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HeadWay, Issue #145 -- Juices and Smoothies - Headache Fighters?
August 20, 2016

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In this issue:

Juices and Smoothies - Headache Fighters?

More recent articles from Headache and Migraine News

Say what?! Juice Fast

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Juices and Smoothies - Headache Fighters?

Juicing. Smoothies. Fad? Or Fabulous?

If you've watched the popular documentary, Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, you may remember a woman named Siong Norte from Iowa, USA. Suffering from migraine, Siong was convinced to try a 10 day "juice fast". Fresh bread, coffee, ribs - all out the window for 10 days.

Afterwards she found her headaches gone, and her overall health improved. She continued juicing even after the fast.

The story is not unique. A lot of people are claiming that juices and/or smoothies have changed their lives. Another person inspired by the same program, Rebecca, shares the following benefits: Acne cleared up. Mental clarity. Amazing energy that lasts all day. Better memory function. Cleared up chronic pains: back, knee, menstrual cramps, migraines. Maintained weight loss.

So - is this something you should try?

For most people, there's no doubt that a diet high in vegetables and fruit (in that order, of course) is good for their health. The list of benefits from a variety of fresh foods is almost endless.

But, is it actually better to drink juice than to just eat fruits and vegetables? Could there actually be some drawbacks to juicing?

For someone with headaches, there are certain things you need to watch out for.

1. Keep the fibre (fiber). A juicer is designed to get rid of the fibre, but your body needs that too. Some people save the fibre/pulp, adding some back into the juice and using the rest for cooking (yummy in a soup!). This is a good option, but you may actually have a healthier drink just by using your blender and keeping all the fibre in the drink.

2. Sugar! If your smoothie or juice is mostly fruit, watch out. There's a whole lot of sugar in there. That means weight gain - yes, from juice! And of course the other dangers of having too much sugar in your diet. This also leads to #3...

3. Drastic changes = Migraine Attacks People with migraine disease in particular have trouble with major changes in the body. A sudden change of schedule - a spike in sugar - could bring on the migraine attack. If you're doing a "juice fast", expect some major headaches early on. For the long term, keeping it steady - making smoothies a regular (but not extreme) part of your diet - is a better option than having 27 cups one week and nothing the next.

4. Food safety - drink it right away. Making a lot of juice and saving it might seem like a good option, but it's not a good idea.

Do these warnings mean you should avoid juices and smoothies? No, certainly not. If you're having trouble getting lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet, and making smoothies sounds like fun (it is, actually), it actually can change your life.

Here are some quick tips on the positive side:
  • The greener the better: Ideally, you should have a majority of veggies in your smoothies, with some fruit for added flavour. Spinach, broccoli, kale - yum!
  • Keep the fibre in: Make a smoothie in the blender, or add the pulp from your juicer back in.
  • Watch out for migraine triggers: Different for everyone, but common culprits include citrus fruits, bananas, and anything overripe.
  • Delicious additions: For a more balanced smoothie, try adding oats, peanut butter (unless peanuts are a trigger for you!), flax meal, or coconut oil
  • Don't overdo it!: Make this a part of an overall healthy diet, don't go to extremes one day and then have no veggies for two weeks.
  • Start slow: If you want to make smoothies and juices a major part of your diet, go for it. But you'll probably avoid some major (literal) headaches if you start slow. One small glass the first day, working your way up to the level you want to keep up over the course of a week or two.
For more on the above mentioned juice fast ("Reboot"), with some ideas for migraine patients, check out The Mighty Migraine

A couple of articles with some wise advice: Juicing for Health and Weight Loss and Juicing: How Healthy Is It?

Also, don't miss: Sugar and Migraines?

More recent articles from Headache and Migraine News

Say what?! Juice Fast

Juice fasts are pretty much what they sound like - drinking only juice and water for a limited period of time. People do juice fasts for all kinds of reasons - to "detox", or lose weight.

Your body already does a pretty good job of detoxing (better to avoid some of those toxins in the first place!), and just how much a fast like this will help with your weight long term is questionable.

But that's not to say juice fasts are without value. It is wise, however, to count the cost, and check with your doctor.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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