Do you know that you probably already have foods with melatonin in your kitchen? Melatonin is part of the body’s natural clock, which helps to speed up the natural processes of winding down at the end of the day, and getting some healthy sleep.
But how often do our bodies run like we want them to?
Many of us, with restless sleep histories, might be suffering from a melatonin deficiency without even realizing it.
But there’s no reason to reach for melatonin supplements just yet, especially when you might be able to strike a hormonal balance by simply changing your diet. Here are 12 foods with melatonin to feast on for better sleep!
12 Foods with Melatonin
Delicious and nutritious, these foods with melatonin make the perfect bedtime snack – and come with other health benefits as well.
Generally speaking, pineapple is one of the healthiest fruits you can inappropriately gorge on at your desk throughout the day – as well as being known for its digestive boosts, pineapple is oozing melatonin (more so than oats or bananas, which we’ll get to), and makes for a delicious snack food!
Bananas are packed to bursting with good stuff like potassium, magnesium and anti-oxidants, which in turn are converted, in the brain, to serotonin and melatonin. This is why bananas (and their peels) are often recommended for depression, by the way.
Not to mention they contain vitamin B6, another vital ingredient for food which can help promote healthy sleep.
Sticking with the theme of things you might find in a balanced breakfast (if you want a swift combination of both option two and three: I’ve always been partial to a bowl of porridge and bananas for a solid start to the day).
Oats, and in particular oatmeal/porridge, are incredibly common and yet are another little food that punches well beyond its weight: complex carbohydrate, aids in insulin production, Vitamin B6 and, of course, melatonin.
Tomatoes are another food that comes filled with vitamin B6 and our favorite hormone, melatonin.
You’d be surprised just how many meals have tomatoes as one of their base ingredients, and how many ways you’ll find yourself incorporating the sucker from now on. They really do go with almost anything!
Turns out there is some truth to that old idea of a warm cup of milk before bed. Although dairy foods in general are regarded to be great for getting nice and sleepy (particularly cottage cheese), milk contains many of the same amino acids as bananas or oats… Can you guess which hormone those amino acids help to produce?
Tart cherry juice is often recommended as a potent natural sleep aid (with studies like this backing it up), but even regular cherries have been found to contribute a substantial boost to the melatonin production of the body.
Kind of a win/win – they’re one of the foods highest in melatonin and when you gotta admit that the best things in life are often cherry flavored.
Another fruit (it can’t all be milk and cherries): oranges, as we know, are soaked in vitamins and calcium, but they’re also part of the arsenal of foods that act as a catalyst over the brain’s melatonin production.
If in season, try blood oranges, too. The darker they are, the more antioxidants you can expect to digest.
Here we go; we’re finally into fashionable superfoods. Goji berries have been the supposed answer to hundreds of different health-diet related questions and to add to all their other talents, they’ve also been found to pack a pretty solid punch regarding melatonin, too.
Plus, they’re delicious and can be sprinkled generously on top of pretty much everything – salads, oats, soups, smoothies – or just greedily consumed out of the bag.
There’s a reason rice is the staple diet of many cultures around the world; it’s a hugely effective resource of energy and vitamins at an affordable, easy cost.
Amongst the many different types, Jasmine rice often comes out on top for its melatonin/sleep inducing effects, not to mention that it forms only part of a meal, allowing you to add more melatonin rich or otherwise healthy ingredients on top!
Much like rice, there’s a whole world of diversity out there for nuts and most of them rank high on the list of foods with melatonin, due to their wide and varied supply of tryptophan (amino-acid that can promote sleepiness), Vitamin B6 and melatonin inducing qualities.
Our favorite nuts for sleep aid are pine nuts, which are especially great for your pineal gland (you know, the gland that makes melatonin).
Again, much like cut-up pineapple, they can also make for a filling and handy snack food! Mix ’em up with some goji berries for a nutritious and sleep-aiding snack mix.
This one was actually under some scientific scrutiny for a while, but has since been proven to be a solid vessel for melatonin according to this study by Food Chemistry.
Better still, extra virgin olive oil is found to possess nearly double the levels of other types of oils used in cooking.
I saved the good news for last. Research points to the grape content being the cause of most wines’ traces of melatonin.
However, this one might be a double edged sword, as most sleep recommendations will suggest avoiding alcohol completely before bed, which prompts the question of whether wine’s melatonin count is actually relevant.
I guess it’s up to you to try it out and answer that one for yourself. Bottoms up 🙂