Eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to fewer migraines – how to eat more of them

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If you’re unlucky enough to have regular migraines that make you curl up in a dark room and avoid lights and noise, you’ve probably already spent a good deal of your time Googling how best to do them can alleviate.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for migraines, but new research suggests that eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce their frequency.

The small study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), included 182 people who had migraines five to 20 days a month and found that consuming more polyunsaturated fatty acids reduced the debilitating headache by two to four could reduce per month.

Omega-3s have also been linked to lower blood pressure, better heart health, and a reduction in problems like depression and anxiety – but the tricky part is that our bodies can’t make them from scratch.

Because of this, we need to make sure we get enough of it from food sources. Here are a handful to consider …

1. Look for fish

According to the NHS, we should all aim to eat two servings of fish each week, including one serving of oily fish. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovy, and sardines contain good amounts of EPA and DHA – long chain omega-3 fatty acids.

When you eat this type of fish, your body synthesizes compounds called resolvins and protectins from the marine fatty acid. These important compounds can reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which scientists say are the cause of many diseases and health conditions.

Oily fish doesn’t have to be an expensive addition to your diet either, as you can easily add dose variations to salads and sandwiches.

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2. Sprinkle some flax seeds

You don’t have to eat seafood to get access to omega-3s. While EPA and DHA are mainly derived from animal foods, ALA is another type that is mainly found in plants.

Flaxseed is a powerful plant source of “good” fats that can provide health benefits. They are wonderful to stir into porridge, add to smoothies or sprinkle on a vegan power bowl.

3. Snack on walnuts

Walnuts are another food source of ALA that many people overlook. They’re great as an afternoon snack, or you can chop them up and sprinkle them over salads, yogurt, or even stews and Bolognese.

Walnuts can often be expensive, but shop at budget supermarkets like Lidl, Aldi, and Asda, which sell packs of nuts at a much cheaper price than many health food stores.

4. Take a daily supplement

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, it’s worth noting that the body needs to convert the ALA from nuts and seeds through a chain of chemical reactions to EPA and DHA in order to achieve the same health benefits as fish.

Unfortunately, this process isn’t as effective as consuming omega-3s straight from animal sources, as studies suggest that most people have a small amount (less than 10%) of the ALA they ingest in EPA and DHA convert.

For this reason, you should consider taking a health supplement to make sure you are getting enough. Traditional omega-3 supplements are made with fish oil, but there are many vegan varieties on the market that contain flaxseed oil, seaweed, and seaweed instead.

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