Monthly Archives: May 2015

Seven Natural Cures for Migraines

7 Natural Cures for Migraines

By , contributing editor
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For most people who experience an occasional headache, a couple of aspirin will usually do the trick. Migraine sufferers don’t have it so easy. Not only do many migraine meds have side effects that range from nausea and stomach ulcers to an increased risk ofstroke and even heart attack, but up to two-thirds of users have also reported that they don’t deliver satisfactory results.

What to do? Plenty, according to the latest research.

Although researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly why migraines strike, they do understand the physiological changes that occur when a migraine hits. When the nerve cells in the brain become overstimulated, they release chemicals that cause inflammation and swelling in the blood vessels in the neck and brain. The cures listed below work by addressing these issues. Here are seven surprising natural cures for migraines that help prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

1. Exercise

Exercise has long been recommended to migraine sufferers, and now there’s new evidence to support the theory that physical activity appears to help prevent migraines. In a 2011 randomized, controlled study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, researchers found that aerobic exercise was as effective at preventing migraines as the preventive migraine medication topiramate (brand name Topamax). A third of the patients in the three-month study exercised on a stationary bike three times per week for 40 minutes, while another third took a topiramate regimen that was gradually increased to the highest tolerable dose (a maximum of 200 milligrams per day).

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The exercisers and drug group both experienced a similar reduced number of migraines, but 33 percent of topiramate users also experienced adverse side effects, while the exercisers reported none. The researchers concluded that regular exercise may be an option for migraine sufferers who don’t want to adhere to a daily medication regimen, and the medical community agrees that the findings are encouraging.

How it helps: Regular, gentle exercise helps to reduce tension and ward off stress, a well-known trigger for many migraine sufferers. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, which act as a mild sedative.

How much helps: The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, ideally spread out over the course of the week. Beware that intense exercise can actually trigger rather than prevent migraine, so don’t overdo it.

2. Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is found in certain foods and supplements. It helps protect cells from oxidative damage and is involved in energy production. In a trial measuring the effectiveness of riboflavin in preventing migraines, 59 percent of patients who took 400 mg of riboflavin daily for three months experienced a 50 percent or greater reduction in migraine occurrence.

How it helps: Riboflavin is an effective preventive treatment for migraines. It has been widely reported to significantly reduce the incidence of migraine headaches when consumed at high levels (400 mg per day), although it doesn’t seem to help reduce the pain or length of a migraine once one occurs.

How much helps: The recommendation is 400 mg per day for three months. Researchers recommend taking riboflavin with a B-complex supplement, since riboflavin increases the absorption of other essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, folate, vitamin B3, and vitamin B12. In addition, vitamin B1 can help increase levels of riboflavin.

Best food sources: Liver, lean beef, lamb, venison, whole grains, tempeh, yogurt, low-fat milk, eggs, almonds, crimini mushrooms, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Store food away from light, which destroys riboflavin.

3. Magnesium

Because our bodies can’t make magnesium, we must rely on dietary and/or supplement sources to get it — and magnesium deficiency been directly linked to migraines in a number of major studies. Some estimates say that as many as three out of four adults in the U.S. may be deficient in magnesium.

How it helps: Magnesium helps relax nerves and muscles and transmits nerve impulses throughout the body and brain. In addition, magnesium helps prevent nerves from becoming overexcited. In short, this mineral aids in the prevention and reduction of migraines.

How much helps: Experts are split on how much magnesium to take for migraine prevention; some recommend 200 to 600 mg per day, while others recommend as much as 1,000 mg daily. Talk to your doctor to find a regimen that works best for you. If you take magnesium supplements, use chelated forms (such as magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide). This means that the magnesium is connected with another molecule in order to aid its absorption.

Best food sources: Pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, amaranth, quinoa, soybeans, and black beans.


The Best Exercises You Can Do

woman doing pushup The Best Exercises You Can Do
Add these 7 moves to your workout — at home or at the gym — for results you can see and feel.

Making Your Words and Emotions Match

“Congruent care” is a concept borrowed from geometry, where “congruency” refers to two things that are the same size and shape. In Alzheimer’s care, it refers to making your words and emotions match.Your loved one’s ability to perceive intent by reading your emotions is surprisingly long-lasting. You’ll stay better connected to him or her (and you’ll find caregiving goes much more smoothly) if your messaging is consistent.

>>See some do’s and don’ts of this idea in action.

Quick Links
* Tips on hiring and managing an in-home caregiver
* How can I help my dad when he struggles to find the right words?

20 Healthy Grilling Tips

20 Healthy Grilling Tips 20 Healthy Grilling Tips
Try some of these tasty ideas at your next cookout.

Make EVERY Day Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!

American Diabetes Association


Make EVERY Day Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!

You walked. You stretched. You lunged. Now, let’s keep it up!

