Its 1 a.m. and you’re wide-awake. Was it the latte you had at 2? Or the fact that you had your computer on until 10? Or maybe its the culmination of an overly-stressed week. Regardless of the culprit, the problem is the same—you can’t sleep and it’s driving you crazy.
Instead of reaching for the sleep meds, try adding these foods to your day—foods that focus on key minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, B vitamins, and tryptophan.
1. Bananas are rich in potassium and B-vitamins and can help with mineral imbalance. If you have leg cramping, bananas are a must. Try having a banana at night for your sweet and enjoy some sweet shut-eye.
2. Brown Rice. Sorry Paleo eaters. Brown rice is rich in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) which helps calm the nervous system, quieting an over-active body and mind.
3. Cherries. So back to the melatonin debate- cherries help your body release natural stores of melatonin, helping rebalance your body clock and natural rhythms.
4. Oats. Oatmeal also helps your body release natural sleep-inducing hormones; eating it closer to bedtime will provide the greatest benefit.
5. Walnuts. Rich in tryptophan (like turkey), walnuts can help your body manufacture serotonin which in turn will create a natural inclination to rest.
This delicious, tangy spread packs the one-two power-punch of walnuts and carrots. Rich in plant-based omega-3 oils and beta-carotene, the walnut and carrot combination provides a new way to spread on those phytonutrients and antioxidants. Serve on whole-grain bread, pita, flatbread, or tortilla with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and Dijon mustard for a terrific vegetarian sandwich. Or enjoy it as an appetizer on whole-grain crackers or vegetables.
Wendy Bazilian is a doctor of public health, registered dietitian, American College of Sports Medicine certified Exercise Physiologist and freelance writer in San Diego. She is an expert advisor to the spa industry and co-owns Bazilian’s Health Clinic with her husband and business partner, Dr. Jason Bazilian. Dr. Wendy is co-author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean (Rodale, 2015) and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale).
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