Plant-Based Sources of Food to Boost Your Sleep: Animal vs. Plant-Based Sources

So in my last newsletter/post, I spoke about the benefits of animal-based proteins and dairy foods to enhance sleep.

The main reason is due to animal-based protein and dairy being great sources of tryptophan.

Tryptophan eventually converts into a hormone called melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone that we produce naturally in response to dark hours of the day.

But, certain health issues and natural processes such as menopause and getting older unfortunately reduces levels of melatonin.

A reduction of melatonin may appear as restless sleep or sleeping less than 8 hours a night!

And when I say less than 8 hours of sleep I will separate this as being lack of quality sleep and not waking up feeling fresh.

Some people thrive on less than 8 hours of sleep (me included)!

So in the last post/newsletter, I focused more on animal-based eaters.

And to be honest animal-based eaters have an advantage over plant-based eaters when it comes to tryptophan.

Plant based sources aren’t a great supply of tryptophan, unfortunately.

But where there’s a will there’s a way.

So with will running through my veins, I’ll give you a few sources.

So the best sources of tryptophan for plant-based eaters are beans and lentils (legumes), nuts, wheat and oats.

So a bowl of porridge sprinkled with nuts and seeds an hour or two before bed would be a great selection!

Almond butter with 2 slices of wholemeal bread would be another great selection before bed.

Now whole-grain carbohydrates are great options for tryptophan.

Wholegrains like pasta, bread, oats, and cereals will contain tryptophan, although less than in animal-based produce.

But whole grains when eaten with protein-based foods rich in tryptophan help with the transfer of tryptophan into the bloodstream!

The reason is that tryptophan is quite a weak amino acid (proteins break down to become amino acids).

So tryptophan isn’t the only amino acid in these foods.

Imagine these amino acids pushing through a crowd trying to see the entertainment at the front of the crowd.

Well, this is what’s happening in your body. There’s a competition to see which amino acid can get into the bloodstream first.

And with tryptophan being so weak it often gets shoved to the side as it’s competing with stronger amino acids.

So the use of wholegrains can make this easier as wholegrains provide a helping hand to tryptophan.

So whether you’re an animal-based eater or plant-based eater it’s a good idea to have a whole grain carbohydrate as part of the team.

And I must stress whole grain complex carbohydrates like wheat or oats!

When we’re struggling with sleep the first thing we want to grab are sweet foods!

“I’ll have a hot chocolate that will help!”

But sweet foods and drinks are refined carbohydrates which can further disrupt your sleep!

The PubMed website says:

“higher intakes of added sugars and refined grains predicted higher insomnia risk, while higher intakes of fruit and fiber were associated with favorable sleep quality outcomes.”

So instead of grabbing the chocolate, it would be best to grab a banana.

And listen I’m not dictating here, do what you will in the situation you’re dealing with.

I get it, at times a bar of chocolate is all you need!

But if you could work hard to change that habit to fruit it would be beneficial to your sleep!

Think of the goal ahead!

You want better quality sleep to enhance your health and well-being!

OK, so I hope my suggestions will help!

I wish there was more I could say to help plant-based eaters.

But it is what it is when it comes to food, unfortunately!

There is supplementation and I’ll dive into that at a later date!

Anyway, I hope you can add these suggestions to your life!

Wishing you a happy peaceful sleep!

Over and out for this newsletter.

I’ll be back very soon,

Cheryl 👋 🙂


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