On May 6, more than 2,700 businesses and organizations, plus countless individuals, joined us for our first National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day. They committed to getting up and moving at least every 90 minutes, as research shows that changing our sedentary habits is one of the most effective ways of preventing type 2 diabetes.

gfds kevin on twitter2.png

Being active at work is easier than you think! Try parking at the far end of your lot or garage, stretching during a conference call or visiting the kitchen for a fresh glass of water.

Need some inspiration? Just check out this gallery of#GetFitDontSit Day social media posts from last week and share it with your coworkers.

And the Get Fit Don’t Sit movement continues this month with an exciting promotion: Enter here and you might win a sit-stand workstation!

However you choose to move, introduce some activity into your workday as a step toward better health (Hula Hoops® optional!).

The No-Gym Workout

Man and woman working out The No-Gym Workout
Find out how to save time and money by exercising right in your own home.

n4a Advocacy Alert – Week of Action to Fund, Reauthorize and Protect OAA!

Week of Action to Fund, Reauthorize and Protect
the Older Americans Act!
May 14, 2015
NOTE: n4a and a key group of other national aging advocates have worked collectively for months to develop messages, materials and opportunities to raise the profile of the Older Americans Act and engage OAA supporters far and wide in speaking up for this vital law! We strongly encourage all AAAs and Title VI programs to use the following materials to activate your own local and state networks next week—to be successful, this effort must reach service recipients, caregivers and other community members who value the Act!

The Older Americans Act (OAA) is celebrating 50 years of providing services to help millions of seniors every year age with health, independence and dignity in their homes and communities! To highlight this historic year, the Administration on Aging has chosenGet Into the Act as the theme of this May’s Older Americans Month.

The population of older adults needing OAA services is growing faster than at any time in the country’s history, with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 years old each day. By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. However, just when the need is highest, funding for these critical services is in jeopardy at the federal, state and local levels.

We must tell Congress that the Older Americans Act is celebrating 50 years of successfully and cost-effectively serving older adults and caregivers and demand that they fund, reauthorize and protect OAA now! Congress must ensure that programs older Americans depend on to stay healthy and independent are there for the next 50 years!

Join n4a, our national aging organization partners and other grassroots advocates May 18-22 for a Week of Action for OAA to learn more about the Older Americans Act and the services it supports and to contact your Members of Congress about why it is critical to fund, reauthorize and protect OAA. The schedule for the Week of Action and more information about getting involved follows.

NOW through MONDAY, May 18:
PROMOTE the Week of Action for OAA activities! Contact your networks to share this information and let them know how they can get involved! For more information about this event and resources that you can share visit When promoting on social media, don’t forget to use #WeAreOAA and also consider posting these resources on your own website.

TUESDAY, May 19:
PARTICIPATE in the #WeAreOAA Twitter Chat! On Tuesday, May 19 at 1:00 pm ET, discuss Older Americans Act programs and the need for reauthorization. Led by organizations from the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (@ElderCareTeam), the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (@LCAgingOrgs), of which n4a is an active member, and featuring the Administration on Community Living (@ACLgov), this Twitter Chat will be an online forum for aging advocates, older Americans, and family caregivers. To participate in the chat, visit or Also, check out this #WeAreOAA Twitter Chat guide for more information.

EMAIL Congress! Write to your members of Congress to tell them why your community needs them to fund, reauthorize and protect the OAA:

CALL Congress! Urge your Senators and Representative to fund, renew and protect the Older Americans Act by restoring appropriations to at least the fiscal year 2010 levels, passing a bipartisan reauthorization and removing the continued threat of across-the-board sequestration cuts. Get more tips and the call-in number sponsored by LeadingAge here:

FRIDAY, May 22:
TELL your OAA story! The Administration on Aging wants to hear from YOU about what OAA means to you and your loved ones. Share stories, photos and videos with them to build awareness about the importance of OAA in communities everywhere!

If you have questions about this Advocacy Alert, please contact n4a’s Public Policy and Advocacy team, Amy Gotwals and Autumn Campbell at 202.872.0888,

Elder Law Attorneys

Facing a legal question you don’t know the answer to? Wondering how to protect assets? You should know about a specialist lawyer called an Elder Law Attorney. He or she can guide you through tricky legal and financial matters at a vulnerable time, and do so with the wisdom of experience. Getting proper advice is especially important once your loved one has the degree of cognitive impairment that you’re dealing with now.

>> Find an elder law attorney near you.

Your Pancreas

Your Pancreas: 12 Things to Know Your Pancreas: 12 Things to Know
It’s not large, but this gland does a lot! Do you know just how hard it works? Test your smarts.

Which Fats Are Your Friends?

array of oils Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
“Bad” fats can hide where you wouldn’t expect. Find out how to avoid them, which olive oil is best, and more.