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Suffer from heartburn or migraines? Instead of heading straight to the medicine cabinet, you may want to check out the kitchen first. "Many foods provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help ease ailments and possibly prevent them," says Susan Lark, MD, a physician and nutritionist in Los Altos, California. "Even if you take medications to relieve symptoms, what you eat can help as well," Dr. Lark says. Next time you experience one of the following minor conditions, just open your refrigerator. (If your symptoms persist or worsen, consult your doctor.)
For Migraine Headaches
Try: Fatty fish such as trout, sardines, and herring
Preliminary research suggests that eating fatty fish, which are high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, may lower the body's production of prostaglandins, hormone-like chemicals that can induce inflammation and pain, causing migraines. "We found that adolescents who took 1.25 grams of fish oil daily for two months experienced fewer headaches, which were less severe and didn't last as long," explains Zeev Harel, MD, the lead researcher on the study and an associate professor of pediatrics at Brown University.
How much? Have one four- to six-ounce serving two or three times a week, says Dr. Harel. Or consult your doctor about taking fish-oil supplements.
Avoid: Processed meats, artificial sweeteners, MSG, red wine, chocolate, hard cheeses, and citrus. Research shows that 20 percent of migraine sufferers are sensitive to one or more of these foods.