To Top Skip to content


Thunderclap Headaches: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

A thunderclap headache is a severe headache that, as suggested by the name, strikes suddenly, like a clap of thunder. It typically reaches its peak severity within one minute of the onset and fades gradually over the next few hours. Thunderclap headaches are considered a medical emergency because they act as a warning sign for serious medical conditions.

Do I have a thunderclap headache or a migraine?

The most noticeable difference between migraine and thunderclap headaches is the intensity of the pain they produce. Migraine attacks are notorious for being very painful, but those who have experienced a thunderclap headache have called it the worst headache of their lives. This is true even for chronic migraine sufferers.

Unlike migraines, thunderclap headaches are associated with a host of conditions ranging from benign to potentially fatal. The most common are vascular disorders in the brain. One frequent cause of thunderclap headaches is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is bleeding in the membranes around the brain caused by small ruptures in the arteries of the head or neck. Other potentially life-threatening causes include:

Ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke
Hypertensive crisis (severe elevation of blood pressure)
Head injury
Infections such as meningitis or encephalitis
A blood clot in the brain
A ruptured blood vessel in the brain

How are symptoms different between thunderclap headaches and migraines?

1. There are a few main differences between thunderclap headache and migraine but because thunderclap is really rare and is similar to many other types of head pain causes, it is not often diagnosed.

The biggest difference is in time duration.

2. A migraine may come on slowly, with prodromal symptoms, and aural symptoms long before the head pain. These symptoms may include;

Sensitivity to light
Loss of concentration
Increased urination, etc.

The head pain will also come on slowly and last between 4-72 hours. But a thunderclap headache is very sudden and severe with no warning. It rises to its peak pain within 60 seconds and can last from a few minutes to hours.

3. Migraines can be incredibly severe and crippling but a thunderclap headache is regarded as the worst headache you’ve ever had in your life.

What are the symptoms of a thunderclap headache?

Regardless of the cause, the most common symptom of thunderclap headaches is sudden and severe pain in the head. This pain usually peaks within the first 60 seconds of the headache starting and lasts at least five minutes. It can be felt anywhere on the head or neck.

There may be other signs and symptoms associated with thunderclap headaches, including:

Nausea and vomiting
Changes in vision or temporary vision loss
Difficulty speaking and thinking

How is a thunderclap headache diagnosed and treated?

Thunderclap headaches are usually diagnosed in the emergency department through a combination of medical history questions and imaging tests. In some cases, a spinal tap may be needed. Because thunderclap headaches tend to be a symptom of a secondary condition, all efforts should be aimed at identifying and treating the underlying problem.

Sometimes it may not be possible to find what’s causing the thunderclap headache. In those cases, the thunderclap headache is considered primary, meaning that it is not the result of any other medical condition. Primary thunderclap headaches are more common in younger adults and may be triggered by coughing, working out, or sexual activity.

Although not all thunderclap headache episodes are life-threatening, it is crucial to seek medical attention right away if you experience a severe and sudden headache of any kind. A thunderclap headache, if not detected early, can lead to severe and potentially lethal complications.

Can thunderclap headaches be prevented?

The sudden onset of thunderclap headaches makes preventing them hard. However, the best way to reduce the risk of developing one is to manage any underlying condition, especially vascular and blood pressure problems. Some easy lifestyle changes you can make to control your blood pressure include:

Losing weight
Eating a healthy diet
Exercising regularly
Limiting alcohol
Avoiding cigarette smoke
Managing stress



Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermentation is a food-processing technique dating back thousands of years. Some of the earliest archeological records of fermented foods and drinks can be traced back to the Mesolithic period, more than 13,000 years ago. This method was used by many ancient human civilizations as a means of preserving food.

The production of foods such as yogurt and cultured milk, wine and beer, sauerkraut and kimchi, and fermented sausage were initially valued because of their improved shelf life and safety.  It is increasingly understood that fermented foods can also have enhanced nutritional and functional properties due to the transformation of substrates and the formation of bioactive or bioavailable end-products. Many fermented foods also contain living microorganisms some of which are genetically similar to strains used as probiotics. Although only a limited number of clinical studies on fermented foods have been performed, there is evidence that these foods provide health benefits well-beyond the starting food materials.

Food can be fermented a couple of ways. Natural or spontaneous fermentation happens when a food or drink naturally contains specific microorganisms that encourage a fermentation process, like kimchi or sauerkraut. Alternatively, foods can be fermented by adding live starter cultures, like sourdough bread, kombucha, and some types of yogurt.

Fermentation occurs when microorganisms like certain types of bacteria, yeast, or mold ingest carbohydrates (such as sugars and starches) to use them for energy and fuel. During the fermentation process, these microorganisms break down carbohydrates into alcohols or acids, changing the food’s nutritional profile, giving it a distinct tangy zest, and extending its shelf life significantly. Fermentation also promotes the growth and development of healthy bacteria – aka probiotics.

Health benefits of fermented food

Fermented foods provide many health benefits such as anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-atherosclerotic activity.

CONTAINS PROBIOTICS – Eating fermented foods can help replenish the beneficial bacteria and even fight off pathogenic (harmful) bacteria in your gut. Probiotics have also been shown to bolster your immune system, cure psoriasis & chronic fatigue syndrome, improve your digestion and help the body absorb nutrients. People who eat fermented foods regularly also tend to have a more diverse microbiome, which is the cornerstone of a healthy gastrointestinal system.

Research suggests that probiotics may also:

  • Improve some mental health conditions: one randomized placebo-control study of 70 individuals working at a petrochemical company found that those who ate yogurt every day or took a daily probiotic supplement experienced better mental health outcomes than those who didn’t consume probiotics.
  • Encourage heart health: several study reviews and meta-analyses have shown that probiotics can modestly reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and mildly increase “good” cholesterol (HDL).
  • Help you lose weight: evidence suggests that a particular strain of healthy bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus may help adults reduce body fat, waist and hip circumference, and felly fat.

BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM – Fermented foods like kefir, tempeh and miso provide plenty of nutrients including antioxidants that function to strengthen your immunity.  This process ultimately helps to protect against bacteria that contribute to debilitating health conditions.

IDEAL FOR WEIGHT LOSS – Fermented foods can be beneficial for weight control in several ways:

Gut Bacteria can affect the regulation of body weight.  The Acetic Acid produced in the fermentation process has been shown to reduce body fat.  Fermented foods are nutrient-dense, with high bulk consumed per calorie. Ingestion of strains of Lactobacillus shown to reduce body fat. Digestion is more efficient when our gut has a healthy balance of beneficial microbes.

GOOD SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS – Many fermented foods are enriched with antioxidants and when consumed regularly, these antioxidants fight disease-causing bacteria and germs.  Antioxidants are also necessary to ward off major health-deteriorating factors such as free radicals that contribute to chronic diseases.

