Weight Loss: 15 Best Foods To Eat Before Sleep!

Discussion in 'Dietetics' started by Riham, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Riham

    Riham Bronze Member

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    Whether you're lying in bed all night long because you can't stop thinking about that big presentation at work tomorrow or you're worrying about your kid's school report, losing out on some ZZZs may set you up for a miserable day of nutrition and unwelcome weight gain.

    Besides being unbearably cranky the next day, the later we go to sleep and the less restful sleep we catch also makes us more likely to be overweight. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found when people miss out on shut-eye, it makes them eye more calorie-dense meals the next day. While many Americans suffer from stress-induced or nutrient-deficiency-induced insomnia, another reason you're counting sheep every night might be because of what you ate before bed.

    That's right. It's not just the blue light from your devices' screens that can sabotage your sleep cycle. As it turns out, what you choose to snack on before bedtime can play a big role in how well you hit the hay. If you can't sleep and can't figure out why, look no farther than some of the following sneaky foods that can ruin a restorative night's rest.

    And while some foods are ruining your chance at some shut-eye, there are other nocturnal noshes that will help you get more of it. Forget what you've heard about the "don't eat past 8" rule, eating before bed is not necessarily a diet no-no. Contrarily, going to bed hungry may have worse consequences when it comes to a restful night's sleep. Eating one of the best foods before bed may help you ease into dream-land. And when you're getting the right amount of rest, you'll be able to make the right nutritional decisions the next day, like making one of these healthy breakfasts!


    FIRST… THE BEST



    For a restful night, nosh on these healthy foods and sip these smart drinks.

    1- Don't sleep while you're feeling Hungry
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    Going to bed hungry may actually hurt your slim-down efforts. On one hand you save yourself some calories, but on the other, a rumbling stomach could prevent you from falling asleep or wake you up mid-slumber. A restless or shortened sleep can confuse your metabolism enough to promote weight gain. Not only that, but starving yourself of energy causes your brain to get hungry, and it signals your body to delve into its lean muscle stores for fuel. Go with a light snack around 200 calories of any of the following foods. It's substantial enough to keep hunger pangs at bay through the night, but not so heavy that it will disrupt your sleep.

    2-KIWI
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    Get under the down comforter with this sleep-inducing food from Down Under. Participants who consumed two kiwifruits 1 hour before bedtime nightly for 4 weeks fell asleep 35 percent faster than those who didn't eat the New Zealand fruit. Besides being rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E, it also contains a familiar hormone, serotonin. This sleep hormone is related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and its low levels may cause insomnia. Similarly, kiwi is rich in folate, and insomnia is one of the health issues that is a symptom of folate deficiency.

    3- CHERRIES
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    Sleep is a huge part of making any diet and exercise plan work, as it allows your body to process and recover from all the sweat and breakdown of muscle. And cherries are the perfect fruit for the job. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank just one ounce of tart cherry juice a day reported that they slept longer and more soundly than those who didn't. So what's going on here? Cherries act as a natural sleep aid thanks to their melatonin content, a naturally produced hormone that signals to our bodies that it's time for bed. So enjoy a cup of cherries for dessert—they'll help you maintain your toned physique by replacing less virtuous desserts and moving along your snooze process.

    4- CEREAL AND SKIM MILK
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    Although it's considered a breakfast option, a low-sugar cereal paired with skim milk is a perfect bedtime snack. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which serves as a precursor for the hormone serotonin, a sleep-inducing agent. (Just make sure your milk is skim. Higher fat whole milk will take your body longer to digest, keeping your body working late rather than snoozing.)

    And according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a high-glycemic carb like jasmine rice (or rice cereal) 4 hours before bed can cut the amount of time it takes to fall asleep in half compared to a low-GI food. This is because high-glycemic carbs, which spike insulin and blood sugar more quickly than low-GI foods, can help increase the ratio of tryptophan circulating in your blood by siphoning off other amino acids to your muscles. This lets the tryptophan outcompete those other amino acids for entrance into your brain, allowing more of the sedative to signal it's time to put your head to the pillow.

    5- BANANAS
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    "Sleep aid" is #17 on the list of 21 Amazing Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Bananas. Because they're an excellent source of both potassium and magnesium, bananas can put your body into a sleepy state by helping with muscle relaxation. In a study in the Journal of Research and Medical Sciences, magnesium had a positive effect on the quality of sleep in older adults with insomnia by extending the time they spent sleeping in bed (rather than just lying there) and making it easier to wake up. Bananas also contain tryptophan, the precursor to calming and sleep-regulating hormones serotonin and melatonin.

