Getting around 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is extremely important for good health. In fact, the effects of lack of sleep range from fatigue to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. However, getting the amount of sleep we really need can be difficult - even when we take precautions against poor rest - if we’re lacking the necessary nutrients that promote good sleep.
While taking supplements can help with this problem, by utilizing superfoods to get what we need, we can provide our bodies with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help support our body’s healthy functioning. More specifically, incorporating certain superfoods into our diet can provide our bodies with the nutrients necessary for good sleep.
For example, derived directly from pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed protein powder is a nutrient-filled source of vegetable protein that is highly digestible, gluten, soy and dairy free. While we don’t usually think of protein powders as keys to a good night sleep, pumpkin seed protein powder is jam-packed with tryptophan, an amino acid that interacts with chemicals in our brains to promote a healthy circadian sleep cycle. This amino acid increases melatonin and serotonin levels, both of which help protect us from insomnia and depression. Therefore, incorporating 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin seed protein powder into your daily life, such as in this healthy pumpkin spice latte, can help promote better sleep.
Additionally, our cashew butter is known for promoting a healthy cardiovascular system and strong bones while decreasing muscle cramps and soreness as well as overactive nerves. However, it’s the levels of magnesium, an essential mineral, in cashew butter which help us get a better night’s sleep by promoting healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes restful sleep. It’s not uncommon for individuals - especially women - to have lower-than-average magnesium levels, so eating cashew butter in place of peanut butter, for example, could help us get the magnesium we need.
A lesser-known superfood that works a bit like cashew butter, ashwagandha root powder is taken to decrease the effects of stress and promote a feeling of overall well-being more than any other. In fact, Ayurvedic healers have been using ashwagandha root for its benefits for thousands of years. More specifically, ashwagandha contains a chemical substance called Withaferin-A, which stimulates the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, helping to promote the movement of GABA, much like cashew butter. Additionally, ashwagandha root powder helps with a restful sleep by decreasing stress, which often keeps us awake, while keeping blood sugar levels normal, as unstable blood sugar levels can keep us awake at night.
Finally, while superfoods are noted for their high levels of antioxidants, mangosteen powder is certainly an exception, with a whopping 2,510 ORAC score, a rating almost unheard of in a fruit. This ORAC score is all thanks to mangosteen’s high levels of xanthones, vital compounds in the fight against disease and compromised cells. This is important because these compounds also work for the chemicals in the brain that are responsible for inducing sleep. Keeping these chemicals healthy is important for fighting against insomnia.
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