Suffering from a headache is never fun, especially not when you’re on vacation and the only thing you want to do is enjoy your time off. Yet those who suffer from migraines will know that the condition is way worse than “just another headache”. Besides that, you’re sensitive to every possible source of light, you may feel the urge to vomit and chances are, for a short period of time, you’d rather be dead. Of course, that’s a bit of an overreaction, but still: migraines aren’t exactly something you look forward to and if you could prevent it from happening, you’d happily do so.
And you’re not the only one. In the United Kingdom alone, about 10 million people are thought to be suffering from the condition. And bad news for the women amongst us, because they’re three times more likely to be affected by migraines than men. That’s not what you’d call an uplifting statistic, yet luckily, there’s also some good news to be told. For new research suggests that committing to a Mediterranean diet could help reduce the frequency of migraines you get. So if you’re heading to the Mediterranean this summer, you better read on.
Omega-3 and Omega-6
It’s thanks to Dr Christopher Ramsden at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore in the United States and his colleagues that we’re aware of this hope giving news. They decided to look into the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and certain nuts and seeds, and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in refined vegetable oils, on the frequency of migraines. These substances are known to be precursors to pain-regulating molecules called oxylipins and the researchers therefore thought there could be a connection between their intake and reducing migraines.
And they weren’t wrong. According to their findings, published in the British Medical Journal, both increased levels of a pain-reducing oxylipin. On top of that, people’s migraines tended to be shorter – between 1.3 and 1.7 hours a day. However, the research was mainly based on female participants and it is therefore not known if the results would be the same with children and men. Committing to a Mediterranean diet, which includes a lot of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, also means you get an increased intake of other substances which could also have an influence on the migraine-frequency. Yet even though it’s not sure which substances in the Mediterranean diet influence your migraines and whether or not all people experience that impact in the same way, it won’t hurt to indulge yourself in some delicious Mediterranean food this summer.