How can we modify our diet to help prevent migraine headaches?


Dr. Amaal Starling of the Mayo Clinic shares that the secret of migraine control through diet is to be consistent. Avoid peaks and valleys in blood sugar by eating frequently and eating healthy foods with a lower glycemic index.


“Just talking about how to modify your diet in general so that we can prevent migraine and so that we can engage in those lifestyle changes to empower yourself against migraine is about making sure that things are consistent. You do not want peaks and valleys in your blood sugar. Rather than eating three large meals throughout the day, I encourage individuals to eat six small meals throughout the day. Rather than eating foods that will cause your blood sugars to be very high and very low throughout the day you
want to eat things that have a lower glycemic index so that your blood sugar remains stable throughout the day. You don't want to fast and then eat lots of food and then fast and eat lots of food, because again, that's inconsistent and the key here is consistency. So, that's the most important part about the eating regular healthy meals.”


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Amaal J. Starling, MD, FAHS, FAAN

Mayo Clinic, Arizona

Dr. Amaal J. Starling is an associate professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She joined Mayo in 2012 and is currently a consultant within the department of neurology. Dr. Starling received her MD from the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She completed a transitional year residency, a neurology residency, and a headache fellowship at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dr. Starling is an active member of numerous migraine advocacy organizations, including the American Headache Society (AHS), the American Migraine Foundation, the American Pain Society, and the American Academy of Neurology. Annually, she is involved in events supporting migraine, including Headache on the Hill, Miles for Migraine, and the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. Dr. Starling is currently serving as chair of the advocacy committee of the AHS; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce member of the AHS; and she is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Concussion Society. Dr. Starling has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the AHS Above and Beyond Award for Service, Manfred D. Muenter Award for Excellence in Clinical Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting Residency Scholarship, the 2012 Spirit of Mayo Clinic Award, and the Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship Award.

Dr. Starling has several peer-reviewed publications and abstracts related to her fields of interest, which include migraine, concussion, post-traumatic headache, trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, secondary headaches, telemedicine and teleconcussion, neurology resident education, and professionalism and clinical ethics. Dr. Starling’s hope is that her research and advocacy will advance care for people with migraine, post-traumatic headache, and other headache disorders. She envisions a future in which all people with headache disorders receive personalized, effective, and well-tolerated treatment options to improve their quality of life.

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