Woman with insomnia

Foods That Fight Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you may look back nostalgically on Thanksgiving nights falling asleep in front of the TV with the taste of sweet potato casserole still lingering on your tongue. While it’s easy to understand how the concept of self-induced food coma may seem tempting to the sleep deprived, it may not be the best health option, and there is only so much leftover turkey one can take.

However, that is not to say there is not a link between eating and sleeping. There is scientific proof that certain foods are more conducive to sleep than others. But before you establish running credit at the deli counter, you may want to know your options.

Walnuts
No only do walnuts contain heart-healthy fats, they also have been found to contain melatonin, a bodily hormone that plays a role in regulating sleep cycle. Dr. Erin Palinski Wade, RD, CDE says, “Try snacking on a small handful about 20 minutes before bed to help you relax and reach a deeper state of restful sleep.”

Walnuts

Bananas
In addition to having high levels of serotonin and melatonin, bananas are also packed with magnesium. Magnesium promotes sleep by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone know to interrupt sleep patterns. Although eating the fruit itself has its calming benefits, most of the sleep-inducing power is in the peel. The daring may consider sprinkling banana peels with cinnamon to make them more palatable.

Tart Cherry Juice
A study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology tracked the effectiveness of tart cherry juice, which contains melatonin, on older adult insomniacs. The participants who were given 8 oz of tart cherry juice twice a day slept an average of 87 minutes longer each night than those who received a placebo. Nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD, explains, “Other study data has shown a significant elevation in melatonin in groups consuming cherry juice.”

Basil
Palinski Wade says, ” The plant contains sedative properties, which can help you fall and stay asleep. And as a bonus, it not only helps promote sleep, but is great for reducing indigestion,” a further sleep interrupter. She continues, “Research on this shows the sedative properties come mostly form the hydroalcoholic extract and essential oil of O. basilicum.” She points out that liquid basil extracts are available at the market and can “be used to flavor food, as a supplement, or as an essential oil.

Basil

Milk
It seems the common beliefs about the sleep-promoting abilities of milk are not without merit. “Milk may control melatonin production since it is a great source of calcium, ” Palinski-Wade explains. “Milk is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which has a calming effect on the body.”

Vitamin B6
According to Mary Hartley, RD, ” When we fall asleep, levels of serotonin rise and adrenaline levels fall. Serotonin, the relaxing hormone, is partly made from the amino acid, tryptophan, which is activated by Vitamin B6.” Fortunately, B6 can be found in a wide variety of foods, such as potatoes, fortified breakfast cereal, chicken, fish, peanut butter, fish, bananas, and several vegetables, so deficiencies are uncommon.

Do you go to the fridge when insomnia strikes? Tell us about it. And let us know how the cinnamon banana peels turned out!

Woman eating bananas

You Should Eat More Bananas

It has been said that you should never make eye contact with another person while eating a banana. That really says a lot about bananas. Despite its physical disadvantage, not to mention a very short shelf life, bananas still rise. Perhaps it is because they have a thick skin? (ha) Joke about them as we may, bananas continue to be one of the most beloved and most importantly traded food in the world. So what is it about the yellow fruit that makes it so widely cherished? Is it the wonderful taste? The low maintenance? The ability to go so well with ice cream? Perhaps all of the above and perhaps some of the following health benefits of bananas:

Potassium
Bananas are loaded with potassium. That means they can counteract the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure and maintain heart function, lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack. In fact, even the US Food and Drug Administration has to concede that banana’s ability to regulate blood pressure is far more powerful that of any drug that produce. According to research conducted by the American Heart Association, bananas can cut the risk of stroll by 20%.

Increased Energy
If you are an avid tennis watcher, you may just find your favorite player munching on a banana between sets. That’s because the banana’s natural sugar and soluble fiber provide for a slow stable energy release. Bananas have a glycemic index of about 52, which gives them enough of a kick to the system without spiking blood sugar. They also contain about 24 g of carbs which increases with the banana’s ripeness.

Skin Conditions
Did you know banana skin can be effective in treating psoriasis and acne? Just rub a freshly peeled inside of the peel over the affected area and allow your skin to absorb the residue. The fatty acids in bananas can relieve a large variety of skin conditions.
You can also use a banana peel treatment to heal warts. Just rub a piece of banana peel over the wart and tape it firmly in place. Leave it on overnight every night for a week or until the wart disappears.

Improved Mood
If you have reservations about turkey this holiday season, you can get your tryptophan kick from bananas. The human body converts tryptophan into serotonin, which helps reduce stress,raise levels of happiness, and help regulate sleep patterns.

Vitamin B6
Just one banana contains a full fifth of the daily does of B6. That’s good news because B6 creates hemoglobin for healthy blood. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels,synthesizing amino acids and producing antibodies to help boost your immune system.

If you believe in the health benefits of bananas, we would love to get your input. We can never hear enough about banana appeel (appeal-get it?) We love to hear from you as always!