Ever had a night where you toss and turn, lying awake until the early hours of the morning? If so, you probably remember how you felt the following day: a foggy brain, sluggish, and your body even seems to hurt. This is because sleep “plays a vital role in good health and well-being,” not just day to day, but throughout your entire life.
When you’re asleep your “body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.” Therefore, it makes sense that sleep deficiency or deprivation can cause catastrophic physical and mental issues. In fact, it’s been found that sleep deficiency “can raise your risk for some chronic health problems,” as well as affect “how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.”
Luckily, plant-based foods — such as bananas, whole grains, and green leafy veggies — have the ability to aid your journey towards a healthy sleep cycle! Here are some recipes from the Food Monster App to help you out:
Bananas are great sources of two sleep-promoting agents: tryptophan and magnesium. This Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting by Vaishali Honawar has that natural fruity sweetness and rich, thick peanut butter finish offering a healthy dose of tryptogphan and magnesium to help get you that shut-eye.
Source: Healthy Banana Bread
Along with bananas, walnuts are a great source of the “sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.” This vegan Healthy Banana Bread by Larice Feuerstein uses a whole half a cup of chopped walnuts on top of three whole bananas. Eat a slice of this after dinner to give you a better night’s sleep.
It’s not well known that cherries happen to be one of the richest sources of melatonin. This Caramom, Rosewater, and Sweet Cherry Lassi recipe — a yogurt-like delicious treat — by Claire Ragozzino has a whopping ten fresh cherries blended down into a thick sweet dessert. For the best sleep-based results, leave out the tablespoon of sweetener, as this may counter the melatonin effects!
Source: Low Fat Whole Wheat Carrot Bread
This Low Fat Whole Wheat Carrot Bread by Vaishali Honawar also happens to be packed with three cups of whole wheat flour. The trick is the fiber! The more satisfied your tummy is, the healthier your digestive system will be, and the better you’ll sleep.
Source: Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto
It’s not just melatonin and fiber that give you that restful shut-eye, but also magnesium. Not only does this essential mineral aid in sleep by increasing the neurotransmitter GABA, but it has also been shown to reduce restless leg syndrome. Where can you find magnesium? Seeds! This Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto recipe by Kibby Miller uses over a cup of magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds, paired with gut friend apple-cider vinegar and healthy fat filled extra-virgin olive oil.
Walnuts aren’t the only nuts to get you to sleep at night. Almonds also have sleep-inducing melatonin and they provide healthy fat, dietary fiber, and calcium. Daniela Modesto mixes sleep-friendly almonds with phytonutrient-rich cauliflower in this Cauliflower Couscous with Almond and Apricots.
Chamomile tea is a traditional sleep and relaxation aid. This Chamomile Panna Cotta with Citrus Fruits by Maikki Vasala is a perfect after-dinner treat that will also lull you into a restful slumber. With that said, if you’re consuming this before bed, I’d recommend eliminating the tablespoons of sugar.
The key to lavender is its powerful ability to relax and calm. Plus, it’s an exemplary and unique ingredient for lightly sweetened recipes such as this Berry Lavender Poached Pear Granola by Melina Kutelas.
Source: Arugula, Kiwi, and Fennel Salad
You may have heard that kiwis are great for digestion, but did you also know they are great for sleep? Kiwis are one of the wonderful plant-based foods that have serotonin, a chemical that regulates sleep. This Arugula, Kiwi, and Fennel Salad by Nathalie Fraise not only has sleepy-time kiwis, but also a helping of almonds!
Source: Foolproof Mega Lentil Burger
Did we mention that a healthy digestive system lends to a healthy sleep cycle? This Foolproof Mega Lentil Burger by Renee Press will get you there! The “meatless meat” is based on fiber-rich lentils and also uses magnesium-rich walnuts.
Oats are rich in melatonin and are a friendly-carb for your digestive tract. This Banana Split Oatmeal with Roasted Almonds by Natalie Yonan packs a sleep-friendly punch with two whole bananas and a fourth cup of almonds. If you enjoy breakfast for dinner, this is a trio of ingredients to lull you into slumber.
Source: Orange Basil Biscotti
There’s something about fruit that makes you want to take a nap. It’s probably that a handful of fruits — including cherries, pineapple, and oranges — are all rich in melatonin! Enjoy these Orange Basil Biscotti by Jessica Bose with your nighttime tea to help you fall and stay asleep.
Want to double up on that melatonin? This Carrot Orange Pineapple Detox Juice by Nicole Dunai will do the trick! This recipe will help cleanse your body, fight inflammation, boost your digestive tract health, and get you a good night’s sleep.
Source: Cashew Butter
If you haven’t found a sleep-friendly recipe that fits your taste palate or lifestyle, then this may be your jam! Nut butter is easy to make and even easier to use in a variety of ways. This Cashew Butter recipe by Dennis Abell is filled with healthy fat, mellow flavors, and is richly texturized.
For a host of more sleep-friendly plant-based foods and recipes, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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