Eat Well, Sleep Well!

We all know that a glass of our favourite wine or a cup of cappuccino can be a recipe for a sleepless night. But did you know that there are some foods that are associated with good sleep, too? We’re often told that our sleeping patterns depend on how much we workout during the day, or the amount of time we spend in the sun and the time we go to bed. But apart from these factors, food plays an essential role in helping us get adequate sleep. Research shows that good sleep is linked to the type of food you eat and the time you eat it. Do you sometimes experience sleepless nights, and wonder how to overcome this problem? Check out our list of foods that can help get your sleep patterns back on track.

Walnuts
This popular type of tree nut is known for its numerous health benefits. Walnuts contain iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, VitaminC, and Vitamin B. This nutrient-loaded nut is rich in tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that produces serotonin and melatonin – hormones that aid in good sleep. Research shows that walnuts produce their own source of melatonin that helps you get to sleep faster.

Walnuts can be incorporated into your daily diet in various ways; toss them into your favourite salad, add to your morning oatmeal with them, sprinkle them on top of sautéed veggies, or even add walnuts to pancakes! Here’s a simple recipe for walnut butter that can be used in place of peanut butter.

Ingredients: 2 cups of chopped raw walnuts, 1 tsp. honey and 1/4 tsp. salt

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Take one cup of walnuts and bake them for 8-10 minutes until you get a nice aromatic smell. Let it cool completely.
Place the remaining cup of raw walnuts along with the toasted nuts in a food processor and blend the mixture until it becomes a paste.
Add honey and salt to the paste and blend for another
20-30 seconds. Spread on toast, apple slices or anywhere else in place of peanut butter.

Fatty Fish
Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Some studies have found that better sleep is linked to high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish is also high in vitamin D; the combination of vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids increases the production of sleep-enhancing serotonin.

Fish can be eaten as grilled, poached, steamed, boiled, or baked. Here’s a simple, healthy, and delicious recipe for

Grilled Fish with Cilantro Sauce.*

Ingredients: Salmon, oil or non-stick cooking spray

Method:

Brush the fish with oil or spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the fish near the edge of the grill; keep it away from the hottest part of the fire. (Do not flip the fish immediately as it will stick to the grill.)

After a few minutes, once the fish starts to release some of its juices, flip it. Make sure you see light grill marks forming.

When it is completely done, place the fish on a plate and garnish with some fresh veggies and lemon.

*Recipe courtesy of: Allrecipes.com

Chamomile Tea
This famous herbal tea provides a variety of therapeutic benefits. Chamomile tea is often referred to as a Sleep-inducer as it consists of active phytochemicals. These chemicals affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with sleep and mood. Chamomile improves sleeping patterns, relieves depression, and enhances one’s mood.

Making chamomile tea is very easy. Just follow these simple steps to a healthier you.

Ingredients: 2 cups of water, 3 teaspoons of dried chamomile, and honey (optional)

Method:

Heat water on a high flame.
Once the water starts to boil, switch off heat and add some dried chamomile. Let it steep for a few minutes, depending on the strength desired.

Pour the tea into cups and add honey (if required).

The list of foods that can help promote a better, more restful sleep is quite lengthy. Try experimenting with almonds, tart cherry juice, kiwi, turkey, cheese and crackers, lettuce, pretzels, rice, dairy products, bananas, avocado, and spinach.   

 

- Akhila