In Hormones, Nutrition

Sleep is the hinge on which swings your ability to make your exercise and nutrition habits pay off. Without quality sleep your hormones are truly “wanky” and your low in ones you need high (growth hormone, testosterone) and high in ones you need low (cortisol, which has negative impact on ghrelin and leptin).

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. You produce less of it as you age. You can take a melatonin supplement and we discuss when and how in my programs. As with most things, food first is the goal. You too may prefer that. Here are a few foods that help boost your body’s level of melatonin by providing tryptophan, B6, or melatonin. Tryptophan can be converted to serotonin (with the help of vitamin B6) and then converted to melatonin. Animal and fish protein are good sources of tryptophan, too. Adding the right carbohydrates to your evening meal promotes relaxation. [Remember, if you’re carb-phobic: if you don’t sleep you won’t be able to maintain lean muscle tissue so it may be a lack of right carbs instead of too many carbs at night keeping that belly fat on or prevent you from maintaining lean muscle.]

The following foods have ingredients that help boost your sleep by helping this process. Include them in your diet all day:

  • Avocados – B6
  • Bananas – melatonin
  • Carrots – B6
  • Cheese – tryptophan
  • Cherries – melatonin
  • Pumpkin seeds – tryptophan
  • Sunflower seeds – B6

Ironically, many of the books written five or more years ago include instructions to “eat these foods before bed.” In fact, close the kitchen after your evening meal! The less your body has to do the better. Don’t make it choose between digesting and sleeping when cellular repair and memory should be the focus. If you have trouble with digestion as you age, you’ll have less, and look younger potentially with fewer bags under your eyes, when you curb evening snack attacks. Eat a meal rich with good carbs, protein, healthy fats and fiber and you shouldn’t be hungry before bed.

Banana –Cherry – Oatmeal Smoothie

  • Handful of greens (spinach, kale, or mixed)
  • Protein shake
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen tart cherries
  • ¼ avocado
  • 3 T gluten-free oats
  • 3 T hemp hearts
  • Coconut milk, to thickness preference

Cherry- Banana Nice Cream

  • Protein shake
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen tart cherries
  • Drops of liquid stevia, to taste
  • Coconut milk, as needed to mix

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse then blend until smooth. Add liquid in tablespoons at a time to keep it thick. Enjoy immediately or freeze and scoop as you would ice cream. Best right after a meal to reduce risk of blood sugar spike. You can add a few cherries and or raw cacao nibs for texture and color at the end, leaving them in larger chunks.

So many of the Flipping Fifty community that reach out to me have a significant amount of weight to lose and are determined that fewer calories and more exercise is the answer.

Stop! If that’s you, you’re potentially driving that result you want further away. You’re messaging your body to slow down instead of increasing your metabolism and optimizing your energy so you want to be more active. Active people are at optimal weight.

More recipes? Here’s 60 favorites of mine and members of our Flipping Fifty community. Plus, the best way to put together your own recipe with your personal preferences. Click the image for yours!

 


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