More Greens for Fewer Migraines

Unless you have suffered from migraines, it can be easy to write them off as just headaches. However, a migraine is more serious than that headache you get when the kids are too noisy or you skip your daily cup of coffee. Migraines can be an expensive and debilitating problem.

New research shows that eating foods high in folate, like leafy green vegetables, reduces the frequency of migraines. The study was conducted last year by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia, who found that women who ate more folate had fewer migraines.

The QUT study looked at 141 women who suffered from migraines, and examined the relationship between their folate intake and their migraine symptoms. The researchers found that there was a significant relationship in the amount of folate a woman received from foods and her migraine symptoms.

There have been previous studies showing that folic acid (a related substance found in supplements) can reduce migraine symptoms, but this is the first study showing that the folate that occurs naturally in foods can have the same effect. The folic acid that is found in supplements is the synthetic form of dietary folate, so this new research is especially useful for people looking to manage migraines through diet rather than supplements.

Lead researcher Professor Lynn Griffiths said, “We suggest diet can potentially play an important role in decreasing migraine-associated disability.”

Vegetables that are high in dietary folate include dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, and legumes such as lentils, broccoli, beans, and peas.

Here are a couple of healthy and delicious recipe ideas to help you with your folate intake.


Beans and greens are top sources of folate, and the traditional Italian soup Ribollita has both! This recipe is updated to use less sausage and plenty of folate-rich veggies. The ingredient list may seem long, but if you chop everything and get it ready ahead of time, the soup goes together quickly and cooks while you enjoy your guests or relax after work.

1 T olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 t each thyme, oregano, and basil
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1 oz pancetta or bacon, diced (optional)
4 carrots, chopped
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
3 c. chicken broth
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained
1 pound fresh spinach or kale

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and herbs. Cook meat till done. Add carrots, celery, and tomatoes and cook about 10 minutes, till vegetables are tender. Stir in beans and greens and heat through.

Hash is a traditional way to use leftovers, and this healthy dish works well for that purpose. Use leftover grilled chicken for a simple start to your day, or add onions and peppers for extra zing at lunch or dinner. Of course, your favorite greens and proteins can be substituted for variety.

2 T olive oil
1 c. chopped leftover chicken
2 small potatoes
1 c. chopped mustard greens

Microwave potatoes for 3 minutes and then chop into small pieces. Heat oil. Add potatoes and fry on all sides. Stir in chicken and mustard greens and heat till greens are just wilted.

Although vegetables offers some great health benefits, eating your vegetables won’t necessarily eliminate your migraine symptoms. It’s important to tell your doctor if you suffer from migraines as they can often indicate a more serious health problem. Migraines are often recurrent and intense headaches that are sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. If you suffer from migraines, contact your doctor today, or schedule an appointment online.