Migraine-Friendly Foods That Are Safe for Your Cat, Too

When you have a migraine, you probably just want to lie down. These moments of rest and recharge may involve your best cat-friend curled up by your side for comfort.

The food you eat may play a role in how often you get migraines and how painful they are. Turns out, foods that are helpful for preventing or easing migraines are OK for your family feline too.

Here are some foods that may help ease your migraines that your cat can nibble on as well.

Magnesium Support

Several studies suggest people who get regular migraines have less magnesium in their bodies than those who don’t deal with migraine. It could be that your diet needs a magnesium boost.

Foods high in magnesium include:

Seeds and nuts. Pumpkin seeds and nuts like cashews and almonds are both high in magnesium and safe for your cat. Pumpkin seeds have some of the highest amounts of magnesium, with 156 milligrams per serving. By contrast, carrots only have 7 milligrams.

Coming in at a close second are chia seeds. Those little black seeds are great toppers for yogurt, ice cream, or you can mix them into a smoothie.

Don’t let their size fool you. Though tiny, they pack a magnesium punch.

Spinach. Leafy green veggies are magnesium-rich. Salads and smoothies with these ingredients are your friends. Though cats are carnivores and generally prefer proteins and fats, snacking on salad is A-OK, too. Cats can digest veggies fairly well.

Beans. Kidney and black beans are another great choice. Toss them in a salad or use them for soup. But the lectin protein in beans can cause stomach issues for cats.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Eats

Inflammation is part of most headache pain — including migraines. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation. Foods full of these healthy fats include:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel
  • Nuts and seeds 

Oils found in food are generally safe for cats. But essential oils like peppermint and tea tree are another matter. Keep kitty away — they’re very harmful to cats.

Low-Carb Fare

Eating large amounts of carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly, then drop and trigger a migraine.

Studies show that people who eat a lower-carb diet may have fewer and less severe migraines. As a bonus, many low-carb options also have healthy oils, and some are high in magnesium.

Choices include:

  • Lean meat
  • Leafy green veggies
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Some fruits (apples, bananas, and strawberries)
  • Greek yogurt

Remember: Although their meows may make it seem otherwise, cats don’t need these extra foods. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their diet. A balanced cat food is nutritionally complete, and anything else raises the risk that they’ll deal with diarrhea and vomiting. 

“Everything in moderation,” says Nora Badal, DVM, an emergency vet in Ventura, CA. “Just like humans, if cats have too many fruits, veggies, or any type of food, it can mess with their tummies.”

The same foods that may trigger or prolong a migraine are also unsafe for your family kitty. Chocolate, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners — common migraine culprits — are also harmful to cats.

Finally, if you’re reaching for some painkiller for your migraine, beware. “Household medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol are very harmful to cats,” says Badal. “Everyone has these in their house, but they can be very dangerous for your cat.”

Sources

Photo Credits:

Blanchi Costela / Getty Images

PoppyB / Getty Images

Aristotoo / Getty Images

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health: “Migraines and its relationship to dietary habits in women,” “Magnesium.”

Pubmed.gov: “Why All Migraine Patients Should Be Treated with Magnesium.”

American Migraine Foundation: “Diet and Headache Control.”

National Headache Foundation: “Fish Oil.”

People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals: “Cats and Essential Oils.”

Medical University of South Carolina: “Nutrition Guide for Migraines.”

The American Nutrition Association: “Resolution of Migraine Headaches with a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat Diet and Intermittent Fasting — a Case Report.”

Golisano Children’s Hospital: “Diabetes: Low Carbohydrate Foods.”
 

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