now you can create your migraine prevention plan.

Start by identifying triggers, following an elimination diet, and ensuring regular daily bowel movements. Next, transition from medications to the natural supplements mentioned above. Begin transitioning to an anti-inflammatory diet that you can stick to long term and add in the modifications based on your discoveries from the elimintation diet to customize your own plan. If you want help putting all of this together, you can schedule a free 20 minute consultation here.

Learn more about the elimination diet program here.

Do you deal with headaches or migraines? What have you done to alleviate them? Let me know in the comments.