- Researchers say a diet containing fatty acids found in certain fish may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
- Salmon, tuna and sardines contain higher levels of these fatty acids.
- For people who do not care much for fish, experts recommend adding a little fish to your regular selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you are living with migraines, you may want to consider consuming more fatty fish as well as krill oils.
This is according to a new study published in BMJ that measures the effects of diet on migraine frequency and severity in 182 American participants over 16 weeks.
Women made up the majority (88 percent) of the participants. The mean age of the participants was 38. Subjects averaged 5 to 20 migraine attacks per month with 67 percent meeting the criteria for chronic migraine.
Participants were grouped into one of three diet groups.
The H3 diet (increase in EPA + DHA fatty acids), the H3-L6 diet (increase in EPA + DHA fatty acids, and the decrease in linoleic acid), or the control diet (average intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the US ).
These fatty acids are already known as precursors to your body’s natural pain signals.
The researchers said the H3 and H3-L6 diets have the potential to reduce the number of migraine headache hours per day, as well as moderate to severe headaches per day compared to the control diet.
Improvements in the frequency of headache in the H3-L6 group were greater than those in the H3 group, suggesting additional benefits from lowering omega-6 linoleic acid in the diet.
Fatty acids or oxylipines are the building blocks or chains of fat in our body.
They provide structure to cell membranes and energy. There are approximately 20 different types of fatty acids in foods alone.
Fatty acids are divided into four categories:
- yndyrnat trans
- unsaturated poly, including omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA + DHA
In general, these are further grouped into fats that increase cardiovascular risk factors (trans fats and saturated fats) and those with protective and anti-inflammatory properties of the heart (unsaturated fats).
“The exaggerated cliché ‘You’re what you eat’ is true,” says Bianca Kamhi, founder of Living With Bianca, as well as a holistic health and accountability trainer in New York City.
Kamhi says she was not surprised to learn about the therapeutic potential of the suggested amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
“This should open the door to see how natural remedies and dietary changes can be used just as much as Eastern remedies to help alleviate migraines,” she told Healthline.
When fish eat phytoplankton, they synthesize and store the fatty acids consumed in their tissues. When eating fish, eat these synthesized fatty acids.
This means that the amount of omega-3 in fish in your diet depends on what the fish eat.
Kamhi shares the following good DHA and EPA resources:
- fish, especially cold-water fatty fish, such as:
- fish oils
- krill oil
Kamhi suggests starting with your daily meals and adding fatty fish to them.
“If you normally have eggs and toast for breakfast, add sardines as a spray to your toast,” she said. “Salad at lunch can be easily raised with a piece of grilled fish or tuna taken on top of it. If you want to eat a bowl of pasta at dinner, toss a little roasted salmon in the pasta. ”
Kamhi says the following fish have more than 1,000 milligrams (mg) omega-3 per 4 ounces (oz.) Cooked:
Fish with about 500 to 1,000 mg omega-3 per 4 oz. include:
- ton albacore
Fish with less than 250 mg omega-3 per 4 oz. include:
- mahi mahi
“Fish and other shellfish also provide some omega-3s, only smaller amounts per serving,” Kamhi said.