Soaring temperatures and scorching sun can trigger summer headaches – even among the young and healthy. Indeed, when Brazilian researchers analyzed data for 100 adolescents between the ages of 10 to 19 years of age, they looked at 44 possible triggering factors.
These ranged from dietary to hormonal to sleep, to stress to environmental. Hot weather and sun clarity were the top 2 environmental triggers – being cited in 63% and 75% of chronic migraine occurrences respectively for males and 59% and 66% for females.
Know your triggers
Hot weather means you’re more likely to get dehydrated, another factor in aggravating migraine pain. Among dietary factors, top triggers included coffee, chocolate, ice cream, sausage, red wine and fried foods. These were cited as triggers in 14, 9, 9, 7, 6 and 5% of migraines experienced by all participants respectively. While this study suggests factors that migraine sufferers might want to avoid – other research indicates nutrients (and their food sources) to embrace. Increasing intake of both riboflavin and magnesium may alleviate symptoms. The former is found in clams, trout, white mushrooms, sardines, halibut and prunes – the latter in spinach, Pollock, black beans, quinoa and Brazil nuts.
Take care of your weight
Eating a plant-based diet will also help you avoid unwanted weight gain – which in turn can minimize migraine risk. A study of nearly 20,000 migraine sufferers found that the more they weighed, the more likely they were to experience migraines. While severe headache pain is bad enough, the heaviest patients are 30% more likely to suffer the kind of pain that completely disrupts normal life. Exercise – yoga in particular – can help you kill two birds with one stone: managing migraine-aggravating excess weight, while also reducing stress, a main villain in prompting head pain.