We’ve all experienced those late night hunger pains and wondered if it’s okay to have a snack before bed. It’s often thought that eating late is bad for health. Well, there are arguments to both sides.
It depends on what you eat. Eating foods that are high in fiber and low in fat are good for managing weight, and can also help you sleep better. A snack before bed can be enough to keep you satisfied throughout the night and avoid frequent visits to the fridge.
On the other side, eating before bed is not good for our bodies since the food cannot digest properly. This can lead to issues such as heartburn and indigestion. This is especially true if the food is high in fat and is consumed immediately before sleep.
The effects of nighttime eating depends a lot on what you eat, the amount you eat, and how close to sleep it is consumed. The last meal should be eaten about 3-4 hours before bed to avoid weight gain and other problematic issues. If, however, dinner has past, and you’re still feeling hungry, there are some fruits that are not only great for your health, but may improve the quality of your sleep. Not all fruits are great late night snacks due to their high sugar content. Some however, are great choices because they contain melatonin, a natural sleep aid and muscle relaxant.
5 Healthy Fruits to Eat Before Bed for Weight Loss
If you’re inclined to eat some these fruits before bed, consume them approximately one hour before to allow the body to absorb the nutrients. Here are some fruits to head before bed for weight loss.
Bananas are not only great energy boosters, but also delicious night time snacks. They’re high in fiber, but low in calories, making them an excellence choice before bed. The high levels of potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan, are natural muscle relaxants, which promote better sleep. Bananas contain many nutrients and minerals, all of which contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Lets take a closer look at some of the minerals bananas contain.
Magnesium is a mineral found in many foods, including bananas, and plays a key role in maintaining good bone structure, proper muscle function, and blood glucose level control. Magnesium can help speed up melatonin released in the body by interacting with your nervous system, and help the muscles to relax before sleep.
Magnesium is also beneficial for depression and anxiety, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It can be found in other foods such as green vegetables and nuts. Magnesium triggers many enzymes that are essential for the metabolism. It also helps with blood sugar control and improve stress levels, which can be a major factor in weight gain.
Potassium is another important mineral for the body and bananas contain lots of it. You need about 4,700mg of potassium per day, which plays a key role in muscle strength, blood pressure, metabolism, and heart health. Potassium is used for storing carbohydrates that can used for the brain and nervous system. It’s also an important nutrient for sleep. Potassium, in conjunction with magnesium, helps support proper muscles function. This is essential to achieve a deep sleep without being disrupted. It’s also a natural muscle relaxant which helps calm the body down. Potassium aids in weight loss by promoting muscle growth, electrolyte balance, proper nerve functioning. Other foods high in potassium include avocados, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Vitmin B6 provides a variety of benefits for the body including heart health, brain development, and healthy immune system. it converts tryptophan into a serotonin, which is linked to the production of melatonin. It can be found in other foods such as pork, fish, and eggs. It can also be taken in supplement form.
Tryptophan is an amino acid essential for proper functioning of the body. When you eat bananas, Serotonin is produced from the tryptophan consumed. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, connected to the production of melatonin. This not only makes you sleepy, but can affect your mood and memory.
Alternative Way to Eat Bananas:
Drinking banana tea is a delicious alternative to eating the banana. The hot liquid helps to relax the body while it consumes the nutrients of the fruit. The peel can be too rough to eat, but if used within a tea, its nutrients add valuable benefits such as extra magnesium and potassium in addition to the banana. To make banana tea,
- Cut both ends of the banana off.
- Slice the banana vertically in half (leave the peel on).
- Bring water to a boil.
- Put the banana halves in and let them simmer for 5 minutes.
- Take the bananas out and pour the water in a mug.
- Optional: Add cinnamon and honey for extra taste.
Cherries are great night time snacks due to their significant amounts of melatonin. Similar to bananas, they are also low calories and high in fiber, making them a great choice for weight loss.
Melatonin in Cherries
Cherries are high in melatonin, a hormone that helps trigger sleep and regulate sleep-wake cycles. As we get older, melatonin levels decrease so it’s important to find alternatives, such as cherries, to maintain good sleep cycles. Optimal melatonin levels can help you feel more sleepy, fall asleep quicker, and sleep longer. It’s recommended to eat cherries about an hour before bed to allow for the melatonin to trigger. As an alternative, drink a cup of tart cherry juice 1 hour before bed. Avoid brands with added sugar.
Cherries not only help promote healthy sleep, but also help improve your overall lifestyle. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, there are many benefits to incorporating cherries into your diet. Here are some their benefits.
- Promotes weight loss: The fiber in cherries helps slow digestion down and make you feel full longer.
- Regulates blood pressure: The high potassium levels help the body maintain a healthy heart rate and reduce the chance of cardiac arrest.
- Lowers blood sugar: Cherries boost insulin which help maintain good blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Improves skin: The antioxidants found in cherries can prevent the skin from ageing too quickly.
