60 minutes | Jan 11th 2021

The Headache Nutritionist with Susannah Juteau, M. Sc. RD.

Many of our speakers have alluded to the effects that nutrition has had on their recovery.  If you’re like us, you want to learn more but don't know where to turn.  This. Episode. Is. It! Susannah Juteau, the Headache Nutritionist, schools us on dietary approaches to headaches, migraines, post-concussive syndrome, and mental health.  Do you think this means that you need to follow a super, restrictive elimination diet?? Susannah teaches us a different approach and gives practical advice on how to improve our diets.  Listen and learn with us! Topics covered:Susannah’s survivor story and path to nutritional approaches for migrainesSolving headaches requires focus on 3 pillars:SleepStress NutritionNutrition is only part of the solution“A healthy diet doesn’t mean a headache-free diet”Anti-inflammatory diet to treat migraines and headachesMigraines are an inflammatory conditionIt’s not a quick fix.  Migraine and headache treatment require an interdisciplinary approach.  Work with your practitioners on what they specialize in, advocate for the right people on your teamWhat to expect when seeing Susannah, the headache nutritionistMicro-nutrient assessmentTiming of eating, what are you eatingDiagnostic test: the mediator release test, tells the specific foods that cause inflammation in YOUGoal of treatment is to calm the immune systemTypical approach is to have an elimination diet which is very restrictive. Susannah offers something different.  Her approach using the mediator release test allows you to target specific foods to remove rather than whole categories of foodsElimination diets can take a year and may not hit the nail on the head as well as using a mediator release testHow do you know that inflammation is a problem?MigrainesChronic headachesIBSIndigestionMood, irritabilityPoor sleepHigh stressFemales’ hormones and stress response make females more susceptibleMost common food culprits for inflammationProcessed foodsDyesChemicalsMSGWhat to eat:Focus on brightly colored whole foodsTo make this easy: Frozen vegetables and fruits are oftentimes more fresh than what’s in the produce section meaning they are more healthy.  They are easy to grab, already cut up, and make a great addition to any meal. Fish: omega-3 fatty acids are essential.  Fish is quick and easy to make, bakes in 20 minutes!AnchoviesCodOystersMackerelSardinesSalmon Clams--canned is good too!! Great source of iron.Big bad wolves in nutrition: dairy, gluten, sugar.  You might not need to cut them or eliminate every food in each category!! The mediator release test will guide what needs to be removed. Common elimination diets cut all gluten, sugar, and dairy as they are often reactive for people.  With Susannah’s approach you cut these for the 14 days while waiting for the mediator response test results.  This calms the immune system and inflammation.  Once results are back, you can cut the specific culprits for you and see how you feel.  This approach is more sustainable because you don’t need to cut whole groups of food.Nutrition is highly personal.  See a nutritionist that can do the mediator response test5 nutrients for chronic headaches and migraines1. Omega-3.  Fish at least 2 times a week.  Fish more than meat.  Eating fish is best as it primes the digestive system to be able to break down the fatty acids.  Supplementation may not work as well if you are not eating fish because your gut is not primed.2. Vitamin D: This is one that you need to supplement.  Shitake mushrooms and fortified milk are food sources but don’t contain enough.  Dont assume that since you live in a sunny area that you get enough.  Most of us are covered up when we are out in the sun and get little, if any vitamin D from the sun.Take in the morning.  Taking vitamin D at night can negatively impact your sleep because it binds with melatonin3.  Vitamin B-2: nutritional yeast, meats, supplementationNutritional yeast tastes a little like cheese.  Sprinkle on vegetables or kale chips4.  Magnesium, type matters; both of these types are good:Magnesium glycinate--better for stress or anxiety, calms the nervesMagnesium citrate--cheaper, easier to digest. Good overall.Migraine prone brains don’t absorb magnesium as well Make sure to get food sources of magnesium and supplementation.  The combo approach is best:Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, spinach (especially cooked)Epsom salt baths give an extra boost but we are not sure how much you absorb this way.  Should always include nutritional sources5.  Co-enzyme Q10: especially researched in heart disease.Supplementation: 400 mg daily is usually enoughDietary sources: organ meatsLook for supplements that are third party tested so that you are sure that you are getting what you pay for.   5 Nutrients for Post Concussive Syndrome: focus is on brain healing and getting enough energy through food.  The brain requires high energy to heal especially in the first few months.1.  Omega-32.  Vitamin D3.  PolyphenolsBrightly colored fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices.  Any plant sourced food that is really bright likely has some.  Turmeric, blueberries, dark grapes, all berries, peanutsGoal is to includes something at least everydayThe more color on the plate the better.  8-10 servings a dayTip: look at your plate, aim for 4 different colors on each plate every day4.  Creatine: very important for brain function and neuroprotection: think cognitive fatigue and brain fog.  It helps with energy stores in the brain.  Found as supplements.  5.  Probiotics and prebioticsYogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha (look at the labels for low sugar/low cane sugar options.  If it tastes like juice it's probably too sugary)Kombucha is a nice fizzy drink that can substitute for alcohol in social situationsHigh fiber foods have prebioticsLeaky gut“The gut is a direct cable from the brain to the gut” and visa versa via the vagus nerveIf our gut is off our brain is off and visa versaIf we aren’t eating a diverse diet than our gut is not healthyNeed to get more plant foods and color on the plate (fruits and vegetables) to increase gut healthLeaky gut: what is it? At least 70% of the population (up to 90%) are dealing with this.  The connections in our gut become loose with leaky gut.  Diet helps get those junctions tight back together. Inflammation is the culprit for loose connections.  Need healthy eating, diversity in the diet, and the nutrients above.  Skin rashes are also an inflammatory condition caused by leaky gutSmart eating tips for mental health.  Fruits and vegetablesHave lots of color on the plateUse lots of herbs and spices in your foodIt’s ok if you have a down day with food.  It’s more about the overall pictureOmega-3sWhen you’re having a good day, write down all your favorite fruits and vegetables.  On low motivation days and days your diet is in a rut, look at this list for ideas of what to add.  Sometimes we get out of the habit.  Have frozen and prepared vegetables at the ready to make it easy and quick.  You can freeze squash and kale.  Canned pumpkin can be added to oatmealKey takeaways: Eat the rainbow and Eryn is going to try a sardine :). Tailor a solution to you.  Work with a qualified nutritionist to figure out what you need (you probably don’t need to take a million supplements and your body can’t absorb them all if you are)Find Susannah Juteau on Facebook and Instagram: @headachenutritionistHer website is https://headachenutritionist.com/
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