Nutrition plays an important role in our mental health. Poor nutrition can negatively impact our mental health, and proper nutrition can actually improve mental health.
Sleep is an important component of staying healthy mentally, and what we eat can impact the quality of the sleep we are getting.
You should look for wholesome foods that have been shown to boost your mood, but also your overall health. Choosing healthy, whole foods instead of sugar and processed foods will in both the short and long run.
Let’s explore what foods help improve sleep, as well as a few to avoid.
- Fatty fish: Fatty fish may help sleep by providing vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are involved in the body’s regulation of serotonin. Choose salmon and tuna.
- Rice & Protein: A combination of a moderate amount protein that has tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid, and carbohydrates may make it easier for the tryptophan to reach the brain.
- Nuts: Nuts contain melatonin as well as the essential minerals magnesium and zinc that are essential to a range of bodily processes. Trials have found that a combination of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc helped older adults with insomnia get better sleep.
- Tart Cherries or Tart Cherry Juice: Tart cherries have been found to have above-average concentrations of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep.
- Kiwi: It is not known for sure why kiwis may help with sleep, but researchers believe that it could relate to their antioxidant properties, ability to address folate deficiencies, and/or high concentration of serotonin.
- Caffeine: limit your caffeine in the afternoon and evening to help make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
- Alcohol: alcohol can throw off sleep cycles and your circadian rhythm, so drink in moderation for your best sleeps.
- Late night eating: eating too late can throw off sleep if you’re still digesting at bedtime. Be especially careful with spicy and fatty foods late in the evening to avoid acid reflux.
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