Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and healthy fats, are the most recommended to improve the quality of sleep.
Photo: Photo of Trang Doan in Pexels / Pexels
Good sleep is incredibly important to overall health. It is a habit that can reduce the risk of developing certain chronic diseases, is key to maintaining a healthy brain and stimulates the immune system. The recommendation considered as healthy is sleep between 7 and 9 hours uninterrupted every nightHowever, few people succeed. The truth is that there are several aspects that alter the quality of sleep, whether it is a heavy cup of coffee, overeating and stress, all are aspects that affect energy and alertness. Taking into account that until 35% of American adults have insomnia symptomsIt is understandable that there is a strong interest in taking advantage of those foods and beverages that help us sleep better and without side effects or drug dependence.
Various researchers, including nutritionists and sleep experts, have spent a lot of time in studies focused on trying to find out which are the best foods for sleep. Based on this, we undertook the task of investigating the 4 best ideal foods to eat for dinner and promote a restful sleep, its nutritional properties promote good rest and increase the production of melatonin.
It is well known that almonds are the most faithful representative of the family of nuts. They are an extraordinary source of essential nutrients and are associated with numerous health benefits. Among its great benefits, they stand out for its high content of phosphorus, riboflavin, and manganese. In fact cEating almonds regularly has been associated with a lower risk of certain chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. These benefits are related to its content in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber and antioxidants. One of the most popular benefits of almonds is related to their ability to improve the quality of sleep, and the reason is simple: they are a great source of melatonin. It is a hormone that is responsible for regulating the internal clock and is in charge of telling the body to get ready for sleep. This is not all, almonds contain high levels of magnesium, in just one ounce we will be obtaining the 19% of daily needs. It is well known that the optimal magnesium intake intervenes in a positive way in the quality of sleep, especially in the cases of people who suffer from insomnia. In fact, there are references that relate the benefits of magnesium in promoting sleep, thanks to its ability to reduce inflammation and levels of cortisol “the stress hormone” that is known to disrupt sleep.
It is well known that all varieties of fruits are a key element of good health. Kiwis are a clear example, which unfortunately often goes unnoticed on many occasions. They are a very nutritious fruit and low in calories, a medium piece provides only 42 calories and many nutrients such as vitamin C and K. Additionally, they are rich in folic acid, potassium, a lot of fiber, and various essential trace elements in the good health. Eating kiwis benefits digestive and intestinal health, its powerful antioxidants reduce inflammation and cholesterol, thus benefiting cardiovascular health. According to a study led by the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, Kiwis can also be one of the best foods to eat before bed. It lasted 4 weeks, with 24 adults consuming two kiwis an hour before bed each night. The findings were surprising since at the end of the study, participants fell asleep 42% faster than when they ate nothing before bedtime. Additionally, their ability to sleep through the night without waking up improved by 5%, while their total sleep time increased by 13%. The researchers found that the effect of kiwis to promote sleep and good rest is attributed to its ability to increase serotonin levels. It is a substance brain chemistry that helps regulate the sleep cycle. Also in the study it was suggested that the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their effects in promoting good rest.
3. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel are incredibly healthy. One of the aspects that makes them so unique is their exceptional amounts of vitamin D. For example, a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of sockeye salmon contains 570 international units (IU) of vitamin D, which is 71% of the recommended daily value. In fish like trout you can get up to 81%. Additionally, fatty fish are one of the best dietary recommendations due to their high content of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both substances are valued for their benefits in reducing inflammation. What makes them so powerful in improving sleep quality? The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, as both have been shown to increase serotonin production. In fact, there is a study, in which men who ate 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of Atlantic salmon three times a week for 6 months fell asleep about 10 minutes faster than men who ate chicken, beef or pig. Given this, the experts concluded that eating a few ounces of fatty fish before bed is a great dietary addition to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. More studies are needed to reach a definitive conclusion on the ability of fatty fish to improve sleep.
Salmon in a walnut crust./Photo: Pixabay
4. White rice
White rice is not only the most popular grain and consumed as part of the basic food basket in many countries. It is an accessible, very nutritious and generous food. ANDWhite rice contains a decent amount of important vitamins and minerals. A 4-ounce (79-gram) serving of white rice provides 19% of the daily needs for folic acid and 21% of the daily needs for thiamine. One of the great nutritional qualities of rice lies in its richness in carbohydrates, providing 22 grams in a 4-ounce serving. So that the combination of its high carbohydrate content and lack of fiber, contribute to its high glycemic index (GI). While these types of foods may not be the best recommendation for glucose levels and body weight, research has found the following: Eating foods with a high glycemic index like white rice, at least 1 hour before bedtime can help improve the quality of your sleep. In fact, there is a study that proves this, in which the sleep habits of 1,848 people were compared according to their intake of rice, bread or noodles. The findings were surprising as higher rice intake was associated with better sleep than bread or noodles, including longer sleep duration. Remember to always consume it in moderation and in addition to foods rich in fiber.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.