The Abdominal & Brain Migraine Connection

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Migraines Explained

Have you ever had a migraine?  Migraines can keep us depressed, nauseated, unable to work, overmedicated and rob us of true joy.  They can also be avoided if we only knew how.

Dr. Stephen D. Silberstein, a professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University and the director of the Jefferson Headache Center who co-wrote an accompanying editorial for the study, suggests that some of what people think are triggers may actually be symptoms of migraines instead. The desire to do something is part of the migraine attack, not the trigger.
It could start with the craving for certain foods such as chocolate.


Migraine sufferers often food journal “chocolate” as starting their migraine.  The onset of abdominal migraines after consuming chocolate may be due to the tyramine that is present in chocolate. Tyramine forms in foods when the naturally occurring amino acid tyrosine breaks down. The National Headache Foundation states, "Tyramine levels increase in foods when they are aged, fermented, stored for long periods of time or are not fresh." In sensitive individuals, abdominal migraines may occur in as little as 20 minutes after consuming chocolate.


Candida can cause migraines & cravings.  Gastrointestinal complaints such as chronic constipation and abdominal pain to more serious illnesses which may appear to be related to food allergies, leaky gut and migraines.  A diet high in trans- fats and sugar can also wreak havoc on bacterial levels and gives way to hormone imbalance which can affect the brain.


Stress can cause migraines.  Stress can influence our food choices and cause cravings. There is well-documented negative effects on vagal activation, contributing to the lively interplay between stress and inflammation in both the brain and the gut.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) can lead us into a migraine.

Food additives, made up of chemicals and preservatives, are found in abundance in packaged foods. These additives aren’t good for the gut or the brain. Dr Russell Blaylock says excitotoxins cause neuron misfiring.  MSG, is a common additive that is associated with migraines and should be avoided by abdominal migraine sufferers. According to the Cleveland Clinic, MSG may be the underlying cause for 30 percent of migraines. MSG can be found in bouillon cubes and packaged seasonings, salad dressings, Soups, condiments, canned foods, snack foods and Chinese food.


Low magnesium levels, refined sugars and dehydration have been linked to migraines.  Magnesium helps relax nerves and muscles and transmits nerve impulses throughout the body and brain. In addition, magnesium helps prevent nerves from becoming overexcited. In short, this mineral aids in the prevention and reduction of migraines.

Some magnesium rich foods are Pumpkin Seeds, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Chia Seeds.


A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue,  and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression,  dementia,  migraines, and neuropathy.  What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications.

Any type of crackers or bread containing cheese may cause migraines, including pizza. Steer clear of all dough or pastries containing yeast.  Stick with rice, barley, or quinoa. Corn meal and noodles are also not thought to be triggers.


 Sulfites can cause migraines...Dried fruits & most red wine contain sulfites.

Besides migraines from red wine, “one serving of alcohol slows a woman's metabolism by more than 70% the next day.” (Dr. Sara Gottfried)


According to the National Pain Foundationthe association between nitrates and migraines is likely related to the dilating effect nitrates have on blood vessels in the brain. Cured bacon contains nitrates, and according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nitrates in food have been linked with cancer.
Nitrates are nitrogen-based compounds that are added to processed foods to preserve color and prevent the growth of bacteria.  According to the American Medical Association, a diet high in sodium nitrites may lead to a health condition called methemoglobinemia, which is the inability of your red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body. This condition causes respiratory problems and migraines.
Nitrates are found in abundance in most lunch meats, such as bologna, salami, pepperoni and more. All meats that contain nitrates (added for curing or preserving) also contain ascorbic acid, as required by the USDA. (ascorbic acid in today's world is made from corn.) Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that inhibit the production of nitrosamines, the carcinogenic chemical that sodium nitrite creates when it is charred or overcooked.
"Prescription for Dietary Wellness"; Phyllis A. Balch; 2003
American Medical Association: Labeling of Nitrite Content of Processed Foods
American Diabetes Association: Type I Diabetes
J.T. Baker: Sodium Nitrite

A life without migraines can mean avoiding these causes.


Bite Size Pieces


What are some “bite size pieces” of information for Migraine relief?

Eating real, whole nourishing foods is not something that happens overnight.  Through first-hand experience, I have learned that it is a long, slow and gradual process that can only be accomplished by taking small “bite size steps” in the right direction.

When you reach for food, ask yourself if you are really hungry or just giving into cravings. 

An elimination diet may be in order. In a clinical trial 93% of 88 children who suffered frequent and severe migraines recovered on an elimination diet.

Using the herbs “feverfew”, and “peppermint” together in a tea that can be drunk throughout the day, is used in order to naturally eradicate a headache.

The herb “ginkgo biloba” is a better alternative to aspirin as it is a mild blood thinner and it greatly enhances oxygen flow throughout the body.

Awareness is key.

Caffeine is a common ingredient in several medications prescribed to treat various headaches, including migraines. However, caffeine can cause migraines.


Portable Lunch made easy!
    Layered in a mason glass

Use All Organic Ingredients:
½ cup fresh spinach leaves, torn into one-inch pieces
½ cup kale leaves, torn into one-inch pieces
1 small tomato, chopped

1/4 cup homemade hummus
¼ cup bell pepper chopped
¼ cup carrots shredded
½ avocado, cubed
1 handful sliced raw almonds
Use Tall portable Mason jar (approx. 3-cup capacity)

3 Tbsp fresh raspberries
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Layer ingredients 1 through 8 into the portable food container.  As you add each layer, gently smooth the food layer with the back of a spoon. Top with sliced almonds and secure with container top. In a separate portable food container mix the dressing ingredients. When you are ready to eat, remove salad lid, sprinkle in dressing, replace lid and gently shake. Serves 1

Essential Oils

Enhancing oxygen can bring relief. 

Reverseage Wellness Organic Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils (my own personal brand) are worth looking at and paying attention to for migraines. Red blood cells carry oxygen, but, when they’re 
impaired, this condition can lead to poor circulation, migraine headaches and chronic fatigue.

Foods that cause migraines can also cause skin, digestive, gallbladder & liver issues.  A lack of oxygen
can give the skin and lips a blue tinge, rashes, as well as cold hands and feet. Migraine headaches are also associated with digestive issues such as Crohn's and/or ulcerative colitis.


"Liver, Gallbladder, Digestive" Essential Oil Blend - Contains a combination of Fennel, Geranium, Rosemary, Chamomile, Blue Tansy, Helichrysum Essential Oils.

“Skin Health” Essential Oil Blend- Contains a combination of Grapefruit, Carrot Seed, Frankincense, Angelica Seed, Roman Chamomile, Rose Otto, Sandalwood Essential Oils and Tamanu Oil.

Peppermint Essential Oil- is high in oxygen and can increase circulation in the blood stream, and helps within minutes of a migraine.



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As a Certified Holistic Health Coach & Lifestyle Educator I work with each client to open a door that empowers them to take control of their health, to identify and address what’s causing their list of health challenges, and begin to stop old habits that created their symptoms, and implement new positive habits addressing the cause.  To learn more about me-I invite you to visit www. 

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