3 Simple Smoothies for Headaches and Migraine Relief
Many of us have experienced migraines or at the very least bad headaches at some point.
While we can’t always control the many internal and external causes of headaches, there are natural (and delicious) remedies worth trying so you don’t always have to reach for painkillers.
In this guide we provide tips on natural headache remedies, foods that support headache relief, and provide 3 delicious smoothie recipes for combating migraines.
Table of Contents
Natural Headache Remedies
There are many natural ways to fight off headaches and migraines. Consider trying one of these treatments, or combining a few of them for maximum benefit.
Acupressure is a remedy that’s been used for thousands of years in China to help relax the body and treat disease.
It’s known to relieve pain by applying pressure to the acupoints of the body. A detailed study found that participants with chronic migraines who were treated with acupuncture showed noticeable improvements in pain relief and reduction in the number of migraines.
Harvard medical also discusses that “individual large-scale clinical studies have consistently demonstrated that acupuncture provided better pain relief compared with usual care. ”
Give Compressions a Try
Some people find that placing cold compresses on their head and neck soothes pain and headaches.
The way this works is that when you apply cold compresses, this constricts blood vessels and reduces inflammation, resulting in a noticeable reduction of pain.
Research showed that the application of a frozen neck wrap significantly reduced pain in migraine patients.
It’s important to realize that this may not work for everyone. Make sure you consult your doctor if you have skin issues, circulatory problems, or if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Yoga is known to improve overall wellness and health. It dramatically helps with improving deep breathing and tension relief in the body.
A 2014 study found that headache intensity and frequency was reduced in people who practiced yoga. Research has found that yoga improved the autonomic balance or the cardiac system. Disruptions in the regulation of the circulatory system and autonomic nervous system are associated with migraines. The chances of a migraine are reduced if balance is restored.
Although there is not conclusive evidence to prove that yoga can be a primary migraine treatment, studies show that it does truly help with the symptoms of headaches and migraines, and can be used as a complementary therapy (1,2).
Use Essential Oils
Lavender and peppermint oil are widely used as natural remedies. The menthol in peppermint is a safe and tolerable option for relieving pain according to a study conducted with 35 patients and 118 migraine attacks.
Lavender oil is used to aid in better sleep, reduces stress and anxiety and may be effective in treating headaches.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep too little and you get headaches, sleep too much and guess what? headaches again! (1)
Get the right amount of sleep and you’ll feel a huge difference. Usually, 7-9 hours is best for most people.
Use Natural Ingredients
Magnesium is an essential mineral that has countless benefits. Studies show that magnesium is very effective in relieving headaches and migraine pains.
Take a B-Complex Vitamin
A B-complex vitamin has all 8 of the B vitamins. Some studies show that Vitamin B helps in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines and headaches.
The good thing about Vitamin B is that it’s water soluble, so any excess of it is excreted rather than stored in the body.
Take Some Ginger
Ginger is one of the natural ingredients that do wonders in relieving migraine pain. When it was compared to sumatriptan (a medication used in the treatment of migraines), the study results showed that ginger had similar results, but even came with a better side effects profile.
What’s great about ginger is that it comes in different forms. You can buy it fresh from your grocery store or you can take in the form of powder, tablets, capsules, tea bags, or essential oil.
Probably the simplest and proven headache solution is to drink more water yet many people don’t. Most of us actually forget to drink water during the day which causes dehydration. Dehydration is bad news for the body, especially for those who experience migraines and headaches.
Make sure you drink lots of water during the day to avoid this common migraine trigger. You can easily see if you are drinking enough water by the color of your urine. If it is dark or pungent then you are not drinking enough.
Try Pain Relieving Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to include minerals, vitamins, and water in your diet. They are a simple way to naturally detox your body.
But what makes smoothies special? Why can’t you just eat the whole food instead?
Think of it this way, in a smoothie you can combine as many healthy ingredients as you want, without having to compromise taste! It is hard to imagine eating a banana, with a side of raw spinach and ginger tea altogether, right? A smoothie allows you to do that though.
Another plus point is that smoothies allow you to take in those ingredients in the form of a liquid, which can make it easier and faster for your body to digest and absorb nutrients.
Disclaimer: Below are some popular foods with dietary nutrients that support headache relief. Keep in mind though that people may have different sensitivities to certain foods which can also trigger migraines so keep track of what you eat and adjust if necessary.
If you truly want your smoothie to be effective in soothing your headache and migraine symptoms, here are some good choices :
- Consider magnesium rich ingredients like kale and spinach. Whole grains are also an amazing source of magnesium. Quinoa and oats are examples of whole grains that you can incorporate in your smoothie.
- Chia and flax seeds are a smart option too, they’re rich in magnesium, iron, omega-3 acids and antioxidants.
- Add honey and ginger whether fresh or powder form to get the benefit of their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Try to include ingredients with high water content to keep your body hydrated like cucumbers, watermelons, and strawberries.
Proper Diet for Chronic Migraine Sufferers
For those that deal with chronic migraines or are very sensitive to various foods then a good resource for resetting your diet is the Migraine Diet which is created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The Migraine Diet is a vegan-based eating plan created to minimize and prevent migraine pain. It is comprised using the most “pain safe” foods for migraine sufferers. These foods include:
- Cooked or steamed green vegetables (collards, spinach, broccoli, and Swiss chard).
- Cooked steamed orange vegetables (sweet potatoes and carrots).
- Cooked or steamed yellow vegetables (summer squash).
- Dried or cooked non-citrus fruits – cranberries, prunes, cherries, pears (avoid bananas, citrus fruits, apples, peaches, and tomatoes).
- Water (avoid soda, coffee, and tea).
- Condiments (vanilla extract, maple syrup, and small amounts of salt).
- Brown rice (white rice is also fine).
If you are looking to reset your diet then here are the 12 most common “Migraine Trigger” foods to remove from your diet: dairy, chocolate, eggs, citrus, meat, wheat, nuts, peanuts, tomatoes, onions, corn, apples, bananas.
Best Smoothie Recipes for Headache Relief
NOTE: As mentioned above, some migraine sufferers can be sensitive to citrus and bananas so substitute out those ingredients below if needed. (For example use Avocado instead of banana)
1. Green Cleanse
This detox green smoothie will naturally support migraine relief and help cleanse the body.
- 1/2 cup cucumber
- 1 cup kale
- 1/2 stalk celery
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 1 1/2 cups coconut water
- 3 TBSP lemon juice
- Optional – add a couple ice cubes to cool it down.
2. Banana And Oat Tropical Smoothie
This delicious migraine friendly smoothie has numerous anti-inflammatory ingredients as well as spinach which is rich in magnesium.
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 banana peeled (Don’t use really ripe bananas)
- 1/4 cup of raw oats
- 1 cup of coconut milk
Key Ingredient: banana, spinach, and oats.
Note : Some migraine sufferers are sensitive to bananas so substitute banana with avocado. If you use avocado then add in 1 tbsp of maple syrup for sweetness since you removed the banana.
3. Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
This simple and tasty recipe from Migraine Again is healthy and sure to please any picky eater.
- 3/4 cup rice milk
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 2 Tablespoon whole oats
- 1.5 Tablespoon cashew butter
- 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Do you have a favorite remedy for coping with headaches ? We would love to hear it, please share in the comments below.