Migraine and its relationship with dietary habits in women

Fatemeh Nazari, Maryam Eghbali


  • Background: Migraine is defined as a chronic disabling condition which influences all physical, mental, and social dimensions of quality of life. Some 12-15% of the world population suffers from migraine. The disease is more common among women. The onset, frequency, duration, and severity of migraine attacks may be affected by other predisposing factors including nutrition. Therefore, determining these factors can greatly assist in identification and development of its prevention. Considering the importance of nutrition in maintaining and promoting health and preventing diseases, the present study was conducted to determine the relationship between headaches and nutritional habits (frequency and type of consumed foods) of women suffering from migraine.
  • Materials and Methods: This analytical case-control study was conducted on 170 women (in two groups of 85) selected by convenient sampling for the case group and random sampling for the control group. Data collection tool was a 3-section questionnaire including personal information, headache features, and nutritional habits. The questionnaire was completed in an interview performed by the researcher. The data was then analyzed in SPSS using descriptive statistical tests (frequency distribution, mean, and standard deviation) and inferential tests (chi-square, independent t, Mann-Whitney, and Spearman's correlation tests).
  • Findings: The results demonstrated a significant relationship between headache and some food items including proteins, carbohydrates, fat, fruits and vegetables. To be more precise, there were significant relationships between headaches and the frequency of consumption of red meat (p = 0.01), white meat (p = 0.002), cereals (p = 0.0005), vegetables (p = 0.009), fruits (p = 0.0005), salad dressing (p = 0.03), and eggs (p = 0.001). Moreover, a significant relationship existed between headache and type of consumed oil, meat, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables (p < 0.05).
  • Conclusions: It is necessary to put more emphasis on the significance of correcting dietary patterns in order to prevent headache attacks and reduce the complications arising from drug consumption in migraine patients. Social and economical efficiency of the patients will thus be enhanced.
  •  Keywords: Migraine, dietary habits, headache, women

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