Migraine, Hormones and Nutrition
We recently did an event in Cork where one of our speakers, Lynne Dalton, Nutritional Therapist from Glenville Nutrition spoke about how to use foods to help balance hormones and enhance our gut health. As our gut is regarded as our second brain, it’s just as important to take care of its health as the brain in the noggin.
Aside from good and bad bacteria, some essential hormones and neurotransmitters are created in the gut and have a significant effect on our brains. Some studies have also shown that a disruption to the normal, healthy balance of bacteria in the microbiome can cause the immune system to overreact and contribute to inflammation of the GI tract, which in turn can lead to the development of diseases that occur not only throughout your body, but also in your brain.
“What we often see is a link between migraine or indeed other neurological issues like anxiety and bacterial imbalance in the gut.” Says Dr. Ciara Wright of Glenville Nutrition. Using antibiotics and other medication as well as certain products, including plastics, can destroy the good bacteria along with the bad, as well as disrupt the way our hormones are supposed to work.
One way to help our gut or microbiome health, and to help balance hormonal health is to add the ‘Three Ps’ to our diets. “The Three Ps,” explains Lynne Dalton, “are Probiotics, Prebiotics and Polyphenols.” Some you can get via supplements from health food shops, but the best way to get these into your diet is to simply add the foods they’re found in, to your diet.
- Probiotics are friendly and healthy bacteria needed for good gut health. They are generally found in fermented foods such as yoghurts, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, sourdough bread and some cheeses such as mozzarella and cottage cheese
- Prebiotics are fibres that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, they can be found in foods like garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, apples, cocoa beans, flaxseeds and seaweed
- Polyphenols are nutrients packed with antioxidants that are found in colourful foods such as berries, as well as in dark chocolate, nuts, beans, soy, apples, blackcurrants, plums, black or green tea, and believe it or not red wine!
Some of these foods have been known to trigger migraine so use with caution
Other great benefits to hormonal balance are cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, rocket, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, turnips. Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins C, E, K and fibre which helps you to feel fuller for longer. They also have properties that can aid with inflammation.
For information on balancing hormones naturally, and some expert nutritional information from Glenville Nutrition, see the following PDFs…