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Is Your Diet Causing Your Headache?

Chronic daily headache, a condition marked by recurrent migraines and severe pain, can be extremely difficult to treat with conventional prescription drugs. For those suffering with Chronic daily headache (CDH), day-to-day activities and interactions become increasingly difficult to navigate while experiencing excruciating pain. This debilitating condition markedly alters the sufferer’s ability to enjoy their life while suffering headaches 15 days or more a month.

A 2013 study, conducted by PAIN online journal, has revealed that the headache remedy you seek can be found in the aisles of your local grocery market. After introducing a dietary change that increased amounts of Omega-3 fatty acid and decreased amounts of Omega-6 fatty acid, the test population experienced a reduction in symptoms associated with CDH. The healing properties found in an appropriate balance between the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation in the system, and in turn, extreme headache pain. In the study, participants experienced a significant reduction in headache hours and severe pain symptoms, as well as an improved quality of life.1

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health, but do not naturally occur in our systems. Because of this, we must intake our Omega-3 fatty acids through food or supplements. Wonderful Omega-3 rich foods include grass fed beef, eggs, walnuts, edamame, black beans, flaxseed, and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain functioning, normal growth and development, have an anti-inflammatory effect, and are powerful agents in lowering the risk of cancer and other diseases.2

Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential for our health, but must be consumed through food or supplements as they are not naturally occurring in our bodies. However, high levels of this fatty acid will have a reverse effect in treating disorders and will actually cause inflammation in the system. Unfortunately, our modern diet has overloaded us with Omega-6 through the influx of processed foods and various types of vegetable oils. Food sources that you want to regulate in your diet in order to reduce your intake of Omega-6 fatty acids include refined vegetable oils (those commonly found in processed foods, cookies, and sweets), avocados, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds.3

An easy way to increase your intake of Omega-3 and decrease the levels of Omega-6 in your system is to eliminate heavily processed foods from your diet and begin to include Omega-3 rich foods and supplements. This simple dietary change, corroborated by the 2013 randomized trial in the treatment of chronic headaches, can transform the lives of an estimated 10 million adults in the United States who suffer from Chronic Daily Headache and other chronic pain conditions.4

Written by Kristin Accorsi

References

  • 1PAIN journal. Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches. ctsi-price.sites.medinfo.ufl.edu/files/2014/02/Ramsden-et-al-2013-Alteration-of-n-3-and-n-6-fatty-acids-for-Chronic-HA.pdf
  • 2 Omega-3 fatty acids. umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  • 3 Understanding the Omega Fatty Acids. www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/omega-fatty-acids
  • 4 PAIN journal. Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches. ctsi-price.sites.medinfo.ufl.edu/files/2014/02/Ramsden-et-al-2013-Alteration-of-n-3-and-n-6-fatty-acids-for-Chronic-HA.pdf
  • photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/5r4S8J