Diet and exercise are an important part of any health plan, but it can be especially helpful when dealing with migraines. While migraine tries to “take the fun out of life” from Michele Jordan, one of WebMD’s migraine bloggers, she knows that her best bet is sleep, a healthful diet and exercise. But she knows that sometimes you have to live your life. “I’m starting to understand the relationship between food and my body,” she says.
MICHELE JORDAN: Hi, my name is Michele Jordan. I'm from Los Angeles, California. I have had migraines for over 30 years. And I am a writer.
I've figured out that if I don't get at least 7 and a half hours of sleep, the next day it's highly likely that I'll have a migraine. And so like so many things, migraine just takes the fun out of life a lot of times. So while the rest of my friends and family can pull all-nighters getting work done or stay up all night partying, I have realized that it just-- it's not a great idea for me.
Or if I do need to stay up late for whatever reason, I really have to make sure that I'm really nice to myself the next day. And I kind of take a break if I need to.
I really feel that food for me can help or hurt my migraine depending on which path I choose. I find in general that eating healthy, eating more fruits and vegetables, eating lean protein, eating healthy fats has helped limit the frequency of my migraines and sometimes the severity of my migraines.
Of course I'm human. I was raised in the South. I love to cook, and I love to eat. And so there are times when I know that I'm eating things that aren't so great for my body.
But in the moment, I make that choice. And I often regret it a day or so later, sometimes the same day. But it's helpful because I'm starting to understand the relationship between food and my body more and more. I think I'm acknowledging that it's the choices that I make that can determine how I feel the next day or the next week.
One thing that surprised me recently in dealing with migraine symptoms is just how blood sugar and me being hungry can trigger a migraine. I have worked with a nutritionist recently who has helped me understand that going too long without eating really can kick off a migraine for me. I thought it was totally fine just to keep working and writing and going about my day running errands or doing chores if I felt a migraine coming on.
I have since learned that that's not a good idea, that the body needs fuel. It needs water. And if it's not happy, one of the reasons it can have a migraine is because you're just not taking care of yourself.
Exercise has been a very helpful thing to do to address my migraines. I find that when I walk regularly, I don't know how it works, but the blood is flowing. My mind is relaxed. And it seems to help prevent the frequency of some of my migraines when I stick to my walking program.
When I'm having a migraine, it's hit or miss. Sometimes if I exercise, it can make it worse. If I catch it early enough, I've noticed that sometimes taking a walk or doing something mild like yoga will actually help my migraines.