The Healing Power of Food: Banana for a Migraine?
Last night I went to bed with a little headache, which I wrote off because normally a good night’s sleep would cure that no problem. I was wrong this time.
I woke up an hour later with a splitting headache so strong that all I could think was, “where is the ibuprofen??”. But then I thought to myself that I’ve been working really hard to cleanse my body lately and I didn’t want to burden my liver with meds if I didn’t have to (the liver is responsible for detoxifying the body from any chemicals or toxins you ingest, so you can imagine it already has plenty of work to do). So I took some time to drink water, rub on some arnica and peppermint oil and did a bit of self massage and ART that I had learned from my bodyworker.
I woke up again an hour later this time in so much pain that I felt I needed to take some anti-inflammatories, so I popped a couple ibuprofen and laid back down.
An hour later...they didn’t work. I was genuinely contemplating waking someone up to take me to the hospital because I thought surely there must be something very wrong. And I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so that’s saying something. My head was throbbing, my eyes full of tears, my vision blurry, and my stomach nauseous at this point. I’ve had migraines in the past after being in a car accident, but this was honestly up there with the worst of them.
I just laid there praying it would go away, or I would fall asleep, or some other miracle would occur to get me through this pain. It was truly taking all of my willpower not to scream at the top of my lungs, because I didn’t want to wake/freak out my neighbor.
Then a little voice in my head said, "go drink some coconut water." I knew I didn't have any and seeing as it was 3am, I wasn't getting any in that moment. So then the voice said, “go eat a banana.” I thought that was a bit weird, but I knew the potassium and electrolyte content in the banana might help and my brain could probably use the glucose. They're also rich in the amino acid tryptophan which promotes sleep. And I was willing to do just about anything at this point. So I ate a banana (honestly with tears still in my eyes at how much my head hurt), and laid back down.
Within 30 minutes...no more pain. None. At all. Like to the point that in the light of day I wondered if I dreamt the whole thing. So I gratefully fell back asleep for a couple hours before starting my day, rather than ending up in the ER for blinding, nauseating pain.
I honestly can’t say enough about the healing power of foods. It may seem so simple and silly, but the power of one banana to support a migraine, or some turmeric to calm inflammation, or an apple to support digestion...these things are real. And I am so grateful to be connected to my body enough to hear it when it asks for them. It has taken me a lot of time to un-learn the rules that society/media teaches us about foods and to re-connect to my body’s truth. And it frustrates me that so many people are still left in the dark in pain without any answers. But I am very appreciative of my own health journey getting me to where I am now, and my ability to discern food fact from food propaganda. I am going to be writing about this topic a lot more moving forward, so get used to it. And let me know if there is any topic in particular you would like me to cover.
I highly recommend you take the time to get to know your own body and its unique needs. And you don't even necessarily need to know why your body is asking for a particular food, you just need to trust that it knows what it needs.
Check out my Holistic Habits Guide if you are just getting started with holistic nutrition and health and need some guidance on where to start. No matter what health issue you are dealing with, my wish is that you never forget that your body is on your side. It wants to heal just as much as you want it to heal.