Eat foods rich in magnesium to prevent migraine headaches!

Consuming lots of foods high in magnesium is good for preventing migraine headaches. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to increased risk of headaches. Researchers found that 50% of patients that had an acute migraine attack had low levels of ionized magnesium.[1] Therefore, eating foods rich in magnesium may prevent headaches.

Health benefits of magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. Magnesium is so important for our health, as it’s a cofactor in more than 300 enzymes and has a key role in many reactions in the body. For instance, magnesium is important for:[2]

  • protein synthesis,
  • muscle and nerve function,
  • normal heart rhythm,
  • the structural development of bone and teeth,
  • blood glucose control,
  • blood pressure regulation,
  • the synthesis of DNA and RNA,
  • energy production,
  • the synthesis of the powerful antioxidant glutathione, which is vital for good health and fertility in women.

How much magnesium do we need daily?

Most people need about 420 mg of magnesium daily. Men have slightly higher needs than women. Men need 420 mg of magnesium. Women need only 320 mg! Certainly, if you follow a healthy diet, is rather unusual to have magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium for preventing migraine headaches

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to increased risk of headaches. Researchers have found that people who experience migraine headaches have lower levels of both serum and tissue magnesium.

The main reason why magnesium deficiency may cause headaches is that the blood vessels in the brain get narrow. Additionally, the lack of magnesium causes the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that cause pain.

Magnesium supplements to prevent headaches

So, should we take magnesium supplements to prevent migraine headaches?

Studies have shown that taking 300 mg of magnesium twice a day can prevent migraines. Moreover, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society said that magnesium is probably effective for migraine prevention.[2] 

On the other hand, we should be pretty careful about the doses of magnesium we take from supplements. Excessive intake of magnesium from supplements can cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, depression, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat and many more.

The main reason for these health risks is the inability of the kidneys to remove excess magnesium. These may happen for doses of 5,000 mg per day, though. On the other hand, a daily supplementation of magnesium of 350 mg per day is considered pretty safe. Certainly, you should consult your physician before taking any supplements.

Foods rich in magnesium

Eating foods high in magnesium is the best way to prevent migraine headaches, though. Magnesium from food isn’t dangerous for our health. The kidneys can remove effectively the excess amounts of magnesium in the urine.

Furthermore, it’s better for preventing headaches if you have adequate amounts of magnesium in your body. Eating foods high in magnesium, when we develop headache won’t relieve you.

Luckily, there are many foods rich in magnesium. Eating them is beneficial for preventing headaches. Almonds, peanuts, spinach, cashews, whole-grain cereals, beans, even rice and potatoes are good sources of magnesium. You should eat them regularly, if you’re sensitive to migraine headaches.

Moreover, almonds are the richest plant-based food in riboflavin (vitamin B2). Riboflavin helps relief migraine pain, as it reduces inflammation of nerves.

Analytically, the richest foods in magnesium that prevent headaches are:

High in
(mg per 100g)
Moderate in
(mg per 100g)
pumpkin seeds 550spinach79
chia seeds392kale47
sesame seeds346wheat bread41
almond279barley bread41
cashews260rice, brown, cooked39
black beans171avocado29
kidney beans138potatoes, boiled24
sunflower seeds129Brussels sprouts23

As you can see, the richest foods in magnesium are seeds, nuts, and legumes. So, try to consume lots of these foods to prevent migraine headaches! Additionally, a diet high in magnesium helps us lose weight.