Sleep is one of the most important things we do each day. It has a hugely vital role in our health and well-being, and ensuring we get enough of it can help our bodies and minds reach their maximum potential. But for some, sleep is not easy to come by. According to the American Sleep Association, one in 10 adults will suffer from chronic insomnia.
So if you’re one of those people that struggle to get to sleep, here are 10 superfoods that might just help you.
These sweet or sour little stone fruits are absolutely bursting with flavor and nutrients. There are many different varieties, but the two main types are wild, or sweet cherries, and sour, or tart cherries. Originating in Asia, it’s believed that cherries were carried across to Europe by birds, where they became popular in many different cultures.
Cherries are very low in calories, and very high in healthy phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Full of antioxidants like anthocyanins, which gives cherries that bright red color and have been shown to contain cancer-preventing properties, and cyanidin, a phytochemical that can have anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and anti-diabetes effects. Cherries are a good source of iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and copper, and are said to relieve arthritis pain, reduce belly fat, and lower the risk of gout and stroke.
Cherries are also an effective, natural sleep aid. They are full of melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to calm inflammation, and plays a large role in the regeneration that occurs in our bodies while we sleep. Melatonin is produced and secreted by the pineal gland, which has learned to adapt to environmental signals such as light and dark, which is why we tend to get sleepier as night falls.
If you’re having problem sleeping, try adding cherries to your diet. There are many different ways you can do this, as cherries are a great addition to a variety of foods. You can make cherry chutney as a side dish to your dinner, bake them in a pie for an after-dinner dessert, or just keep a bowl on your bench to snack on throughout the day. Frozen cherries are an easy way to get your melatonin fix, because they never go out of season and you can add them easily into your smoothies.