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Health : Plant based diet relieves migraine symptoms

Washington [US] : Adopting a plant-based diet that is rich in dark green leafy vegetables, could relieve symptoms of chronic migraine, according to a recent study.

This study was published online in the ‘BMJ Case Reports Journal’. The recommendation comes after they treated a man who had endured severe migraine headaches without aura for more than 12 years.

He had tried prescribed medicines (Zolmitriptan and Topiramate); cutting out potential ‘trigger’ foods, including chocolate, cheese, nuts, caffeine, and dried fruit; and yoga and meditation in a bid to blunt the severity and frequency of his headaches. Nothing had worked.

Over one billion people worldwide have migraines, characterized as one-sided, pulsating headaches lasting 4-72 hours, and often accompanied by sensitivity to noise and light and sometimes prodromal 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. While drugs can help prevent and treat the condition, a growing body of evidence suggested that diet may also offer an effective alternative without any of the side effects associated with some medicines, said the report authors.

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

These are instead found in dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and watercress. Systemic inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated in migraine.

However, “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 three months in several additional patients (personal communication).”