  • Heal and seal your gut to reverse disease
  • Detoxify your body
  • Reverse food allergies and sensitivities
  • Absorb more nutrients
  • Feel all-around more energized and healthy

Migraines and Fermented Foods – Be Cautious

While fermented foods may have many health benefits, if you suffer from migraines, you may have to avoid fermented foods.  Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods, especially aged and fermented foods, such as aged cheeses, smoked fish, cured meats, and some types of beer.  Also, foods high in protein may contain more tyramine if they have been stored for a long time they have not been kept cold enough. If you are a migraine sufferer and not sure about your triggers, you can try going on a low tyramine diet to see if it helps.

Introducing fermented foods in your diet

Fermented foods and drinks are considered safe for most. In fact, people who are lactose intolerant usually find fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir easier to digest. The most common side effects of eating fermented foods for the first time are increased bloating and gas, though they tend to be temporary.

If you want to get more fermented foods in your diet, but you are not sure where to begin, here are a few simple suggestions for every meal:


  • Add cultured yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk to your morning cereal or smoothie
  • Top your eggs with a healthy spoonful of kimchi for a refreshing, tangy kick
  • Fermented oatmeal

Wondering how to ferment oatmeal? It’s easy! Just mix a cup of rolled oats with 2 tablespoons of a probiotic live culture (yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk) and one cup of dechlorinated water, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it ferment in a warm spot overnight or for up to two days. Enjoy uncooked or cook it like regular oatmeal.



  • A cup of miso soup with lunch can be both filling and nutritious
    • Miso (pronounced mee-so) is a salty bean paste, created by fermenting mashed cooked beans and salt with a culture starter called “koji.”  Most people worldwide are familiar with this fermented food in the all popular “miso soup”, which is the paste dissolved in hot water to create a rich broth.  The soup usually contains other ingredients like shiitake, vegetables, seaweeds, tofu, or tempeh. It is a traditional fermented food native to China and Japan but is used in all parts of Southeast Asia especially Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Customarily, the soybean is the main ingredient found in Asian miso’s, but it can alternatively be made with other types of legumes. Under the process of natural fermentation, the cooked beans experience a biological transformation in which their proteins, oils, fats, and carbohydrates are converted into easily absorbed fatty acids, simple sugars, and amino acids. Miso contains iron, calcium, choline, tryptophan, folate, protein and vitamin K2.  It is important to note that these health properties are only found in unpasteurized versions, rather than pasteurized commercial products, which are void of any enzymes or beneficial microorganisms.  Most grocery stores now carry cartons of miso paste.  When making broth or soup, it is important to dissolve the paste in warm or hot water BELOW the boiling point to preserve its health benefits.
  • Swap regular condiments for fermented ones, like fermented mayo, ketchup, or mustard
  • Try a sourdough bread toast topped with sauerkraut or kimchi for an extra-fermented lunch
  • Consider lacto-fermenting your vegetables instead or baking or steaming them.  (Lacto Fermentation Fruit and Vegetable Recipes)



  • Craving a four o’clock snack? Sip on a cold glass of kombucha or cool down with a refreshing yogurt or kefir popsicle



  • Have some fun with a bowl of white rice, some kimchi, a fried egg, and any of your favorite vegetables
  • Go meatless with tempeh tacos or fajitas
  • Experiment with fermented chutneys
  • Top a burger, hot dog, or burrito with a big spoonful of sauerkraut

Note:   You may experience side effects initially if you are new to eating fermented foods or eat them somewhat sporadically.  Possible side effects include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas or indigestion.

One reason you may be hit with side effects is if you introduce fermented foods too quickly. Some people are sensitive to fermented foods, and need a slow initial introduction. If this is the case for you, you might want to start with a tablespoon of sauerkraut, instead of downing ½ cup of it. Work your way up slowly and your body will likely adapt.

Another reason could be that you’re eating them alongside protein-rich foods.  Because protein takes longer to digest, gas and bloating can possibly occur when eating protein with gut-friendly fermented food.

Be Mindful of the Salt in Fermented Foods

Keep in mind, too, that many fermented foods, like kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut, are high in sodium. For example, 4 Tablespoons of sauerkraut contain nearly 400 mg of sodium, or almost 20% of your Daily Value, and just 1 Tablespoon of miso has 775 mg of sodium. Regularly eating a lot of salty fermented foods could be problematic especially for people with high blood pressure. Salty foods can also dehydrate you pretty quickly, and cause your body to excrete more calcium.

Fermented foods can be very beneficial for you but like most things… moderation is key.


Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds for Healthy Eyes, Heart, Skin, Hair, Weight Loss & More!

Commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. Nutritionally it is more similar to vegetables than fruits. Pumpkin has a range of fantastic health benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.

Eye Health:  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color.  The body converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. One cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.  Studies show that vitamin A can also strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. (1) (2)

High Antioxidant Content:  Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.  However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells.  Pumpkin may lower you risk of cancer. (3)  (4)

Heart Health:  Pumpkin contains a variety of nutrients that can improve your heart health.  It’s high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which have been linked to heart benefits.  For instance, studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes appear to have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of strokes which are both risk factors for heart disease. (5)

Weight Loss:  Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  It is low in calories as it is 94% water and contains only 50 calories per cup (245 grams).

Healthy Skin:  Pumpkin is great for the skin for many reasons.  Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock. (6)
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays (7).
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. (8).
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV. (9) (10)

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:

Calories: 49
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

When making pumpkin dishes… Don’t throw away the seeds!


Pumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico back in 7,000 B.C.  North American Indian tribes were the very first to observe the dietary and medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds.  The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. Pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months increase in protein content. They can be consumed raw or toasted, plain or tossed in salads and other fresh or cooked dishes.  Containing a variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are extremely healthy and are a good source of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates), magnesium, iron and protein.  100 grams of pumpkin seeds contains about 30 grams of protein. They are the most alkaline-forming seed.


Heart Healthy:  Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy fats, fibers and various antioxidants that are beneficial for the heart.  The high levels of essential fatty acids help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower unhealthy cholesterol in the blood.  Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Healthy Sleep:  Pumpkin seeds contain Serotonin, a neurochemical which promotes health sleep.  They are also high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that further converts into Serotonin in the body, to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Prostate Health:  High in zinc these seeds are useful for promoting men’s fertility and preventing prostrate problems. The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.  Pumpkin seeds also have DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) that helps reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

Stabilize Blood Sugar – Pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation in diabetics and decreases oxidative stress. These seeds are a rich source of digestible protein that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Hair Growth:  Pumpkin seeds consist of cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for hair growth. They also contain vitamin C that also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Apply pumpkin seeds oil on scalp to see the results or just consume a handful of them daily.

