Migraines are a common and more painful variation of the common headaches, characterized by throbbing in some part of the head. The pain is so extreme that it often leads to nausea and vomiting. If you’re suffering from a migraine, anything and everything around you will irritate and annoy. The slightest sound or light may worsen the pounding in the head. This is because migraines lead to hyper sensitivity to light and sound. This is the reason that most people with migraines just want to crawl into a dark place and be left alone till it subsides. Having said that, there are plenty of ways to treat and get rid of migraines. From medications, lifestyle changes, diet changes to natural cures. Grape juice for migraines is said to be quite effective. Let’s examine the evidence and see if it really works.
Chemical Reasons Behind Migraines
To understand the effectiveness of grape juice for migraines, first it is vital that you know what happens during a migraine.
The cause of a migraine is hard to pinpoint. But what it does to the body is much more easy to understand. Migraines usually happen when the trigeminal nerve (a major pain pathway) and its communication with the brainstem is affected.
Although much research is still being carried out on the subject, some conclusive research points out to the fact that falling serotonin (acid 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP) levels is a major factor behind migraines.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate pain, mood, sleep and appetite in the body. Although a neurotransmitter, 90% of the serotonin is found inside the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and some is also found in the blood platelets. It is formed in the midline of the brainstem and reaches almost every part of the central nervous system.
When serotonin levels in the body drop, the nervous system releases neuropeptides to signal this to the body. Neuropeptides are small molecules that are used within the system for communication between neurons. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a component of neuropeptide, is known to cause migraines.
This is to say that any factors that offset the decrease in serotonin (5-HTP) and release of CGRP can be effective for treating migraines.
Causes Of Migraines
There are no specific clinical reasons that have been identified that cause migraines yet. Migraines are most commonly associated with genetics and age but they can also be caused by lifestyle choices, diet, hormonal changes, stress, reaction to a stimuli, lack of sleep, reaction to some medication, etc.
Some clinical trials have associated nutritional deficiencies with migraines and consequently, the levels of serotonin dropping in the nervous system. By overcoming these deficiencies, migraines can be treated. Studies point towards deficiencies in riboflovin, magnesium, coenzyme Q (10) and vitamin B(12). Although, more detailed research is needed (as often the case for natural cures – call it a conspiracy of big pharma or whatever), there is enough evidence to suggest that by overcoming these deficiencies, migraines can be treated.
How Does Grape Juice Help Migraines?
For the purpose of migraines, let’s first distinguish between two types of grapes. One is the table variety that we eat between meals. The other is the dried variety used to make wine and raisins. Wine and raisins are known to actually worsen and cause migraines so keep away from them. The table variety is what you are looking for in this case.
Grapes are a low glycemic fruit that carry high nutritional properties in the form of vitamins (including Vitamin C and B12), antioxidants (melotonin), anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial nutrients. Grape seeds are high in riboflovin. Grapes also have trace amounts of magnesium.
Grape juice for migraines is a recent phenomenon and its effect, to a large degree, remains understated. Most of the table variety of grapes should do the trick. Some people say that red grapes are more effective, but we have not been able to find any evidence to support this assertion. For us, any grape juice for migraines should be effective.
Grape Juice And Migraines
As noted above, grape juice contains vitamin B12, magnesium as well as riboflovin, all of which have been identified as the factors behind migraines. By maintaining a healthy daily consumption of grape juice, the frequency and intensity of migraines can be lessened. It may even lead to the complete elimination of migraines depending on whether the cause behind your migraines was a nutritional deficiency or something else.
While the readily available store-packaged grape juice could help, it is recommended that you make your own. The reason we say this is that almost all such juices are made from seedless grapes and thus missing the vital nutrient for treating migraines i.e. riboflovin.
Grape Juice For Migraines
The best way to make grape juice for migraines is using the whole grape, skin, seed and all. You need the riboflovin in the skin and seeds, and the pulp contains all the other nutrients. Here’s how to prepare fresh grape juice at home:
- To make 1 liter of grape juice you will need around 7-8 lbs of fresh grapes
- Buy your pick of seeded grapes from the store
- Wash them and pluck them from their stems
- Mash the grapes using a potato masher (We prefer not using a juicer since it will take out the seeds)
- Put the grapes in a pot and cover them with water. Heat until the water begins to boil, then let it simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes.
- Keep stirring so that the grapes don’t clump up
- Pour out the cooked juice through a sieve or cheesecloth into a jar or bottle
- Remove the sieve and put the juice in the refrigerator to cool
- Discard the residue
- We don’t recommend using sweeteners but if it is something you can’t do without, you can add sweeteners to the mix
If you are someone who regularly suffers from migraines, chances are that your looking at grape juice for migraines as a long term solution. In that case, you’d want to have some grape juice handy in your refrigerator at all times. But make sure that the grape juice you drink is fresh (refrigerated for 5-7 days maximum). Drinking a glass of grape juice for migraines everyday (or even more) is nothing but beneficial for you, but don’t overdo it.
