Fact or Fiction: Can Almonds Cure a Headache?

Can Almonds Help with Headaches?

The Science Behind Almonds and Headaches

We all suffer from headaches at one time or another. However, the frequency and intensity of headaches vary from person to person, and everyone has his or her own remedy for relief. From small headaches to full-on migraines, anyone trying to get relief knows that some remedies work and some don’t. Since headaches and migraines occur for numerous reasons, everyone seeks out different ways to ease throbbing. With an abundance of medications, home remedies, and supplements from which to choose, some people may still not be able to find relief for their pounding heads. It has been speculated that for some, headaches and migraines can be lessened by eating a particular snack that tastes delicious and has many additional health benefits—almonds!

Almonds are well-known to be rich in benefits for our body. Containing salicin – an anti-inflammatory agent and an ingredient in aspirin, magnesium, and vitamin E – almonds may be linked to easing headaches and migraines and possibly even preventing them. Some people who suffer from migraines have lower levels of magnesium than people who do not have migraines, and several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels of magnesium,” according to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s website. Since almonds are rich in magnesium, eating this nut may stop a migraine or prevent future ones. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that in a study done to test the effectiveness of magnesium in reducing migraines, the results found that “people who took magnesium reduce[d] the frequency of [migraine] attacks by 41.6% compared to 15.8% in those who took placebo.” Magnesium also helps to relax muscles and lessen nerve excitability, which may help those whose headaches are due to stress or tension.

Vitamins also play a crucial role. Almonds are actually high in vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin), and a study found that “59 percent of participants slashed migraine frequency by half after taking 400 milligrams of [vitamin B2],” Reader’s Digest explains. It was found that, out of those who took a placebo, only “15 percent of them reported fewer migraine[s],” Reader’s Digest goes on to explain. The people in the study took the vitamin B2 to help lessen their migraines, but it is thought that eating almonds might help lower your chances of getting a migraine.

Verdict: Fiction. Almonds as a headache relief are still up for debate. While it is proven that magnesium and vitamin B2 is beneficial for preventing migraines, almonds may not be as effective by themselves. In fact, for some people, almonds can actually trigger a migraine. It is important to talk to your doctor as well as to monitor how you feel after you eat almonds, as some people may be allergic to the salicin in almonds. For those who want to give almonds a try for their headaches, it is recommended to eat 10-12 almonds a day in order to help prevent headaches and migraines.

How do you get over a migraine?


All images via Thinkstock


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