Bone Protection:  High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

Other benefits:  According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.  These seeds reduce inflammation and counter arthritis pain without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.  They are also used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Take advantage of the abundance of pumpkins during the fall season and give your health a boost. Enjoy these healthy pumpkin recipes.



Tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass and will satisfy all your pumpkin cravings.  It combines pumpkin purée with almond butter, milk, delicious spices, and honey. It’s an excellent source of filling protein and fiber, plus it provides eye-helping beta-carotene. (Can’t get enough pumpkin?


1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
4 ice cubes

Directions:  Blend ingredients together, and enjoy! Serves 1.



HEALTHY PUMPKIN MUFFINS (No Flour, Sugar Free, Oil Free, Dairy Free Gluten Free)

Healthy pumpkin muffins are a better-for-you alternative to traditional pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread.
Gluten free, sugar-free, oil free, and dairy free. Your taste buds will love the healthy fall flavors.

Prep Time – 20 min
Cook Time – 20 min
Total Time – 32 mins
Servings: 14 muffins
Calories: 123  calories


2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (toasted & ground) * 9.3 ounces
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (toasted, 2 Tbsp reserved for muffin tops) * 2.8 ounces
1 1/8 cups pumpkin puree * 10.7 ounces
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
6 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk or dairy milk (full fat, skim or 1 %,)
2 tsp real vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 ground nutmeg)
½ cup walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Place all oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring once (about 4 to 6 minutes).
Let cool to room temperature. (If you are in a hurry you can skip this step and use plain old-fashioned oats, however the toasting adds flavor.)
Place 2.5 cups of oats in a food processor and blend/pulse until they reach a rough, flour like consistency.
Combine pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add both ground and unground oats to wet ingredients and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes (this allows the oats to soak and soften).
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just incorporated. (The batter will be very thick.)

Optional: Fold in approximately 1/2 c walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin, lined with muffin wrappers (makes 12-14 muffins). Fill the muffin tins 7/8 full.
Bake at 350 for about 23 – 25 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean and the top of the muffin should feel firm.
Recipe Notes
Use parchment muffin liners or lightly spray liners lightly with oil to make the baked muffins easier to remove.



1 small pumpkin
1 onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1.5 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil (to brush on pumpkin flesh)
Pumpkin seeds and fresh rosemary (to garnish)

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F before cutting your pumpkin in half. Spoon out the strings and seeds, saving the seeds for roasting.

2. Using olive oil, brush the flesh of the pumpkin and place the halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately one hour — a fork should be able to pierce the skin. When cooked, allow to cool.

3. On your stove top, saute garlic and onions until translucent — then add turmeric to toast slightly.

4. Add all remaining ingredients (pumpkin flesh, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper) and bring to a simmer.

5. Once incorporated, use an emulsion blender to create a smoother consistency and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When ready to serve, garnish with rosemary and pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to roast your own, simply toss seeds in olive oil and salt, baking for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.


For more great recipes, visit BrenDid .com


Quinoa – Amazing Superfood for Migraine Sufferers

This amazing low-fat, high protein food could…

* protect against heart disease
* help to prevent type II diabetes
* help with migraines
* provide antioxidant protection
* Protect against breast cancer
*Protect against childhood asthma
* Prevent gallstones
* Provide all 9 essential amino acid (protein building blocks)
* Provide healthy levels of dietary fiber and magnesium

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient whole grain that has been recently rediscovered in the U.S.  The Incas once held the crop to be sacred, calling it the ‘mother of all grains’.


Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice and 14 percent for wheat.  Unlike rice and potatoes, for which quinoa is an excellent replacement, it is a whole grain food source that results in many of the health benefits listed above.  Quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein content, which also makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians.  Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s long-duration manned spaceflights.


High nutritional content of 100gms or half cup of cooked quinoa –

Magnesium: 17% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
Complete Protein: 4 grams
Fiber: 3 grams.
Manganese: 32% of Recommended Daily Allowance
Phosphorus: 15% of the Recommended Daily Allowance

It is also packed with minerals like Zinc, Iron, Copper, and Potassium along with B-Vitamins and Calcium. These tiny grains are also good for weight watchers offering a total of 120 calories, 21 gms of carbs and 2 gms of fat. Quinoa is also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.


Quinoa is a good source of magnesium and riboflavin, which are also key ingredients in MigreLief dietary supplements.  These ingredients have been shown to help relax blood vessels, encourage energy production within cells and help to maintain normal cerebrovascular tone and function.  Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Studies show that many migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium. Studies have also shown that many migraine sufferers have a deficiency in mitochondrial (powerhouse in cells) energy right before an attack.  Mitochondrial dysfunction in your brain cells can make you more susceptible to migraines which studies show vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) can help correct.


Both the glycemic index and the glycemic load of quinoa (these are measurements of how various foods can impact your blood sugar levels) are favorable as well when compared to rice or potatoes.

A half-cup of cooked quinoa contains only about 110 calories and with its fiber content makes it a good choice for those trying to watch their weight, as well


Quinoa is typically simmered, as you would prepare rice. It’s often added to savory recipes, like salads, sautés, and soups. You can also serve it alongside grilled or pan-seared meats and fish.

When whole, quinoa seeds have an outer husk coated with a natural substance called saponin. This protects the seeds from the birds. While the husk is already removed when you buy commercial quinoa, some of the saponin can remain. It’s rather bitter, so it’s important to rinse the quinoa well before simmering it.

Some Serving Ideas for Quinoa:

* Use quinoa as a side-dish replacing rice, potatoes or even pasta

* Many health food stores carry quinoa sourced pasta noodles

* With nuts and fruits, quinoa makes an excellent porridge

* Quinoa can be added to vegetable soups

* Use sprouted quinoa in sandwiches or salads instead of alfalfa sprouts



Quinoa Porridge with fruit

When slowly cooked in a mixture of water and milk with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, quinoa seeds become a rich porridge with a soft bite. If you’re a quinoa fan, it’s a lovely alternative to oatmeal in the morning.

You can easily adapt this breakfast quinoa to your personal tastes and dietary needs. For a softer rather than chewy quinoa, especially this sweet breakfast dish, adjust the seed-to-liquid ratio (add more liquid) until you find the perfect texture for you.

For a non-dairy breakfast, quinoa porridge is also deliciously prepared with almond milk or coconut milk


1 cup water
1-1/2 cups milk (whole, low fat, almond, or coconut), plus more for serving
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
pinch salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice)
sliced almonds, walnuts or chopped toasted pecans, for topping


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water, 1-1/2 cups milk, vanilla extract or paste, rinsed quinoa, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (stirring occasionally and watching carefully so it doesn’t boil over).
Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly vented, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the ground cinnamon. Re-cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and gently fold in blueberries. Serve, topped with extra brown sugar or maple syrup, warm milk, and nuts.