Grape Juice for Migraines FAQs
- What Is The Grape Juice Riboflavin-Migraine Connection?
Migraines can occur due to a number of reasons and nutritional deficiency is thought to be one of them. When certain nutrients are missing from the diet, migraines can set in. Grape juice is recommended for migraine treatment because it can help overcome this shortage.
In simple words, grape juice for migraines yields riboflavin which is seen as a nutrient deficient in individuals suffering from the debilitating headaches. However, there is more than nutritional deficiency involved in this common remedy.
Riboflavin is a vitamin B that the body requires for healthy growth and development. It is also known as Vitamin B2 and is found in foods like spinach, eggs, yogurt cheese, and whole grains. Among fruits, riboflavin is found in blueberries, raisins, peaches, plums and of course, grapes.
This vitamin plays an important part in how the body gets energy from proteins, carbs and fats. Riboflavin helps the body use these nutrients for energy and for antioxidant purposes. Evidence suggests that individuals with insufficient Vitamin B2 may suffer from migraines headaches. This makes riboflavin a good contender for treating migraines.
Including riboflavin in the diet may possibly reduce not only the frequency but also the duration of migraines. Some studies have shown that individuals taking riboflavin experienced a 50% decrease in the number of headaches. Others have reported reduced duration of the episodes.
To get quick, effective relief from the debilitating pain, grape juice for migraines has been a popular remedy. Riboflavin is available in its natural form in grapes which is better than taking it synthetically. Grape juice is available everywhere or if you need to make it at home, you can do so easily. This makes grape juice an ideal remedy for migraine control.
- How Long Can Homemade Grape Juice Last For?
Store bought varieties of grape juice come with a best before date, but if you are making homemade grape juice to treat migraines, you need to be aware of a few things.
First off, the shelf life of fruit juice depends on a few different things. Factors such as additives and preservatives can prolong the shelf life of packaged juices. One of these is the added sugar content. For commercially prepared juices, sugar content can be relatively high, so be careful when using those.
Homemade juices do not have additives and preservatives, so try to use them up faster. You may decide to use sugar as a preservative or for taste when making the juice. But do try to keep the sugar content minimal when preparing the juice, since that is a healthier option.
Also, when you prepare grape juice at home for migraine treatment, keep in mind that it contains riboflavin. This B vitamin gets destroyed by light, so store the juice in a glass container, but wrap with foil. The foil wrap blocks out the light which can otherwise degrade the nutritional value. Exposure to light can also reduce the juice’s shelf life.
Plus, it is important to store the juice in the refrigerator to keep it fresh longer. Homemade grape juice stored in the fridge should be consumed quickly, and finished within one week. If the juice starts to give off a bad smell or sour taste, discard it immediately.
- What Are Some Other Ways To Store Homemade Grape Juice For Longer?
Any juice, including homemade grape juice used to treat migraines should always be put in the refrigerator. But if you decide to make a big batch and want to keep it for later, freezing the grape juice is one option.
It is safe to store your home made grape juice for migraines in the freezer for a few weeks. You can also add some sugar or lime or lemon juice to the juice to extend its life. The lime or lemon juice not only acts as a natural preservative, but also prevents meaningful oxidation.
Another tip is to fill the container almost to the top so that excess oxygen cannot hang in there when frozen. Only leave about an inch and a half of head space to allow for expansion. Close tightly with lid and freeze the juice for later use.
Freezing grape juice is one option while canning it is another. Most people find freezing easier than canning. But you may be an expert, and wish to make lots of grape juice to treat frequent occurring migraines.
In this case, you can decide to can your home made grape juice and use it as needed. Canned juice can be stored for much longer, almost for up to one year. In this way, grape juice prepared to treat migraines will always be at hand and available whenever a headache strikes.
- Why Is Homemade Grape JuiceBetter For Treating Migraines?
The homemade version of grape juice to treat migraines is considered much better than its store bought counterpart. This is because riboflavin is the key ingredient you want to replenish.
However, with grape juice bought at the store, the riboflavin content gets compromised. This happens because grape seeds contain the most concentrations of riboflavin. But store bought juices often miss the riboflavin containing seeds. The seeds are either discarded before use, or never used at all. Also the sugar concentration is higher in commercially prepared varieties.
When you prepare your own juice at home, you can either use a juicer or blender. Both methods will retain the seeds in juice preparation. If you use the stove top method to prepare grape juice to treat your migraines, the seeds will still be part of the preparation process. And even after straining, the nutritional value of the seeds will remain in the juice.
All these methods ensure that your homemade grape juice preserves the maximum riboflavin content. When preparing the juice at home, you can also be sure about its ingredient authenticity and nutritional value.
In this way, homemade grape juice to treat migraines is a superior option to store bought juices.