Eating walnuts before bed? Yes!
One study showed that eating walnuts would increase levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin, known as the sleep hormone, is naturally produced by the epiphysis, a small gland located in the brain; its level is highest during the night, in the darkness, and falls as dawn approaches, so much so that it constitutes our biological alarm clock.
In people who work shifts or suffer from jet lag or sleep disorders, the production of melatonin may not be optimal, so it is common to take supplements of this substance.
Let’s not forget, however, that taking care of our diet can offer valuable support even in these cases: we can find melatonin in various foods, including walnuts.
A study carried out at the University of Texas has indeed shown that walnuts contain melatonin and that with the consumption of walnuts the level of this hormone in the body increases, helping night rest.
Furthermore, this study showed that the rise in melatonin levels in the blood is correlated with an increase in the antioxidant power of the serum: this means that it improves the ability to resist oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
The researchers who conducted the study state that the importance of walnuts is due to all the substances they contain: omega-3, melatonin, and other nutrients give walnuts a higher value compared to a supplement containing only one element.
Choosing carefully the food to eat for dinner can be an excellent way to have a more regular and deep sleep, without resorting to supplements.
- Russel J Reiter, L C Manchester, Dun-xian Tan (2005), Melatonin in walnuts: influence on levels of melatonin and total antioxidant capacity of blood. Nutrition Sep; 21 (9): 920-4.