Enjoy quinoa for its taste and texture as well as its multiple health benefits.  You will be very pleasantly surprised and pleased to add it to your family’s diet.






How to Protect Your Lungs from Wildfire Smoke

As devastating wildfires driven by strong winds rage in California, Washington, and Oregon, many people are concerned about protecting their lungs against smoke pollution.
Among those suffering from increased smoke and bad air quality are migraine sufferers.  In general, one of the most difficult migraine triggers to control is air quality.  It is especially important to avoid or filter out as much bad air as possible during these difficult times.
Protect Lungs from Smoke
2020 hasn’t been an easy year for anybody. With the COVID-19 pandemic still posing a serious global public health threat, wildfire season has arrived in the U.S with unrivaled and devastating ferocity, destroying entire communities and burning millions of acres of land up and down the West Coast.
Wildfire smoke can pose a serious health hazard for people in the surrounding areas. Smoke can travel hundreds of miles during a fire, affecting even those who live outside the immediate threat of the wildfire’s path. According to the American Lung Association, people over the age of 65 or under 18, those who work outdoors, and individuals with chronic conditions – particularly respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD – may be at a greater risk of suffering the effects of fire smoke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

What’s in wildfire smoke, and why is it so bad for the lungs?

When a wildfire burns, billions of particles from burnt trees, grass, bushes, and even objects get suspended high into the air.  Smoke is a complex mixture of carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and other organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, and trace minerals. These particles can be big, like the ash that’s left after a fire, or incredibly tiny and invisible to the human eye. Smaller particles are the most damaging, as they can reach deep inside the lungs and trigger inflammatory responses.
In addition to particulate matter, wildfire smoke also contains a mixture of volatile chemicals, carbon monoxide, and different compounds that vary depending on what’s feeding the flames. Different types of wood and vegetation are composed of varying amounts of cellulose, lignin, tannins, and other polyphenols, oils, fats, resins, waxes, and starches, which produce different compounds that are released as smoke when burned. Wildfires that burn through cities or communities can pick up chemicals from plastic and other synthetic materials. In contrast, smoke from fires that blaze through poison oak or ivy may contain trace amounts of these plants’ irritants.
Short-term exposure to wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, sometimes causing black or brown mucus and phlegm to buildup in the airways. Breathing fire smoke over a prolonged period is more dangerous because it interferes with the blood oxygenation process, raising the risk of lung damage and, in some cases, precipitating cardiovascular events like heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. Short and long-term smoke exposure can worsen respiratory symptoms in people with chronic breathing issues.
One concern of the general public is whether they run an increased risk of cancer or of other chronic health conditions such as heart disease from short-term exposure to wildfire smoke. It is well known that smoke contains carcinogenic components with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) comprising the largest percent and to lesser extent benzene and formaldehyde. People exposed to sufficient concentrations of these types of toxic air pollutants over long periods of time may have slightly increased risks of cancer or of experiencing other chronic health problems. However, in general, the long-term risks from short-term smoke exposures are very low according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Protecting yourself from wildfire smoke

These are some steps you can take to protect you and your family against wildfire smoke dangers:
Check your local air quality reports: If there’s a fire burning nearby, check the air quality reports to make sure it’s safe outside. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website shows you real-time air quality updates based on your zip code.
Stay indoors as much as possible: If the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from wildfire smoke is limiting your time outdoors as much as possible. You may also want to choose a room in your house that you can close off from outside smoke and install a portable air cleaner to filter out harmful particles.
Keep indoor air clean: If you have one, run your air conditioner in the air circulating setting to avoid outside air from getting in. Try keeping all windows, doors, and fireplace hampers closed to prevent smoke from getting inside. According to the American Lung Association, household appliances with HEPA filters can also provide protection from smoke and soot.
Use room cleaners:  It is best to buy an air purifier before a smoke emergency occurs as they are often in short supply during a smoke hazard.  High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air cleaners and ESPs documented not to produce excess ozone can help reduce indoor particle levels, provided the specific air cleaner is properly matched to the size of the indoor environment in which it is placed.  There are wide ranges of air cleaners and prices to choose from: air cleaners are available as either less expensive portable units designed to clean the air in a single room ($90 – $900) or as larger central air cleaners intended to clean the whole house ($400 – $1500). Central air cleaners can be more effective than room air cleaners because they filter a larger amount of air, although two or more well-placed portable air cleaners can be equally effective and their cost may still be less than the cost
of a large central air cleaner.
The two basic types of air cleaners for particle removal include:
a) Mechanical air cleaners, which contain a fiber or fabric filter. The filters need to fit tightly in their holders, and cleaned or replaced regularly. HEPA filters (and Ultra-Low Penetration Air [ULPA] filters, which are not generally available for residential use) are most efficient at removing particles.
b) Electronic air cleaners, such as electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) and ionizers. ESPs use a small electrical charge to collect particles from air pulled through the device. Electronic
air cleaners usually produce small amounts of ozone (a respiratory irritant) as a byproduct, though some, especially those that are combined with other technologies, may produce substantial levels of ozone (see next section on Ozone Generators). Only ESPs that have been tested and documented not to produce excess ozone should be used. Ionizers, or negative ion generators, cause particles to stick to materials (such as carpet and walls) near the device and are also often a source of ozone. Ionized particles deposited on room surfaces can cause soiling and, if disturbed, can be resuspended into the indoor air. Room air cleaner units should be sized to provide a filtered airflow at least two to three times the room volume per hour. Most portable units will state on the package the unit’s airflow rate, the room size it is suitable for, its particle removal efficiency, and perhaps its Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR. The CADR is a rating that combines efficiency and airflow
When choosing to buy an air cleaner, review the list of certified air cleaners from the California Air Resource Board that produce little or no ozone.
DIY (Do-It-Yourself) air filters for wildfire smoke.  

If you are unable to purchase an air cleaner and need a make-shift option, consider a DIY box fan + filter.  Buy a MERV 13 or FPR 10 furnace filter and tape it to the back of a box fan. The filters sell for about $15-$20. If you can not find one of these filters, buy something similar at your local home improvement/hardware store.  Just line up the filter on the back-side of the box fan (the side that pulls the air in, not the side that blows the air out).  The suction from the fan should make the filter stick to the back, but you can also secure it with regular tape.  To be effective, there does not need to be a perfect seal between the air filter and the box fan.  It is okay to have gaps around the filter.  A typical box fan size is 20 x 20 and filter size is 20 x 20 x 1. Place the fan in an enclosed room (a smaller room is best).  Make sure the windows and doors are closed.  When turned on, the fan will pull the dirty air through the back filtered side and push cleaner air through the front.
Unhealthy air quality: How to keep your pets safe in the haze
“The tape is just helpful to keep it tidy so when you shut off your fan the filter doesn’t just flop off,” Erik Saganic, air resources specialist for Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, said.