- Reduces Inflammation: Eating cherries can help reduce arthritis and pain from exercise.
Types of cherries:
One of the most popular cherries are the Bing variety. They have a very dark red colour, heart shaped, and are deliciously sweet. They are commonly found at local markets as they are a leading commercial cherry.
Rainier cherries are sweet in flavor with a bit of tartness. They encompass a yellow color with a hint of red are in season throughout the summer months.
Montmorency cherries are tart, or sour tasting cherries. They are commonly used in desserts and usually come canned or frozen.
Kiwis are excellent additions to fruit salads, smoothies, and desserts. They’re also great on their own, with some being sweet, and others more tart. Kiwis contain high levels of vitamin C, making them great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and low weight.
Kiwis can also benefit sleep. In a study, volunteers were given two kiwis one hour before bed for four weeks. The study was to examine the quality of sleep with those already experiencing problems. The study found that both the quality and quantity of sleep were greatly improved by the participants involved. The reasons was due to the serotonin levels in kiwi. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the body to relax, and also control mood, memory, and sleep. It also interacts with melatonin, an essential hormone to regulate sleep-wake cycles.
Other Benefits of eating Kiwis:
- A single kiwi contains around 40 to 50 calories, but are high in fiber, which help fill you up.
- They’re nutrient-dense, which means they are packed with vitamins and mineral, but low in weight.
- The fiber in kiwis also help with digestion and break down protein.
- Kiwis contain powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C, which helps remove free radicals that may lead to cancer.
- They can help control blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
- Kiwis help increase metabolic rate which is beneficial for weight loss.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are not only delicious, but one of the best fruits for your body. They are a great snack any time of the day, even before bed. Apples contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, all of which can contribute to improved sleep. Vitamin C is important for the production of serotonin. It can help lower your blood pressure and improve breathing, allowing you to relax and get a good night sleep. Potassium helps to relax the muscles and maintain a good heart beat. Vitamin B6 helps to release melatonin which regulates your sleep-wake cycles. Vitamin B6 can also reduce stress and help improve the quality of your sleep. So if your feeling those hunger pangs late at night, grab an apple.
Other Benefits of Eating Apples:
Promote Weight Loss
Apples are great for the digestive system. They’re high in fiber which helps fill you up quick without consuming a lot of calories. This makes them an ideal choice for weight loss.
Good for the Brain
They are excellent for brain health since they may help increase acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter for improving memory and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Good for the Heart
Apples can help prevent heart disease. They provide powerful antioxidants which lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Eating apples can also clean your teeth. When you bite into one, it kills bad bacteria and helps prevent tooth decay.
What are the Healthiest Apples?
There are so many different types of apples that differ in size, color, sweetness, and taste. But not all of them provide the same nutritional value. Here are some of the healthiest apples to eat.
Granny Smith are the green, tart variety. They are among the healthiest apples to eat due to their high concentration of fiber. This makes them a great choice for weight loss. Also, Granny Smith apples contain a large amount of antioxidants compared to other varieties. They allow for good bacteria to grow in the colon.
Red delicious are the big, red apples, usually sweet and mild in flavor. They provide powerful antioxidants for the body and are a great source of vitamin C.
Fuji apples have a firm texture and are sweet in taste. They are also among some of the healthiest apples to eat. Fuji apples are great for weight loss and contain a large amount of bioflavonoids, which act as powerful antioxidants.
Grapefruit not only contains many nutritional benefits, but can also help you lose weight. It’s packed with vitamin C which can help you sleep throughout the night and avoid frequent wake ups. When you are low on vitamin C, you may have a restless night since the brain doesn’t have regular levels of antioxidant. The body simply cannot remain in a relaxed state. Eating grapefruit is also beneficial for preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart problems.
Grapefruit is very low in calories which is a great way to control your weight while obtaining many of the health benefits. Although having one before bed isn’t a complete meal, it may be just enough to satisfy the hunger pangs. It’s also low in natural sugar compared to other fruits. This makes it a great choice for a night time snack since you won’t get a sugar spike that will keep you awake.
Other Benefits of Grapefruit:
Good for your Immune System
The vitamins and minerals obtained from eating grapefruit can help prevent inflammation, which can lead infection such as bacteria and viruses. It’s a great fruit for avoiding the common cold.
Strengthens the Heart
Eating grapefruit can significantly reduce blood pressure and avoid problems such as heart disease and high cholesterol. It’s high in potassium, fiber, and antioxidants, which all contribute to maintaining a healthy heart.
Contains Lots of Water
Grapefruit contains about 88% water, making it one of the highest water content fruits. Water is essential for our health and helps with proper bodily functions such as digestion, nutrient absorption, and body temperature. The water in grapefruit can also help boost your metabolism and remove waste from the body.