Nutrition and Headache

It’s a new year! With the ringing in of 2019, many of us are making resolutions.  A common goal is weight loss.  I’d rather we focus on nutrition and healthy lifestyle (ideally, weight should follow).  Lifestyle modifications are one of the simplest, yet hardest strategies to managing headaches. This is true in particular of food intake and nutrition, among other healthy lifestyle changes.

What many of us do not realize is that the gut-brain connection is quite strong.  When we are developing in utero, our gut sits next to our brain.  As babies grow into adults, the gut and brain are separated by space but continue to be very closely connected – the Vagus nerve provides a “fast lane” for back-and-forth communication between the brain and the gut.  In migraine, one of the first symptoms is nausea (with or without vomiting) often caused secondary to gastroparesis. Gastro = gut, paresis = stop.  Literally, your gut stops working. This leads to nausea and often vomiting.  Making a plan to focus on nutrition can help increase nutrient intake and decrease inflammation to improve headache burden. Some general suggestions include eating regular meals with brightly colored fruits and vegetables and staying hydrated. There are many things we could focus on here, and, with the help of a nutritionist outline, specific goals which are unique to each individual can be accomplished.