For those who are not able to obtain an air cleaning machine, there is a DIY option.  Taping an
Cover your face:  Surgical cloth and paper masks will not protect your lungs from wildfire smoke. Wearing an N95 or P100 respirator can reduce your exposure to smoke. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be hard to find respirators that effectively filter out wildfire smoke particles at your local pharmacy or hardware store.

Anti-pollution masks commonly have valves to help let air out and make breathing easier. Unfortunately, for this reason, the valves make the mask useless in preventing the transmission of viruses – because it is designed to let the air out, along with whatever else might be in that air.  These masks should not be considered for the dual purpose of also protecting against Covid-19 or other virus transmissions.

Avoid exercising outdoors:  Exercising increases your respiratory rate, making you breathe in more air than usual and causing you to inhale more noxious particles. Avoid exercising outdoors when there’s a fire in the surrounding area or if you notice your eyes or throat getting irritated.
Check-in with your doctor if you have a chronic or respiratory condition: People with cardiovascular disease, asthma, COPD, and other lung diseases should check in with their doctors about any changes in their respiratory management plan, including changes in medications to cope with the smoke.
Here are additional general recommendations to protect you and your family from wildfire smoke:

  • Roll up your car windows when you are driving your car through smoky areas.
  • Clean up frequently to reduce dust and soot.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding activities that increase smoke pollution, like smoking cigarettes and burning candles or fireplaces.
  • Prepare to evacuate if directed.
  • Keep house pets indoors as much as possible; smoke can also have a negative effect on animals, especially dogs.

We hope you find these tips useful to ensure you and your loved ones stay healthy and stay safe.

Magnesium for migraines… Is it enough?

Studies have shown migraine sufferers with poor cerebrovascular tone have low levels of magnesium.  Magnesium is a natural mineral that is necessary for healthy bodily function as it promotes heart health, stabilizes blood pressure, regulates nerve and muscle function and builds bone, DNA and protein.  Magnesium is intimately involved in the control of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors which play an important role in pain transmission in the nervous system and in the regulation of cerebral blood flow.  Magnesium ions plug the NMDA receptors which renders calcium unable to exert its vasodilatory effects.

Magnesium has numerous effects that support cerebrovascular tone and function including the following mechanisms of action:

  • Inhibition of platelet aggregation
  • Interference with synthesis, release, and action of inflammatory mediators
  • Direct alterations of cerebrovascular tone
  • Inhibition of vasospasm
  • Stabilization of cell membranes.

Numerous studies support the use of magnesium as a supplement for preventing migraine headaches.  In fact, many studies have shown that serum levels of magnesium were substantially lower in migraine sufferers than in the general population of people who didn’t get migraines. The researchers found that as serum levels of magnesium decreased the frequency of migraine attacks significantly increased.
Magnesium supplementation in the correct forms and amounts has to be part of any migraine sufferer’s regimen. But is it enough?

The answer is yes, for some sufferers, and, no, for many other sufferers.  This is because there is not just ONE malfunctioned or dysfunctional mechanism or imbalance that is known to cause migraine attacks.

Some of the dysfunctional brain processes that have been shown to be present in migraine sufferers during migraine attacks include:

  • Excessive platelet aggregation resulting in vasospasms due to serotonin release.
  • Decrease in the brain cell’s mitochondrial energy reserves.
  • Inflammation

So while magnesium certainly plays a role in helping to prevent or balance some of these contributing factors, by itself, it doesn’t work for every chronic migraine sufferer.

We do not know which individual factor or combination of factors contributes to migraine occurrence in each individual.  Therefore, a comprehensive nutritional approach using three natural ingredients; magnesium, riboflavin and feverfew to provide three different mechanisms of action can be extremely beneficial to migraine sufferers.

In addition to magnesium, riboflavin and feverfew are listed in the American Academy of Neurology’s Evidence-Based Guidelines for Migraine Prevention. 

Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2)
Research has shown that a mitochondrial defect may reduce an individual’s threshold to migraine triggers and lead to migraines. A deficiency of mitochondrial energy reserves has been observed in many people exhibiting poor cerebrovascular tone. Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body convert food to energy. It is a precursor of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN ) which unlike CoQ10 are involved in all three cellular energy production processes; glycolysis, Krebs cycle, and electron transport. At the proper dose, riboflavin helps maintain healthy mitochondrial energy reserves which is very beneficial to migraine sufferers.

The herb feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium) has been recorded as a medicinal remedy for millennia. Commonly recommended for its ability to reduce platelet aggregation which can lead to vasoconstriction and support cerebrovascular tone, feverfew is rich in compounds known as sesquiterpene lactones and glycosides.  Scientific studies show feverfew inhibits platelet aggregation and the release of serotonin from platelets and polymorphonuclear leukocyte granules. Feverfew also inhibits pro-inflammatory prostaglandin synthesis and the release of arachidonic acid.

All 3 ingredients have been recommended for years by many doctors and top headache specialists based on clinical studies.  (Read JANA Report – Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association






MigreLief™ and this information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness.   Please consult with your licensed medical practitioner if you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem.



7 Hand Exercises and Stretches for Hand Pain


5 Foods That Strengthen Your Gut Microbiome

Asparagus for Gut Health
Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Maintaining the right balance of these microorganisms is vital for physical and mental health, immunity, and more.
The human body is teeming with trillions of viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Collectively known as microbes, large communities of these ‘bugs’ exist inside your body to support a number of important functions from the moment you are born. The majority of microbes in the human body are found in the cecum, a sort of “pouch” that makes up the first region of the large intestine. However, over the years, people have come to refer to it as the “gut microbiome.”
Babies are first exposed to microbes during delivery when they pass through their mother’s birth canal. Later, as they come in contact with other sources of microbes, such as breast milk, their gut microbiome starts to strengthen and diversify. A diverse microbiome rich with different microbial species is generally considered a good indicator of a healthy gut.
There are more than 1,000 species of bacteria in the gut microbiome. Most of them are ‘good’ and carry out specific tasks to support health, like absorbing nutrients, promoting heart health, and keeping blood sugar under control, among many others. When you have a robust gut microbiome, these good bacteria outnumber harmful bacteria that may trigger unnecessary inflammatory responses and cause disease.
Each person has their own unique gut microbiome, which is, in part, determined by their DNA and other hereditary factors. But fortunately, the foods that you eat also influence your gut microbiome, allowing you to fine-tune the types of bacteria that live inside you so you can look and feel your best.
Here are 5 evidence-based foods that heal and strengthen your gut:


Fermented foods are very hot right now; kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh, kefir, probiotic yogurts… the list goes on and on. Fermenting food brings to life vast colonies of healthy bacteria that are hard to obtain in other ways, and these mighty bugs have myriad health effects, like improving digestion, boosting immunity, and supporting weight loss, among others.
Sauerkraut is, according to many, the crown jewel of fermented foods. The name means sour white cabbage in German, and it has been used for centuries as a means of preserving cabbage and extend its shelf life. It has a distinct tart flavor that emerges from the lactic acid released by bacteria when they ingest the sugars in the cabbage leaves. A spoonful of sauerkraut delivers an even higher dose of probiotics and fiber than most yogurts in the market.
Low in calories and high in essential nutrients, just a cup of this superfood fulfills 35 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and 21 percent of your daily vitamin K needs for a scant 27 calories.


