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According to the National Headache Foundation, about 30 million Americans suffer from migraines. These headaches can feel like there is a pounding or throbbing pain in your head, which can affect your vision and render you confined to your bed for hours or days.


While there are a range of medications that can help, there are also lifestyle changes that can help manage migraines. Common triggers for migraines and headaches include your diet, nutrient levels, sleep, hydration and stress. Here are some suggestions:


Eat more often

This does not mean adding more food to your meals, but eating small, frequent meals throughout the day. Aim to increase your intake of fruits, veggies and lean proteins.


Watch for dietary triggers

Caffeine can be a headache trigger or inhibitor. To limit your chances of caffeine triggering a headache, limit your intake to about 200 milligrams per day, or about three cups of regular drip coffee per day. Other foods to avoid include artificial sweeteners and MSG, as well as nitrates found in deli meats, hot dogs and pepperoni. Common dietary triggers can also be found in aged cheeses, fermented and pickled foods, alcohol and chocolate.


Get the right amount of nutrients

There is a link between nutritional deficiencies and migraines. To prevent migraines, it is important that you get the right levels of key nutrients such as riboflavin and magnesium. You may want to discuss with your doctor any supplements that will reduce symptoms and deliver the right amount of nutrients to your body on a daily basis.


Manage your stress levels

Making changes to your lifestyle to manage stress can lower the severity and frequency of your migraines. Incorporating integrative approaches such as meditation, yoga, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy can decrease the impact of stress on the body.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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