One of the largest and most common triggers are from food.
Some studies even call some types of migraine a food allergy.
I’ve seen clients go from daily headaches with migraine aggravations to only occasional headaches by only removing some foods.
But the migraine brain also has metabolic issues and a tough time producing energy which is why headaches from not eating are so common.
In this article, we will be talking about how headaches and migraines from not eating and after eating can be supported so that we aren’t so fragile.
3 Amazing tips for migraine headaches from not eating
I have such a bad migraine & I feel like shit but it’s probably from not eating and all the stress— b (@bbuhhree) October 12, 2018
Developing symptoms from not eating a meal or simply having to wait longer for a meal is a bad sign. In nature, we would not survive if we developed a migraine after every fasting period.
This is a sign that our body is not reacting normally and we need to take proactive steps to recover our metabolism.
If our brain constantly needs carbohydrates to function, it has probably become very inefficient at producing energy and extremely efficient at absorbing energy.
This means it will be very easy for it to store energy as fat, but not very well equipped to use fat as energy.
Our brain can run on two fuel sources, carbohydrates(sugars) and fats(fatty acids).
If we are constantly eating carbohydrate-rich meals then our brain doesn’t have the chance to get efficient at breaking down and using fats for energy.
And over time, especially with lots of simple sugars, our brain can develop insulin resistance which prevents it from using the carbohydrates as well.
This is a recipe for our brain to break down and lack the energy it needs to function properly and for us to stay migraine free.
So how do we support the repair of this system?
Before we begin, see this graph of some of the biggest triggers for migraines based on a study and look at how high food and skipping meals are.
1. Eat more fats
The easiest place to start is to include more healthy fats in your diet.
This means fats from grass-fed animals, wild fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Do not increase the consumption of conventionally raised animals as their living conditions create a toxic product devoid of nutrition and filled with more problems than they will solve.
Fill the diet with some fats at each meal. They improve absorption of nutrients and provide the fat soluble nutrients vitamins A, D, E and K.
See our article on the top 10 super simple blood sugar stabilizing snacks here.
2. Use longer lasting carbs
Carbohydrates aren’t bad but spiking blood sugar is.
We want to keep blood sugar steady all day, this will give us better hormones, better anxiety, better sleep, improve depressive symptoms, clear brain fog and make our heads much more resilient.
There are a few ways we can balance meals to do this:
- Make sure we drink plenty of water 30 minutes before a meal and if we have eaten too many carbohydrates we can balance them with water intake
- Eat protein and fat with every meal of carbohydrates
- Use complex carbohydrates as opposed to simple ones
- Avoid over-consumption of caffeine or stimulants
Some sources of complex carbohydrates are:
- Some fruit
Some sources of simple carbohydrates to limit are:
- Too much fruit
3. Practise intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is an amazing practise that used to be the norm which has now turned into a necessary health strategy.
Intermittent fasting is done by simply limiting the window of time that we eat in.
Whereas usually we would eat when we wake up and before bed, leaving our only fasting time to be the 7-10 hours we sleep…
During intermittent fasting we would expand this fasting time up to 16-24 hours each day.
But for the migraine brain this is tough and needs to be worked up to.
We need to slowly wean our brain off of constant sources of food so that it becomes more efficient at making energy from the resources we have.
Remember we can live for weeks without eating any food.
Our body will go through an amazing clean up while we are fasting. It releases growth hormone, helps the brain build new pathways, removes dying cells and cleans up the entire body making it more efficient.
Some tips to adjusting to fasting:
Slowly increasing the time between your meals by half an hour
Taking an early dinner and later breakfast
Eat more proteins and fats as they will last your body longer, keep blood sugar more stable and help your body make the switch from carbohydrate burning to fat burning.
Hydrating properly throughout the fasting time
If you have a broken metabolism make sure to see a nutritionist before starting extended fasts
See this video on how to intermittent fast for more information:
3 Amazing tips for migraine headaches after eating
Because there have been so many food studies done that have incredible results for migraine sufferers, food is one of the first places to go for healing.
Having a migraine or headache start after eating is one of the main signs that our digestive system is disturbed and we need to become more mindful of what food is impacting us negatively.
If we have leaky gut, if we have histamine issues, if we aren’t breaking down our food or have food sensitivities, migraines and headaches are some of the most common symptoms.
After eating I got a migraine. Wtf body? I fed you. I gave you water. How could you do me dirty like this?— Anna (@itsAnnaMendes) October 12, 2018
1. Support digestion of food with acid and enzymes
Digestion starts in the brain.
When we think of food, our brain gets started producing all of the digestive juices needed to break that food down, liquify it, absorb it and use it to make us healthy, happy and whole.
There are a few key pieces we have to support with our digestion:
– Think of your food/get mentally hungry
– Remember to chew as much as possible(It should almost be uncomfortable) Our body absorbs liquids, not solids so remember the saying drink your food and chew your water
– Support stomach acid – we need really strong stomach acid and stress actually drops our stomach acid levels – if you have acid reflux its likely you actually have too little acid and food isnt exiting the stomach because of it – use apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to kickstart the acid
– Support your pancreatic and liver enzymes by eating lots of fermented and living foods, remember that the more dead your food is, the more effort it takes to make it a part of you
– Feed your gut bacteria, if they are balanced, they protect you from harm and feed you nutrients – make sure meals have fiber and take a probiotic
2. Histamine, tyramine and other biogenic amines
Migraine sufferers have been found to be low in an enzyme called diamine oxidase or DAO. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down different amines.
This can be a cause of headaches or migraines starting after meals and especially from things like wine, cheese, and Chinese food.
When our histamine or other amine levels get high, they cause big problems like non-stop headaches.
We can test some simple methods to relieve this by eating low histamine rich and histamine releasing foods…
Or taking a DAO supplement which can be found online.
See our article on the histamine migraine connection for more information.
See the pin below for histamine foods to be weary of while testing.
3. Eat in rest and digest mode
We have two main modes to our nervous system that we don’t directly control but can influence.
The sympathetic mode where we are on high alert and stressed.
The parasympathetic mode where we are calm, cool, collected and our body is free to run its systems without strain.
When food is becoming a problem and digestion is compromised, chronically staying in sympathetic mode often plays a role.
When our body goes on high alert, it takes blood away from digestion and reduces the policing our body does on our gut.
Remember that 70% of our immune system is in our gut and for good reason.
This area is always interacting with the world and it needs support or else it can easily become compromised.
See this video on the two nervous systems:
Some key areas we have to be in rest and digest mode are:
- Eating and digesting
- Sleeping and recovery
- Breathing and thinking clearly
- Processing emotions from a logical perspective
This means we need to learn the tools we can use to make our body relax.
See our section on the two modes by scrolling down in the article here.
Migraines from not eating and after eating are some of the simplest triggers to correct and having a nutritionist or health coach can be an invaluable tool to do it.
The triggers almost always come from perfectly good reasons that have perfectly good remedies and the more we can understand about the body, the more we can understand how to lower our trigger levels, raise our threshold and live pain-free.
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If you are still struggling with migraines that last forever and that medication doesn’t touch then read our article on status migrainosus and intractable migraines here.
Do you get migraines from food or missing meals?
Is it always consistent or does it change some days?
Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone else going through the same issue.