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Migraine : Tips for Avoiding Migraines

The season of overindulgence can be a challenge for people who suffer from migraines, which can be triggered by certain foods and drinks. The first step for avoiding migraines is to know your food triggers.

"Knowing your food triggers and planning in advance can increase your enjoyment of holiday activities with fewer migraine attacks," says Dr. David Dodick, chair of the American Migraine Foundation.

"If you don't know whether you have food triggers, we suggest trying to eliminate specific dietary foods and beverages, such as red wine, processed meats, nuts, chocolate, aged cheese, monosodium glutamate, and gluten-containing foods, to see if they are causing migraine attacks," he advises.

Overly processed foods, sodium, sugar, and caffeinated and carbonated drinks can also set off migraines. Skipping or missing meals at their normal time is a more common trigger than any particular food, so eat regularly throughout the day.

Another way to avoid migraines is to eat a well-balanced diet, which can be difficult during the holiday season when rich, fatty foods and sweets abound. A nutrient-packed diet can help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies that cause migraines. For example, magnesium deficiency has been shown to contribute to the onset of migraines. A high-quality daily multivitamin can help fill any nutritional gaps in your diet.

Lack of sleep can also set off migraines, so try to get seven to eight hours of shut-eye whenever possible. On the other hand, too much sleep can also trigger headaches, so don't try to make up for lost sleep by snoozing the day away.

Finally, get moving. Regular physical activity helps to reduce stress (another migraine trigger) and prevent migraines. Opt for activities that don't put too much stress on the body, like yoga and light aerobics, rather than intense exercise like weight lifting.

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