With the rise in popularity of gut health in the world of nutrition, probiotics and prebiotics have become pretty important topics of conversation. Although they sound similar, probiotics and prebiotics play different roles in the body. Put simply, probiotics are the good bacteria that you can find in food or supplements, while prebiotics are a type of fiber that the human body cannot digest, but bacteria can. Essentially, prebiotics are food for friendly bacteria.
Raw garlic is a delicious and accessible prebiotic food loaded with health-promoting compounds like inulin, manganese, selenium, allicin, and sulfur. Research has shown that the inulin in garlic boosts the production of good bacteria in your gut. It also contains antioxidants that may help protect against oxidative stress, a precursor of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.


Another great prebiotic food, asparagus contain high levels of inulin, the dietary fiber that feeds friendly bacteria, promotes digestive health, aids weight loss, and keeps you full longer. Asparagus are also low in calories but pack an impressive, nutritious punch.
A cupful of asparagus will only set you back 40 calories while offering almost as much potassium as a medium-sized banana and 57 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, which is essential for heart health and circulation.


Many of the pickled and fermented foods that we know and love today were invented hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, as a means to preserve food long before there were refrigerators and stabilizers that extended shelf life. That is also how kimchi came about. A traditional Korean dish made with fermented vegetables and varying seasonings like sugar, ginger, spring onions, and chilis, early versions of kimchi can be traced back almost 3,000 years.
Typically, kimchi is made with cabbage, though it is common to include other vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, radishes, beets, and bamboo shoots. It can be eaten fresh, or it can be left to ferment for a few days or weeks – it will become funkier and more acidic the longer it sits.
When left to ferment, the bacterial strain Lactobacillus eats the sugars in the cabbage and turns it into lactic acid, giving kimchi its characteristic tang. This transformation turns kimchi from a spicy, crunchy snack, into a probiotic powerhouse packed with health-boosting bacteria.
Not sure how to eat kimchi? Truth is, you can add it pretty much to anything! But if you still need some ideas, try:

  • Adding it to steamed white rice for a tangy kick
  • Mixing it with pancake batter for savory, crunchy pancakes or waffles
  • Folding it into scrambled eggs for an umami-packed breakfast
  • Eating as is for a funky, gut-friendly snack

Miso Paste (broth, paste, soup, dressing etc.)

Miso is rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, vitamins E, K, and folic acid. Miso is a salty paste made from fermented beans (usually soybeans) that has been a staple ingredient in the Japanese diet for thousands of years. As a fermented food, miso provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that help us to stay healthy, vibrant and happy; good gut health is known to be linked to our overall mental and physical wellness.

Red vs. White Miso

There are many different miso products available, and several varieties of miso available as well. Two of the most common types are red and white.
White miso paste is made from soybeans that have been fermented with a higher percentage of rice. This results in a lighter color and gives the final product a slightly sweeter taste. Red miso, on the other hand, is made from soybeans that have been fermented for longer periods of time, typically with barley or other grains. It tends to have a deep, rich and salty flavor, plus a darker color that ranges from red to brown.


Provided you are not allergic to gluten or sensitive to gluten, sourdough is your best option for gut health if you enjoy eating bread. Made by fermenting the yeast naturally present in flour and water, sourdough is considerably healthier and tastier – than regular white bread because it is easier to digest.
Making your own sourdough starter to bake your own sourdough bread at home is easy. You just need three ingredients: flour, water, and some patience! Watch this short video to learn how to make it.

Foods to skip

Many factors of our modern life can be damaging to our gut microbiome. Having a frequently upset stomach, sleep disturbances, skin rashes or irritation, autoimmune conditions, allergies, and even migraines are just a few ways an unhealthy gut may manifest. Avoid these foods and drinks as much as possible to keep your gut microbiome happy:

  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol and caffeine in excess
  • Red meat
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sugary drinks
  • Sodas and seltzers (including sugar-free)

Incorporating some of these gut-friendly foods into your diet while eliminating others’ will help you maintain the right balance of microorganisms vital to a strong immune system and your overall physical and mental health.

5 Water-Rich Foods to Stay Hydrated in The Heat

Being hydrated is extremely important for your health. When you don’t drink enough water, your body cannot function properly, causing you to experience a host of uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
Dehydration happens when a person loses more fluid than they take in, either through natural processes like sweating and urination, when you have a fever or after a vomiting or diarrhea bout. It is more likely to occur when the weather is warm or during periods of profuse sweating, like during exercise or when you spend too much time sitting in the sun.
Dehydration is one of the most common migraines and headache triggers. Many migraineurs and chronic headache sufferers report that, for them, even the slightest hint of dehydration can spiral into a full-fledge migraine attack within minutes. Fortunately, it is also one of the most easily prevented triggers.
Although summer is almost over, staying adequately hydrated is something we should strive for year-round. Here are five water-rich foods that will help you stay hydrated during summer and beyond:


Water content: 92%
Nothing says summer like eating an ice-cold watermelon wedge sitting by the pool or at the beach. This delicious fruit is almost entirely made of water, and it is very healthy, too. A one-cup (155 grams) serving of watermelon contains about 120 milliliters (or half a cup) of water. And as far as fruits go, it is also one of the lowest in calories, with only 46 calories per cup.
Watermelons also have a number of migraine-friendly nutrients, like vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium, making it the ideal on-the-go snack for migraineurs with food sensitivities.


Water content: 96.7%
Although technically a fruit, cucumbers are often regarded as one of the most hydrating and refreshing vegetables there is. They are also one of the most ancient plant foods ever recorded. Cave excavations and anthropological studies have shown that humans have been growing these water-laden veggies more than 3,000 years for food and medicinal purposes.
Often considered to be a “diet food,” cucumbers are loaded with vitamins and minerals that may offer several health benefits. There is evidence that cucumbers may support:

  • Hydration
  • Bone health
  • Cardiovascular health


Water Content: 96%
We haven’t been fair to lettuce. Fresh, crisp, and crunchy, there is almost no dish that doesn’t go well with a refreshing salad on the side. There are five main types of lettuce: leaf, romaine, crisphead, butterhead, and stem, and each provides different levels of nutrition. Generally speaking, lettuce is very low in calories (only ten calories per cup) but high in fiber, and it also has small amounts of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and K, zinc, and potassium.


