Green leafy vegetables relieve migraine symptoms

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The LIFE diet includes eating at least five ounces by weight of raw or cooked dark green leafy vegetables every day, drinking one 32-ounce daily green LIFE smoothie, and limiting the intake of whole grains, starchy vegetables, oils, and animal protein, particularly dairy and red meat…reports Asian Lite News

It may be worth adopting a plant-based diet, rich in dark green leafy vegetables, to ease the symptoms of chronic migraine, suggest a report published in the online journal ‘BMJ Case Reports’.

Drugs can help prevent and treat the condition, but a growing body of evidence suggests that your diet may also offer an effective alternative without any of the side effects associated with some medicines, say the report’s authors.

The recommendation came after the doctors who wrote the report treated a man who had endured severe migraine headaches without aura for more than 12 years.

He had tried many means to blunt the severity and frequency of his headaches and control his migraine, including prescribed medicines, cutting out potential ‘trigger’ foods, including chocolate, cheese, nuts, caffeine, and dried fruit and yoga and meditation. Nothing worked.

Six months before his clinic referral, the man’s migraines had become chronic, occurring on 18–24 days of every month. He described the pain as starting suddenly and intensely in the forehead and temple on the left side of his head. The pain was throbbing in nature, and usually lasted 72 hours, the report said.

His headaches were accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea and vomiting. On a scale of 0–10, he scored the pain severity as 10–12 out of 10.

Blood tests revealed that he didn’t have high levels of systemic inflammation and that he had a normal level of beta-carotene.

This was likely derived from his daily consumption of sweet potatoes, which, although high in beta-carotene, were relatively low in the nutrients responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of carotenoids, point out the report authors.

He was advised by the doctors to adopt Low Inflammatory Foods Everyday (LIFE) diet, a nutrient-dense, whole-food, plant-based diet.

The LIFE diet includes eating at least five ounces by weight of raw or cooked dark green leafy vegetables every day, drinking one 32-ounce daily green LIFE smoothie, and limiting the intake of whole grains, starchy vegetables, oils, and animal protein, particularly dairy and red meat.

After two months on the LIFE diet, the man said that the frequency of his migraine attacks had fallen to just 1 day a month; the length and severity of the attacks had also lessened. Blood tests showed a substantial rise in beta-carotene levels.

He stopped taking all his migraine meds. Even when he tried certain ‘challenge’ foods, such as egg whites, salmon, or iced tea, which triggered headache attacks, these were much less painful and much shorter in duration than before.

After three months his migraines stopped completely, and they haven’t returned in 7.5 years.

The man was allergic, and previously published research suggests that better control of allergies may lead to fewer migraine headaches. In this case, the man’s allergy symptoms improved to the point that he no longer needed to use seasonal medication.

The authors concluded by saying “This report suggests that a whole food plant-based diet may offer a safe, effective and permanent treatment for reversing chronic migraine. While this report describes one very adherent patient who had a remarkable response, the LIFE diet has reduced migraine frequency within 3 months in several additional patients.”

Over 1 billion people worldwide have migraines, characterised as one-sided, pulsating headaches lasting 4–72 hours, and often accompanied by sensitivity to noise and light and sometimes with warning auras.

Migraines are either episodic (fewer than 15 days a month) or chronic (15 or more migraine days a month plus migraine features on at least 8 days of the month).

Successful migraine treatment is defined as a halving in the frequency and length of attacks, or as an improvement in symptoms.

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