August 9, 2016 1:38 AM

Plant Based Foods to Help You Sleep Soundly

It's not getting to sleep that's the problem, it's STAYING asleep. It's terrible waking up at 3:00am when all of your problems seem to have increased 10-fold. Good luck getting those zzzz's back.

Have you ever thought that perhaps what you eat for dinner might help you stay asleep? Turns out that you have a little more control than you think, just add more plants to your plate. 

 

"So what makes plant-based foods so beneficial for sleep? Complex carbohydrates stimulate the release of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that calms your brain and helps you sleep. So building your dinner around starchy foods, like pasta, rice, and potatoes, will help you doze off and stay asleep through the night."

"While many people believe that high-protein meals are key to getting a good night’s rest, the opposite is true. High-protein foods block the brain’s ability to produce serotonin. Because high-protein foods contain more amino acids, tryptophan—the amino acid that eventually turns into serotonin—is crowded out of the brain. As a result, high-protein foods will leave you feeling alert."


Understanding that the word 'starch' or 'carbohydrate' is not desirable, remember that it is one of the brain's primary sources of energy and it only has 4 calories per gram. So, how do you eat a big bowl of pasta, without feeling weighted down and sluggish? Crowd it out with vegetables. Here I've created a Mediterranean Pasta Bowl using 1/2 penne and 1/2 vegetables (Swiss Chard, red bell pepper, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichokes and a little bit of marinara) and finally sprinkled a few raw pumpkin seeds on top. 


Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta


Some other foods that promote restful sleep:


Bananas

Their potassium and magnesium promote muscle relaxation and help the body prepare for sleep.

 

Cherry Juice

Recent studies have lead some researchers to begin promoting cherry juice as a natural treatment for insomnia. This is because they are one of the richest natural sources of melatonin, one of the hormones that regulates the sleep cycle.

 

Seeds

A magnesium deficiency can cause sleeplessness, and seeds are a rich source of this vital nutrient. Pumpkin, sesame and flax seed consumption is a great way to increase magnesium in the diet which can help promote restful and uninterrupted sleep. Some seeds, like pumpkin, also contain the amino acid tryptophan, which can also help improve the quality of sleep.

 

Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafs are all rich in folate (a B-vitamin) and many studies have linked to improved sleep patterns. Folate also helps those battling chronic fatigue and of course all these vegetables for rich in vitamins, mineral and dietary fiber.


Sources: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Natural News

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