NOV 23, 2021 1:00 PM PST

Diet Filled with Leafy Greens Ends Man's 12-Year Battle with Migraines

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Migraines can be a debilitating neurological condition for which there is no cure. A range of pharmaceuticals exist to prevent or treat migraines as they happen, though successful treatment is often indicated by only a 50% reduction in migraines. As a result, people have looked for other ways of managing migraines. Eliminating certain foods has become a common trend for migraine sufferers, which is based on the idea that certain foods may “trigger” a migraine (e.g., gluten, alcohol).

This idea was explored in a recent case study published in the British Medical Journal, which describes a man’s experience with chronic, severe migraines that he had been living with for over a decade. After making changes to his diet, however, the migraines suddenly disappeared. He has been free of migraines for seven years. 

So what happened? 

The patient in the case study, who reported having up to 24 days in a month plagued by a migraine episode, was advised to follow the Low Inflammatory Foods Everyday (LIFE) diet, which consisted of eating the following:

  • Dark-green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale) daily

  • A 32-ounce green smoothie once a day

  • Less whole grains, oils, and dairy/red meat

After the man started this new diet, the number of migraine days per month fell to just 1 in the first month after the diet, and then 0 after three months on the diet. But of course, a single case study does not signify a definitive conclusion about the connection between dietary changes and migraine headaches. 

However, researchers still have a theory about what could have caused the change: a chemical called beta-carotene, which is found in a range of fruits and vegetables. It’s known for giving some foods a reddish-orange coloring and, importantly, having anti-inflammatory properties, according to previous research.

However, researchers note that there are other factors that could have played a role (for example, the man was HIV positive, which is known to increase the risk of migraines), though their theory certainly warrants further exploration.     

Sources: Business Insider; British Medical Journal; American Migraine Foundation; American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

About the Author
  • Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
NOV 29, 2021
Plants & Animals
Extinction of Ancient Grazing Species Caused an Increase in Global Fires
NOV 29, 2021
Extinction of Ancient Grazing Species Caused an Increase in Global Fires
Extinction events have been common in Earth’s history. Over the last 450 million years, for example, there have be ...
NOV 30, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Historical land dispossession makes Native Americans more vulnerable to climate change
NOV 30, 2021
Historical land dispossession makes Native Americans more vulnerable to climate change
Indigenous nations across the United States have lost 98.9% of their historical land base, leaving them more vulnerable ...
DEC 03, 2021
Health & Medicine
A Reduced-Meat Diet is Good for Your Body and the Environment, New Study Says
DEC 03, 2021
A Reduced-Meat Diet is Good for Your Body and the Environment, New Study Says
Western diets are known to cause environmental and health detriments. There are many studies on the effects of various f ...
DEC 06, 2021
Health & Medicine
University of Washington studies potential health risks of working in the cannabis industry
DEC 06, 2021
University of Washington studies potential health risks of working in the cannabis industry
As the cannabis industry expands, workers are reporting health concerns associated with working in a cultivation center ...
DEC 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
A Plant-Based Diet May Lower Risk of Cognitive Impairment
DEC 13, 2021
A Plant-Based Diet May Lower Risk of Cognitive Impairment
It’s no secret that what we eat has a significant impact on our health, both physically and mentally. For example, ...
JAN 05, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Long Before Antibacterial Drugs, MRSA Superbug Arose in Hedgehogs
JAN 05, 2022
Long Before Antibacterial Drugs, MRSA Superbug Arose in Hedgehogs
Researchers were assessing the presence of bacteria in wild hedgehogs which are found in Europe and New Zealand, and fou ...
Loading Comments...