It is estimated that migraines affect 10 percent of people worldwide. That’s a pretty high number, considering the severe discomfort and inconvenience a migraine can cause; these headaches can be debilitating! There are many pharmaceutical drugs that are designed to prevent migraines, or that are used to manage the pain and other symptoms, but you may be wondering if black gram can help in any way. Let’s look at some interesting facts!
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is an intense throbbing or pulsing headache, often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and also a heightened sensitivity to noises and light.
These attacks can begin with certain warning signs like blind spots or flashes in vision, lagging speech, or tingling sensations on an arm, leg, or the face. Once a migraine begins, it’s in no hurry to leave. The duration can range from a couple hours to a few days!
What Causes Migraines?
Although migraines and their cause are somewhat of a mystery, there are some things that can possibly bring them on, or make them more frequent if they are already occurring; these are called triggers. Some of these common triggers include:
- Extremes in Sleep – Getting too little or too much sleep.
- Hormonal Changes – Particularly in women, fluctuations in estrogen that occur during menstruation, etc.
- Alcohol – Red wine, or any alcoholic beverage.
- Caffeine – The initial intake of caffeine, and also the caffeine withdrawal.
- Mental/Emotional Stress – Relationship problems, job responsibilities, worry and anxiety in general.
- Physical Stress – Working out, sports, or other exertions.
- Sensory Overloads – Loud noises, bright lights, strong smells.
- Barometric Pressure – Sudden weather fluctuations like a storm rolling in.
- Medications – Pharmaceuticals that affect hormones such as contraceptives, and vasodilators that dilate blood vessels.
- Foods – Strongly flavored foods such as aged cheeses, or additives like monosodium glutamate, or fasting (foregoing food altogether for a certain amount of time).
Another possible cause that is harder to avoid is genetics. Studies have found that there may be a genetic predisposition to migraines, but the particulars of the genetic influence are still being researched.
There is a large selection of medications and drugs that are used to ease the discomfort and onset of migraine headaches. These can be simple pain reducers like ibuprofen or prescription medications including antidepressants and narcotics. Unfortunately, many of these medications are accompanied by additional side effects, for example:
- Low Blood Pressure
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown itself to be a useful prevention technique for those who react to the medications. The CBT treatments involve retraining the brain, through counseling, to process stress and difficult situations in a more positive way. This helps to reduce the occurrence of migraines brought on by depression, stress, and anxiety.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Help with Migraines?
The American Migraine Foundation created the acronym SEEDS to emphasize beneficial habits that aid in the management and prevention of migraines. The acronym stands for sleep, exercise, eat, diary (keeping track), and stress (stress prevention). Keeping these five things under control can make a big difference for those who experience migraines.
How Can Black Gram Help?
Black gram can definitely play a part in the lifestyle changes mentioned above! It provides many nutrients that help us to accomplish the desired goals of good sleep, adequate exercise, proper diet, and coping with stress.
It has been found that many people who suffer from migraines tend to have lower amounts of magnesium. This important mineral helps our bodies relax, and is also used as a sleeping aid. One 100 g serving of black gram contains 67% of the recommended daily value of magnesium!
Antioxidants are also helpful in relieving stress and anxiety — as noted above, a common trigger for migraines.
Studies have shown that diets low in fat and cholesterol can minimize the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraines. This makes black gram a great protein option for migraine-sufferers because it has a very low amount of fat and no cholesterol at all!
There seems to be a correlation between iron deficiency and migraines in women. When migraines and iron deficiency were both present, studies revealed that increasing dietary iron helped alleviate the migraines. Fortunately, black gram has an amazing amount of iron! A 100 g serving of black gram will give you 7.57 mg of iron; that’s 95% of the recommended daily value!
There has been a significant increase in recent research on the relationship between the digestive system and the brain; the so-called the “gut-brain axis“. These preliminary studies indicate that a healthy digestive system will result in a healthier brain, and reduce the incidents of migraines.
Specifically, in one study, an increase in fiber was found to significantly reduce the number of migraines suffered by the study participants. Black gram is a great source of fiber, with 18.3 g per serving!
Black Gram is On Your Side!
As always, we have found that black gram can indeed rise to the challenge when we need some dietary help. That’s why black gram has been valued as a medicinal food in India for centuries. Try it out! You’re sure to find some way to add it to your weekly meal plan. And if you have any other questions or comments, feel free to contact us today!
Disclaimer: While we believe in black gram, and the power of black gram as a part of your healthy diet, neither black gram nor the statements made herein have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our black gram products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.