A bit of natural support in the evening anyone? The smoothie today devised by my nutritionist friend Alice Benskin could be a good start to the week ahead. Hopefully some of these ingredients you may already have in with it being over half way through the challenge!
I hope all’s going well so far and until Tuesday with the next installment, I shall leave you in the very capable hands of Alice…
Sleep difficulties and insomnia are very common problems today, and many individuals resort to using various aids in the hope of promoting and achieving better sleep. This could include anything from relaxation techniques to an over the counter ‘sleep promoting’ tablet or herbal. Factors affecting sleep may include stressful lifestyles and adrenal fatigue, with nutrition also playing an integral part.
However, could a smoothie help?
Not perhaps the first thing you think of when sleep seems like a far off dream (no pun intended).
However, this smoothie below gathers together some delicious and nutritious ingredients that may have sleep promoting benefits and effects.
What do I need?
- 1 banana
- 1 teaspoon of honey (this could be substituted for agave nectar or stevia)
- ¼ of a teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 scoop of protein powder (whey / pea)
- 1 large glass of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt or kefir
Why is it good for sleep?
- Bananas contain two key nutrients in terms of sleep, tryptophan, an amino acid, and vitamin B6. Both of these are essential for the body’s production of a brain chemical called ‘serotonin’. Serotonin gets converted to another brain chemical called ‘melatonin’ which is involved in circadian rhythm and the promotion of sleep. Just one medium banana contains over a fifth of your daily recommended allowance for vitamin B6.
- According to some early stage research, honey may have a beneficial effect on the adrenal glands, which are involved in our body’s response to stress.
- During prolonged periods of stress, aldosterone, the hormone that controls levels of sodium and potassium in the body, levels can fall. This can lead to salt cravings as a means to replenish these minerals. There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest having particularly low levels of sodium in the body may cause sleep disruption. Sea salt is a natural way to combat this, as it contains natural, unprocessed mineral salts such as sodium, but also includes potassium and magnesium.