Eggs and fish are higher melatonin-containing food groups in animal foods, whereas, in plant foods, nuts are with the highest content of melatonin. Some kinds of mushrooms, cereals, and germinated legumes or seeds are also good dietary sources of melatonin. Here we are going to discuss the details of melatonin-rich foods.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone, often nicknamed the “sleep hormone.” Melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle and responds to light and darkness— more melatonin is produced when it gets dark to help you sleep, and less is produced as the sun rises and your eyes are exposed to light to help you wake up. Melatonin production is mainly carried out in the pineal gland, it’s also produced in your gut and most of your body’s cells. But it’s the melatonin that’s made in the pineal gland that regulates your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin Rich Foods
Tart cherry juice is one of the best-known sleep aids. Researchers have found that it increases melatonin levels in the body and enhances sleep. Keep in mind that cherry juice is high in sugar. Drinking it nightly could significantly raise your intake of calories. Eating cherries instead of drinking their juice is a healthier way of getting melatonin.
Produced by a plant native to China, goji berries have been touted for their anti-aging effects. They are also high in melatonin and may improve sleep.
Among animal products, eggs are one of the best sources of melatonin. Eggs are also highly nutritious, offering protein and iron, among other essential nutrients.
Warm milk is a traditional remedy for insomnia, so it’s no surprise that it’s high in melatonin. It could be a good option if you tolerate dairy.
Fish is a better source of melatonin than other meats. The best options are oily fish like salmon and sardines, which also provide valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
Most nuts have a good amount of melatonin. Pistachios and almonds are among the highest. Nuts also are an excellent source of many antioxidants, healthy omega-3 fats, and minerals.
Mushrooms are rich in melatonin, and also contain tryptophan. They’re also great sources of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Whether you like portabella mushrooms, button mushrooms, or their more exotic relatives, all kinds of mushrooms contain the same health and sleep benefits.
Whether you enjoy it off or on the cob, corn is another melatonin-rich food. Corn also contains tryptophan which is, of course, also conducive to sleep. Corn is also high in vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber.
Many nuts including cashews and almonds contain melatonin, but pistachios have a higher amount than the others. Pistachios are also high in vitamin B6, which helps convert tryptophan into melatonin. Pistachios are great sources of fiber, omega 3 fatty acids— which are linked to higher sleep quality— and antioxidants too.
Why You Need Melatonin
There’s little evidence that melatonin is effective against chronic insomnia. But if you’re experiencing jet lag, it may help you return to a normal sleeping pattern. It can also help patients sleep before surgery.
Better Sleep Patterns in Adults
People with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder often stay awake until early morning and sleep until around noon. Melatonin may help them maintain a more normal sleeping pattern.
Better Sleep Patterns in Children
Melatonin may also help children with certain conditions that disrupt sleep. These include asthma, dermatitis, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Because melatonin is a hormone, children should not take it without a doctor’s approval.
Brain Health in Older Adults
Melatonin levels naturally fall with age. Boosting them could help prevent brain disorders later in life. Both animal and human studies have discovered that melatonin could lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Melatonin performs several valuable functions in the human eye. Supplementation has shown benefits for those with age-related macular degeneration. Researchers think lower melatonin levels in older adults could contribute to the disorder.