They say that too many cooks spoil the broth, but together with experts Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart and Lily Soutter we’ve developed the Dream Food recipe series. Read on and explore a winning combination of nutrition, science and flavour-pairing expertise to get your sleep schedule back on track.
There are many ingredients that are readily available and beneficial for a goods nights sleep, but did you know that the elements of one can counteract another if paired incorrectly? After investigating the properties of the these ingredients, our expert nutritionist and food scientist Lily and Rachel have teamed up to create a three-course Dream Food dinner menu guaranteed to send you off to sleep soundly.
Sustainably sourced mackerel, organic kiwi, Kalamata olive, and baby spinach salad
Kiwi: eating kiwi on a daily basis has been linked to substantial improvements in sleep quality and quantity. It has two characteristics that make it a strong sleep-promoting food: its high antioxidant levels and its high serotonin levels. Serotonin converts to the sleep hormone melatonin, which in turn aids with sleep. Kiwi is a true sleep superfood.
Mackerel: oily fish is an amazing source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A higher intake of omega-3 fats has been shown to stimulate the release of our sleep hormone melatonin. Mackerel is also a source of vitamin B6, which plays an essential role in the production of both serotonin and melatonin.
‘An Oxford University study showed that four months of supplementation with omega-3 fats helped children to sleep for an hour longer each night.’
Spinach & Olives: both ingredients have the same aroma compounds as kiwi fruits. Spinach also contains high levels of magnesium, a calming mineral which aids with better sleep. Heightened magnesium leads to a better regulation of our natural sleep cycle, positively impacting the body's internal clock.
Corn-fed chicken, pumpkin seeds, black garlic and organic sweet potatoes
Chicken: chicken breast is the top source of tryptophan - the building block of our sleep hormone melatonin.
Pumpkin Seeds: these little seeds are nutritional powerhouses being a rich source of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are also a great plant-based source of tryptophan, which converts into melatonin.
Sweet potato: these contain high levels of B-vitamins and are high in digestion-aiding fibre. This makes it the perfect carbohydrate component for an evening meal as it slowly releases body-repairing energy during your sleep.
Fresh Galia melon with yogurt, walnuts, walnut oil, apple juice, honey and mint
Walnuts: researchers from University of Texas found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which ultimately may aid with a more restful nights sleep.
Honey: amongst the top ten ingredients which share aromas with walnut, honey tends to have a lower glycemic load in comparison to regular sugar. A low glycemic load is essential for preventing a blood sugar crash, which often results in that 3 a.m. wakefulness.
Melon: is rich in vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that’s good for the skin and mucus membranes. Additionally, due to its high nutritional content, melon helps reduce thirst, which is one reason why people wake during the night.
Apple: as well as sharing aromas with walnut, apples are a rich source of fibre which helps balance blood sugar and minimize the risk of waking up in the night. Malic acid which is what makes apple sharp, offsetting the oiliness from the walnuts and balancing the sweetness from the honey.
‘Research from the University of Colorado showed that rats who were fed a diet rich in prebiotics found in apple had greater amounts of beneficial gut bacteria and better quality of sleep.’
Do you have any culinary sleep tips to share with us?
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