Water content: 94%
Some people love it, some hate it, but there’s no denying that these crunchy stalks offer more than a handful of health benefits for very few calories. Just a serving of celery provides almost a third of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, a nutrient closely related to bone health. A cup of celery also has nearly as much potassium as a small banana and packs close to half a cup of water. However, that same cup of celery only contains about 15 calories.
Tip: Don’t toss the leaves! Most of the calcium, vitamin C, and potassium in celery comes from them. Celery leaves don’t store well, so choose stalks with bright, crisp leaves to make sure they are as fresh as possible and eat them right away.


Water content: 94%
Like cucumbers, despite botanically being a fruit, tomatoes are considered a vegetable by most. They are an important source of several key nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, and potassium. But that’s not where their impressive nutritional profile ends. Tomatoes have a water content of nearly 95%, making them one of the most hydrating non-starchy vegetables. They are also packed with an extraordinary antioxidant called lycopene.
Lycopene is a red pigment and antioxidant known for its health benefits. Studies have shown that lycopene’s antioxidant properties can help regulate free radicals in the body, promote heart health, and may even slow down the progression of some types of cancer.
Used in many cuisines around the world, there are countless ways to prepare and eat tomatoes. Raw, baked, and fried are the most popular ways to make them, but if you are in the mood for something new, try:

  • Stuffing them: with cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs.
  • Grilling them: by themselves or in skewers.
  • Pickling them: in boiled pickling brine.
  • Boiling them: to make sweet or savory tomato jam.

More on dehydration

Best Exercise for People with Migraines

You already know that exercise is good for you. Thousands of studies, big and small, have outlined the physical and mental benefits of moving the body to increase the heart rate and burn calories.
For example, regular physical activity can protect you against countless health conditions, like anxiety and depression, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and many types of cancer. At least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, can also help you feel more energized, sleep better, and even boost your sex life. That is unless you suffer from exercise-induced migraines.

Does exercising trigger migraines?

Although we are well-aware of the health benefits of exercising regularly, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows when you are a migraine sufferer trying to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Unfortunately, exercise can trigger migraines and headaches in some people, especially vigorous or high-intensity activities.
There are at least a couple of theories on what causes exercise-induced headaches. One is that intense physical activity dilates blood vessels in the brain, triggering an inflammatory response that can translate into headaches for those with over-excitable pain receptors. Another possibility is that other triggers, such as light and sound sensitivity, hot weather, and dehydration – and not the act of exercising itself – may play a bigger role in exercise migraines than we thought.
Some research studies have looked into the relationship between exercise and migraines with varying results. An analysis looking at the prevalence of exercise-induced migraines among 1207 headache patients found that physical activity was a triggering factor for 22.1 percent of the participants. A smaller study conducted among 129 New Zealand students suggested that 9 percent suffered from headaches after a vigorous workout.

How exercise may help migraines

While some migraine-prone individuals may experience headaches during or after a workout, regular exercise can, ironically, also reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines. That is one of the reasons why people call exercising “nature’s painkiller.” When you are physically active, your body releases endorphins.
Endorphins are the ‘feel-good’ chemicals responsible for that pleasurable sensation you feel after doing something you quite enjoy, like eating a decadent piece of chocolate cake or have a good belly laugh. They are also behind for that pleasantly relaxed feeling you get after working out or the so-called “runner’s high” that keeps you going long after your legs are singing a different tune.
Endorphins act on opiate receptors in your brain to boost pleasure and reduce pain signals. Some studies have even shown that regular exercise and relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation can reduce the frequency of migraines just as effectively as topiramate, a prescription medication used to prevent them.

Best exercises to try if you get migraines


Research shows that people who do yoga as an add-on migraine therapy have fewer and sometimes less intense headaches. A research study published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology with 160 participants found that doing yoga yielded a significant reduction in headaches frequency, duration, and intensity.

Tai Chi

An ancient mind-body practice often described as “meditation in motion,” tai chi is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that has been shown to improve flexibility, strength, and balance, which are important if you experience vestibular symptoms. A randomized controlled trial published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal showed significant positive health effects after 15 weeks of bi-weekly, hour-long tai chi sessions, including reducing the prevalence of headaches.


Walking is probably one of the most underrated exercises, but research shows that doing something so simple as just placing one foot in front of the other can be just as good a workout – if not better – than running and other more intense forms of exercise. While running, swimming, and cycling are more physically demanding, walking is just as effective for improving your cardiovascular health, burning calories, and improving circulation.
If you are prone to exercise-induced headaches but still want to get your daily dose of sweat, walking is a great option. A good start is to take a short 10 to 15-minute walk every day and gradually increase the pace and duration, always paying attention to and avoiding any potential triggers. The most important thing is to make sure you listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself, as that can also trigger a migraine.
Also, when working out, always make sure to:

  • Avoid exercising in hot, humid environments
  • Always warm-up and cool down
  • Stay hydrated


Migraine Awareness Week U.K. Sept 6-12, 2020

Migraine Awareness Week (MAW) is an annual campaign in the United Kingdom to draw attention to migraine, educate the public, increase understanding, and reduce stigma. One out of every 7 people suffers migraine. It is an important public health problem in the UK, associated with very substantial costs.  Increased awareness about the effects of migraines results in better outcomes, increased access to migraine care as well as empowerment and validation for those diagnosed.  There are almost 200,000 migraine attacks every day in the U.K. and migraine sufferers lose 25 million days from work or school each year because of them.  Although it is the third most common disease in the world, affecting an estimated one in seven people globally, migraine remains underdiagnosed and undertreated.  For more information and support for migraines and headaches in the U.K., visit the links below.

To get involved with MAW, increase awareness, or join a meetup… visit the Migraine Trust’s Migraine Awareness Week page.

Organizations concerned with migraines and headaches in the U.K.

