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Piercing Might Cure Migraine And Anxiety, According To Some Cases

Piercing Might Cure Migraine And Anxiety, According To Some Cases

If you suffer from migraines, you know that you’ll do almost anything to prevent a migraine or to stop one as soon as you feel it coming on. From pain killers to dietary changes to acupuncture, you’ve probably tried it all at least once. But there’s one surprising new preventative measure for migraines that you may not have considered or even heard of: piercing.

Recently, a number of migraine sufferers have come forward to say that piercing the daith, a small cartilage fold in the outer ear, has relieved their migraine pain.

Here’s what you need to know about piercing for migraine relief.

Where to Pierce for Migraine Relief

Migraine sufferers who have found relief through piercing recommend piercing the daith, which is a part of bony cartilage located in the upper part of the visible outer ear.

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Although there has been no clinical research to prove that piercing is an effective migraine preventative or treatment, individual anecdotes are promising. Many migraine sufferers who have tried piercing say that it has reduced both the frequency and intensity of their migraines.

Kimberly Glatz states on Cure Bank that since getting her daith pierced, she has “definitely seen an improvement and i[piercing] worth trying.” Natalie Thompson similarly reports that as a result of her daith piercing, “[her] headache has gone from a five or six out of 10 down to a three.”

Why Piercing May Help Migraines

Proponents of piercing for migraine relief often point to its similarity to acupuncture. A treatment originating in China over 2,000 years ago, acupuncture involves the placement of tiny needles into various points of the body. Acupuncture has long been used as an alternative treatment for chronic pain, and in 2004 a scientific study proved acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating migraines and other chronic headaches.

Daith piercing is believed to work like acupuncture by exerting light pressure on a specific pressure point in the ear that corresponds to headaches. Piercing artist Dave Kurlander suggests piercing on the same side in which migraines most frequently or severely occur.

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Due to the lack of clinical research, it is not definitively clear why piercing may help reduce migraines, or whether the treatment works at all for most people. As Tammy Rome of Migraine.com points out, it’s equally possible that migraine sufferers have reported relief not from the piercing itself, but from the piercing’s placebo effect.

Regardless of the exact reason for its reported effectiveness, daith piercing is a relatively low-risk and low-cost method to try for migraine prevention and treatment. Thomas Cohn, a Minnesota-based interventional pain doctor, suggests that “[daith piercing] certainly won’t work for everybody, but if…all other solutions have failed, it may be worth investigating further.”

Tips for Piercing for Migraine and Anxiety Relief

If you’re considering a daith piercing to help relieve your migraines, keep the following tips in mind to make sure the piercing is safe and effective.

Consult with your doctor.

Always speak with your primary physician or migraine specialist before starting any new treatment, including piercing. Your doctor can advise you on common piercing concerns and make sure that your piercing works in tandem with any medicinal approaches.

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Know that piercing does not work for everyone.

Because this is not yet a scientifically proven treatment, it’s impossible to know how often daith piercings provide migraine relief. In fact, some sufferers have actually reported that piercing worsened their migraines. If your migraines have not improved within several to many months, consider an alternative treatment plan.

Start a migraine diary.

Before you get pierced, start keeping a diary of your migraine history. Note migraine frequency, type, and intensity, along with any known triggers. (Migraine triggers vary from person to person but typically include certain foods, alcohols, and environmental factors.) Continue the diary after you’ve gotten your piercing to monitor your progress.

Choose a licensed practitioner to pierce you.

Just like any other elective piercing, be sure to choose a piercing studio that is clean, reputable, and licensed. Read reviews of local piercing studios, and if possible, choose one that has experience with piercing for migraines. Discuss your intention with the piercing artist so he or she can determine the best location for the piercing.

Watch out for infection.

Because the daith and the traigus are both relatively thick areas of cartilage, they may be more prone to infection from piercing than other parts of your body. Clean your piercing according to instructions from your piercing artist, and be aware of early signs of infection. If the infection does not resolve with cleaning and over-the-counter remedies, seek medical attention.

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Do you suffer from migraines? Check out this interesting infographic about the four stages of a migraine so you can treat them more effectively.

Featured photo credit: Gustavo Malpartida via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

More Tips on Eating Healthy

Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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