    6- ALMONDS
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    Another great muscle-relaxing magnesium source? Nuts! Cashews and peanuts are good, but almonds are great. That's because almonds are also high in calcium. This tag team works together to calm the body and relax muscles. Calcium plays its role by helping the brain convert the amino acid tryptophan into sleep-inducing melatonin. This also explains why dairy products which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.

    7- SPINACH
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    Yet another reason to love this versatile food. With its long list of sleep-inducing nutrients, spinach is an insomniac's best friend. Not only is it a source of tryptophan, the green is an excellent source of folate, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C, which are all key co-factors in synthesizing serotonin, and subsequently, melatonin. Spinach also contains glutamine, an amino acid which stimulates the body to get rid of the cellular toxins that lead to sleeplessness. When it comes to how to cook spinach, high heat is known to break down glutamine as well as vitamins C and B, so be sure to eat spinach raw—combine with a banana and almond milk for the perfect before-bed snack.

    8- POULTRY
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    Don't count sheep, eat lamb! (Or better yet, a bit of turkey.) Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meats, has demonstrated powerful sleep-inducing effects. A recent study among insomniacs found that just 1/4 gram—about what you'll find in a skinless chicken drumstick or three ounces of lean turkey meat—was enough to significantly increase hours of deep sleep. And that can translate into an easy slim-down. Pair your source of tryptophan with a carbohydrate-rich food like brown rice (also high in sleep-supporting magnesium and vitamins B3 and B6) to enhance the eye-shutting effects.

    9- LOW-FAT YOGURT AND GRANOLA
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    For a tryptophan triple treat, combine low fat yogurt, honey-sweetened granola, and some banana. Yogurt, honey, oats and bananas all contain tryptophan, and the carbs from the banana and whole grain granola will help the tryptophan-rich foods get absorbed by the brain. Oat's tryptophan content is even higher when it's left uncooked. So instead of overnight oats, make them during the day!

    10- PEANUT BUTTER ON WHOLE GRAIN
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    The "whole" part is important. Whole grains include the germ of the grain, which is removed during the refining of whole wheat grains into white flour. This germ includes important B vitamins such as folate and vitamin B6—both important micronutrients required for proper absorption of tryptophan—as well as magnesium to loosen your muscles. Pair it with tryptophan-containing peanut butter (and perhaps some bananas and honey) to help you catch some ZZZs.

    11- COTTAGE CHEESE
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    Completely avoiding food before bedtime can actually be bad for your weight loss goals. Have a little cottage cheese before bed. Not only is it rich in casein protein—a slow releasing milk protein that will keep a rumbling tummy at bay through the night—it also contains the amino acid tryptophan. Mix it with hummus for a savory spread and an added tryptophan boost (the amino acid is also found in chickpeas!), or with guacamole for some muscle-relaxing magnesium!

    12- PASSIONFLOWER TEA
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    What ailment can't be solved with a cup of tea? At least not sleeplessness! Many herbal teas offer sedative effects through their flavones, flavanoids, and resins. For starters, passionflower tea has the flavone chrysin, which has wonderful anti-anxiety benefits and is mild sedative, helping you calm nervousness so you can sleep at night.

    13- LEMON BALM TEA
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    Another relaxing tea is lemon balm. A European study found that lemon balm serves as a natural sedative, and researchers reported that they observed reduced levels of sleep disorders among subjects using lemon balm versus those who were given a placebo.

    14- VALERIAN TEA
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    Valerian is an herb that's long been valued as a mild sedative, and now research is showing what tea enthusiasts have known for centuries. In a study of women, researchers gave half the test subjects a valerian extract, and half a placebo. Thirty percent of those who received valerian reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep, versus just 4 percent of the control group. While researchers have yet to identify the exact active ingredient, they suspect that receptors in the brain may be stimulated to hit "sleep mode" when coming in contact with valerian.

    15- HOP TEA
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    Legend has it that when workers were gathering hops for the master brewer's latest beer, they kept falling asleep on the job! People began to realize there was a sedative property to the hops, and they started using them in teas to aid with sleeplessness. Now, researchers found its pharmacological activity is due primarily to the bitter resins in its leaves. Acting in a similar way to melatonin, hops increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps combat anxiety. While hops have been used for centuries to aid with sleep, studies have only been able to prove its effectiveness when combined with valerian.

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