The Migraine Trust, a charity which supports sufferers, educates healthcare professionals and funds research into migraine and other headaches.
The National Migraine Center, the only national charity in the UK that offers treatment and support for migraine sufferers without the need for a GP referral.
The British Association for the Study of Headache, a national organization focused on raising the profile of headache and its surrounding issues.
OUCH, an organization focused on raising public awareness of Cluster Headaches, and offering support and guidance to sufferers.
The International Headache Society, a world-wide organisation for those with a professional commitment to headache, publishes the international headache journal ‘Cephalalgia.’
Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK (TNA UK), a charity providing information and support while raising awareness of TN within the medical community and general public.
European Headache Alliance (EHA): Advocating for the rights and needs of the 80 million people in Europe living with a headache disorder.
European Headache Federation (EHF): Improving awareness of headache disorders and their impact among governments, health care providers and consumers across Europe.
To the Best of Health,
The MigreLief Team at Akeso Health Sciences
Help for children's migraines

How to Prevent Muscle Loss Due to Aging and Retain Youthful Appearance and Performance

It is an established fact that both men and women lose muscle and experience increased body fat percentages as they age.  Muscle mass makes us look slimmer, better toned, and allows us to perform better physically.  Experts agree that the imbalance that leads to muscle loss begins around age 50, although some studies suggest it might start earlier.  While it is important for middle-aged and older adults to stay active and eat properly to maintain muscle mass, it is also very important for young adults to get a jump on their health to preserve muscle strength over time. Working out and weight training helps to retain or even add muscle mass, but this will only happen if enough protein is consumed.
It’s important that we eat enough protein each day to cover our body’s needs and maintain muscle mass, especially as we age. Protein helps your body to maintain a proper fluid balance, builds and repairs tissues, transports nutrients, and provides other essential functions.  Each protein is made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Because the body cannot store amino acids, it must get a regular supply from the diet.
The U.S. government’s RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is less than ideal and you will fall short if you follow it.
A good general guideline is for women to consume approximately 75 grams per day and for men to consume approximately 100 grams per day.  You can double each of those amounts if you consistently engage in heavy exercising.  Not only will this help you avoid the loss of lean muscle mass as you age (sarcopenia), but consuming the right amount of protein will also help with controlling weight and appetite.
protein and muscle mass

Lean meats like chicken or turkey breast are excellent sources of protein.  For those of you who like smoothies or shakes, adding 25 grams of protein powder to your shake from a source like whey protein is a good choice.  Whey protein has also been found to enhance immune function.
Protein Before and After a Workout
The evidence from research is mixed when it comes to consuming protein before or after a workout for best absorption and muscle gain.  Many experts suggest you should consume protein within a certain window of time. such as within 2 hours of a workout.   
For muscle and fitness gains, the timing is not as important as the overall amount of protein you consume in a day.
When it comes to consuming adequate amounts of protein, variety is important to ensure you get all the essential amino acids your body needs. Some foods that are high in protein, with all essential amino acids, include:

  • Three ounces of skinless chicken – 28 grams
  • Three ounces of steak – 26 grams
  • Three ounces of turkey – 25 grams
  • Three ounces of tuna or salmon – 22 grams
  • Three ounces of shrimp – 20 grams
  • Six ounces of Greek yogurt – 18 grams
  • Four ounces of one percent fat cottage cheese – 14 grams
  • One ounce of soy nuts – 12 grams

Nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein as a one-ounce serving has between four and seven grams of protein.  There is also a variety of plant-based protein on the market today:
Resource Link:  Protein Content of Common Foods PDF 
Popular plant-based proteins include:
Quinoa – an ancient grain that looks similar to couscous but has a crunch texture and nutty flavor. It is a great rice substitute and can be added to many dishes or salads.  More about quinoa.
1 cup of cooked quinoa = 8 grams of protein. It is also a good source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and fiber.
Tofu, tempeh, and edamame (derived from soybeans)
Tempeh is much chewier and nuttier than tofu and made from fermented soybeans, which are often combined with other seeds and grains to form a firm, dense cake.
3 oz of tempeh = 11 grams of protein). Also a good source of fiber, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk pressed into white blocks and comes in a variety of textures from soft to firm. It is a little bland in taste and picks up the flavor of the foods with which it’s cooked.
3 oz tofu = 8 grams of protein.
Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans, usually steamed or boiled, and can be eaten as a snack or mixed with salads, soups, and grain bowls.
1/2 cup of edamame = 11 grams of protein. Also a great source of fiber, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.
Amaranth – a great gluten-free grain alternative. It is a grain that can be boiled and eaten as porridge or a side dish. Adds texture to salads or granola bars.
1 cup cooked = 9 grams protein. Ground into a flour, it can be used for gluten-free baking.
Buckwheat – a grain whose hulled kernels or groats can be cooked as you would oatmeal.
1 cup cooked = 6 grams protein. Also a good source of essential minerals, including phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron.
Ezekiel Bread – made from sprouted whole grains and legumes including barley, soybeans, wheat, lentils, millet and spelt.
2 slices of bread = 8 grams of protein.
Spirulina – blue-green algae and supplement that can be consumed in tablet form or powder to be easily added to smoothies, soups, salads, or granola bars.
1 tablespoon = 7 grams of protein.
Chia Seeds – tiny black or white seeds that can absorb liquid and form a gel-like substance. May be used to make puddings or jams or as an egg substitute for vegan cooking. Seeds can also be used raw as a topping for oatmeal or salads, and mixed into baked goods or added to smoothies.
2 tablespoons = 4 grams of protein. Also a good source of omega-3s, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.
Rice and Beans – Good to eat together. Combined they contain all 9 essential amino acids. 1 cup = 12 grams of protein ( and 10 grams of fiber).
Pita and Hummus – a popular middle eastern dish, pita bread combined with hummus (a dip made from chickpeas) is a delicious snack or appetizer.
1 round pita bread plus 2 tablespoons of hummus = 7 grams of protein.
Peanut Butter – a popular lunch sandwich, contains 14 grams of protein (two slices of whole wheat bread + 2 tablespoons of peanut butter).
Remember protein plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of every cell in our bodies. It fuels our cells and powers our bodies.  Consider some of the options above to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet.  It is also important to watch your calories, sugar, and salt intake for overall good health
The best way to stay strong and limit muscle loss over time is to stay physically active throughout your entire life.  Nevertheless, if you have been sedentary and have lost strength, the answer is still to stay active and exercise. Both aerobic and strength-training exercises will improve muscle health and muscle mass.  If you are just starting a new regimen, go slow and never overdo it.
Weight-Resistance Training
One of the most common recommendations fitness experts provide is to do some type of weight lifting or other weight-resistance training.  A weight-lifting program three to four times a week should be geared for your level of training and current strength so you can slowly build your strength without injury.  If you’re new to weight lifting, you must proceed with caution to avoid hurting yourself. Talk to your doctor before embarking on a new workout regimen, and consider working with a fitness professional to help you develop a program that helps you gain strength and get the best results without putting you at risk for injury.
Go for Walks (aerobic activity)
Keep active by going on regular walks.   Walking and moving a little more each day helps you apply positive stress to the systems in your body, including your bones, cardiovascular system, and muscles. Walking will help you keep your muscles active so you slow down the atrophy that comes with a more sedentary lifestyle.
Eating healthy and a little exercise every day can lead to big results over time.  You may not feel results for several weeks so be patient and keep up the good work.