Q: After a long day at work, it can sometimes be hard to wind down. Are there any foods that we can eat that will help our minds to relax and help us to sleep?
Melatonin, the hormone that helps with regulating sleep cycles, can help with relaxation and sleeping. Kiwifruit are natural melatonin boosters and two kiwifruit as a post dinner snack can help give you a better sleep at night.
Magnesium is crucial in helping the body to relax and de-stress - however many people are deficient in magnesium. Two Zespri kiwifruit contain more than 20mg of magnesium which makes them a great and easy snack to help you de-stress after a hard day at the office.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the brain to produce serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical that calms you down and aids in relaxation. Good sources of serotonin can be found in high protein foods such as chicken, eggs, fish and beans. The highest source of tryptophan is a turkey, which explains why after a heavy meal with meat, one always feels sleepy.
Serotonin is also produced by carbohydrates. Eating a small amount of rice or pasta in the evening can aid in relaxation - whole grain carbohydrates and protein at dinner will help one to relax and sleep.
Milk also helps one to relax as it has tryptophan and carbohydrates.
Answers provided by Pooja Vig, Nutritionist at The Nutrition Clinic.