“Four days a month really surpass anything that we have seen of pharmacological prevention so far,” said Dr. Burch, a specialist in headache medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Burch said that people struggling with migraine headaches are often motivated to follow restrictive diets in an attempt to find relief for their condition. But until now there hasn’t been much evidence that any particular diet works. “This is the first time we’ve had a robust, solid diet that we can recommend to patients,” she added.
For people who want to try the diet for themselves, the researchers said the easiest way to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake is to add more oily fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, and trout meal. Some of the best and cheapest options are canned and bagged fish. For vegetarians, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are good vegetable sources of omega-3 fats.
Another important part of the diet is avoiding fried, processed, and fast foods, which are typically made with oils that are low in omega-3s and high in omega-6s. Beth MacIntosh, a co-author of the new study, said that extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil, and butter all tend to have low amounts of omega-6 fats.
You can use these oils to prepare meals or make your own snacks like popcorn, hummus, and granola. The researchers also encouraged study participants to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
“Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in omega-6s – and they’re just plain healthy,” said Ms. MacIntosh, clinical nutrition manager for the Metabolic & Nutrition Research Core at UNC Health in Chapel Hill.