You Can Reduce Migraines With This One Change To Your Diet

If you've ever had a migraine, you know that they're not just another headache. They can be excruciating and debilitating. Migraines produce more symptoms than just head pain, according to the American Migraine Foundation. There are other neurological symptoms involved, such as sensitivity to the environment. Migraines are serious, and associated with other conditions like stroke, depression, and heart attack. While there's a lot we don't know about migraine, it's the third most common medical condition in the world, affecting over 36 million Americans — exceeding the number of people with diabetes and asthma combined.

Many factors can affect your likelihood and frequency of migraines, but it's also a genetic condition, so if one parent has it there's a 50% chance of passing it down, and if both parents have it the risk is as high as 75% (via American Migraine Foundation). Other factors, like concussions, can increase your risk for migraines. While there are some therapeutic options for reducing migraine frequency and severity, these are often overused or abused, further exacerbating symptoms.

Although the condition has no cure, one dietary change may help reduce your migraines.

The right amount of healthy fats can help

In a 2021 study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that increasing omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing omega-6 fatty acids reduced the incidence of pain. 182 participants who reported having migraines on 5-20 days of the month were split into three groups: one consumed average amounts of both omega-3s and omega-6s, one increased their omega-3 intake while maintaining omega-6 levels, and one increased omega-3s while decreasing omega-6s. After 16 weeks, the last group saw the most improvement in symptoms.

According to Dr. Lisa Mosconi, founder of the Nutrition & Brain Fitness Lab at New York University, diet is incredibly important to brain health (via Eat This, Not That). "A bigger emphasis on omega-3s is an important way to reduce inflammation and improve brain function," she says. While omega-6 fatty acids are also an essential part of our diet, eating too many can lead to inflammation and inflammatory disease, according to Healthline. While a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 consumption should be between 1:1 and 4:1, studies show that the ratio in Western diets is closer to 15:1. Refined oils like soybean oil and corn oil are often to blame.