A photo of a a bunch of French fries at the bottom of a bag. Can fried food like this lead to migraines? A new study looks at the issue.

According to a new study, adults with chronic migraines should consider eliminating fried foods from their diet, the New York Times reports. It’s a compelling correlation considering that 35 million Americans – most of them between the ages of 35 and 45 – have debilitating headaches, while an estimated 25-36% of North American adults eat fast food (which is often fried) every day. consume.

Food such as french fries, potato chips and fried chicken fall under the term “omega-6 fatty acids” because they are usually fried in vegetable oil. Omega-6 fats aren’t all bad for you (they’re found in eggs, peanut butter, and tofu), but Americans get way too much of them and usually in their most unhealthy form. Plus, these diet choices often come at the expense of omega-3 fats – most commonly found in avocados, fish, and spinach – which have shown a number of benefits, from slowing plaque development in the arteries to increasing cognitive function.

Researchers commissioned by the National Institutes of Health based their study on finding the ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Historically, people suffering from chronic headaches have been forced to rely on “healthy remedies” such as getting enough sleep, avoiding triggers, and limiting stress. (As if it were that simple.) Meanwhile, migraine medications have a number of unhelpful side effects, including fatigue, weight gain, and nausea. Your question was simple: Could optimizing your fatty acid intake possibly help in the fight against migraines?

The answer is yes. When analyzing data from three groups of volunteers over 16 weeks, the researchers found that those who prioritized consumption of omega-3 fats while limiting omega-6 fats could expect four fewer “headache days” per month . It’s a pretty amazing finding when you consider that migraineurs can spend several days in recovery after their episode. It could amount to over 50 days per year of relief. And even when these volunteers had a headache, the logs reported a 30-40% reduction in the length of each episode.

On the surface, this isn’t that surprising – think how you feel after a salmon salad versus a plate of chicken and fries. Even people who don’t have migraines have an acute need to lie down after eating crappy food. But scientifically, it appears that switching to an omega-3 forward diet increases the production of oxylipins in the blood, a compound known to relieve pain. This is one of the reasons this research is only the tip of the iceberg. If diet can have a positive effect on a pain-related condition like migraines, then maybe it could … relieve back pain?

There is no reason not to try it out for yourself. Even if your physical pain doesn’t go away after the change, you can still expect improvements in blood counts, more energy to exercise, and a leaner waistline when all is said and done. As the New York Times suggests: “[Aim for] fatty fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna and trout. ”Combine everything with vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains. You don’t have to ban french fries for life, but the fact remains, if you leave them out, you can live longer.

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