Showing posts with label minerals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label minerals. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Foods That Help You Sleep

For those of us who are not great sleepers, or those who have more than their share of "bad nights", we know how valuable a good night’s sleep is.  You read of the many ways to get to sleep, but as a person with sleeping problems; it took me years to find a way to help me sleep on a regular basis.

sleep foods
Add these fruits when you're nutty without a good night's sleep.
I believe we are NOT powerless to help ourselves in this situation though.  And from years of studying and personal experience, I  know what we eat can go a long way toward solving the problem all together.  When I eat right, I sleep right:  just food, juices, and smoothies.  For me, it took some time of ingesting these sleep producing foods before sleepless nights became a thing of the past, but after years of struggle, I finally knew what it was to get a "good night’s sleep."

So what are the foods that help you sleep better when our head hits the pillow?
  • Cherries:  They contain a significant amount of melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland at the base of the brain that influences your sleep cycle. Make them “tart cherries”, and you get even more bang for your buck.
  • Bananas: This versatile fruit is packed with nutritional properties. The sleep aids contained in this, most common of fruits, are: potassium and magnesium, natural muscle relaxants.  L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps the body in producing serotonin and melatonin. Eating one in the evening is especially helpful. Try it blended with a little milk and a couple of dates and you’ve got yourself a delicious Bedtime Smoothie.
  • Dates:  Dates are another natural source of l-tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a critical component for getting good sleep and a happy life.
  • Figs:  These tasty morsels are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. So, indulge yourself.
  • Nuts:  Almonds, a particularly good source of l-tryptophan and magnesium, are great to munch on at bedtime. Try drinking almond milk in place of cow’s milk. You can either make it yourself, or buy it from the store. Use it as the base for the Bedtime Smoothie (see below). What a delicious way to get the nutrients you need for a sound sleep.
  • Chia Seeds:  An l-tryptophan winner. They are good for you for so many reasons. Using them as a sleep aid is just one more reason to give them a try. Sprinkle some over your salads, mix them in your smoothies, or even drop a teaspoon of them into your fruit juices. You’ll be surprised by the delightful bit of texture they bring to anything. This one is a Dr. Oz favorite.
  • Sweet Potato:  In some arenas, the sweet potato is considered a Superfood, and its high content of l-tryptophan is one of the reasons vegetarians worldwide make this food a staple.  It is also the double whammy in a thanksgiving dinner when served alongside the turkey. Talk about nap time. It was the sweet potato that was my sleep aid of choice when I first decided to tackle my sleep problems with food. I ate it every day for about two weeks, and soon sweet sleep swept into my life, and I was able to slam the door on insomnia.
  • Yogurt with Granola:  This yummy combination can activate neurotransmitters in the brain that signal it is time to go to sleep. Not to mention the beneficial bacteria that makes for a happy digestive track, which in itself, can lead to a sounder night’s sleep.
  • Oatmeal:  While most people eat it for breakfast, what they don’t know is, it is a natural for an evening snack. Because it’s rich in melatonin it makes a great sleep aid. It also has the advantage of being a carbohydrate loaded snack which raises your blood sugar increasing your insulin levels, only to have sugar levels fall, and like a beautiful dance it releases chemicals in the brain that lull you into a sweet sleep.
So the next time you have sleep problems, take a look in your own refrigerator, pantry, or cupboard for these awesome natural sleep aids. Your answer may be right there, just waiting for you to take a bite. 

Here is a healthy recipe with a few of the foods with melatonin to help you sleep.

Bedtime Smoothie Recipe:

1 C Almond Milk (or regular milk)
½ C Water
3-5 dates
1 small banana
Dash of Vanilla

Sleep Tight!

Gwendolyn Adams
First Level Raw Nutrition Certification
Advanced Practitioner of Health through Nutrition, Exercise and Education
Yoga, Cycling, Group Exercise and Personal Trainer Certified

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fruit-tastic - Watermelon News for Your Summer Health

BE SURE TO READ TO THE BOTTOM - THERE'S A CONTEST INVOLVED!

Summer is probably my most favorite time of year!  Not only because it is hot and sunny, but oh - the food!  Creativity on the barbecue is key!  I grab fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans from the garden; visit the local farms and pick fresh fruit.

This turns in to fresh strawberries over homemade short cake, grilled zucchini and peaches on the grill.   Soooo many choices of healthy, juicy, luscious foods to add into my diet that makes me feel good and improves my health.

I agree with Krysta's blog on Monday about watermelon becoming a food group (nutrition.gov) in the summer.  It has to be my favorite - I can eat a half of one every day!  I eat it, juice it, add it to other recipes - the options are endless.  But this fruit isn't just a good tasting treat on a hot day.  The nutritional properties of watermelon can improve your health.  For beginners, a one cup serving size of watermelon has:
  • Only 46 Calories; 0 grams Fat and Cholesterol; 11 grams Carbohydrates; 1 gram Dietary Fiber; 1   gram Protein; 2 mg Sodium; 865 IU Vitamin A; Less 1 mg of Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamin and Vitamin B6; 12 mg Vitamin C; 11 mg Calcium; 170 mg Potassium; 7,481 micrograms Carotenoids
So how does this amazing fruit improve health?

Because it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids (proteins) such as L-Citruline, which creates L-arginine, and Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. (You may be saying "HUH?" on the last few - but read below and I will share.)

Watermelon is full of nutritional benefits.

Like what you ask?  It is good for:
  • Arthritis, kidney and bladder issues - because it is 92% water it is a natural diuretic thus reducing inflammation. This is also great for pregnant women and water retention.
  • Cholesterol - A University of Kentucky (Oct. 2011) study showed that watermelon in mice reduced fat mass and cholesterol.  Watermelon also provides good HDL cholesterol. 
  • Asthma and overall healing - the antioxidants, Vitamin C, A, and Carotenoids by combating free radicals.
  • Blood pressure, prehypertension, and atherosclerosis - According to the American Journal of Hypertension, Dr. Arturo Figueroa, lead food scientist, from Florida State University conducted a study which indicated that eating watermelon can help reduce these risks aiding in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Cancer (prostate cancer) - the pink middle (in most watermelons) or meat of the melon is high in lycopene and carotenoids reduces the risk of cancer especially prostate cancer.
  • It is even good for skin care - just rub it on your face and leave the juice on for 10 minutes before washing to help control blemishes.
Watermelon minerals vitamins
Watermelon a great summer snack and Lycopene rich food.
The list of health benefits goes on.  The bottom line is - watermelon isn't just my favorite sweet, refreshing, fiber filled treat.  It is a really HEALTHY treat!  And there about 100 varieties to choose from.

CONTEST STARTS HERE!
There are hundreds of recipes on the Web, but please share with me some of your favorite recipes using watermelon!!  Then we will have everyone vote on the recipes. (Voting link forthcoming.)  The recipe with the most votes will be posted on the FamilyWize Facebook page and will receive a $25 Gift Card from Barnes & Noble!

Contest begins today and ends June 30th!  We will share the winner in time for your July 4th picnic!

Be sure to subscribe to our blog.  We will be sharing great topics as we grow our blog!

Donna
Online Marketing Manager

*Please note:  even though watermelon is a great source of nutrients, it is not a replacement for your prescription medications, so do not give those up.