Monday, June 17, 2013

You Snooze, You Lose

People nowadays are so obsessed in losing weight and staying skinny. The trend when it comes to an “ideal” body figure has just changed from the curvaceous form to the anorexic, malnourished, food-hating, emaciated, skin-and-bones figure. Let’s not be judgmental about what the majority wants. Anyway, it’s their body. For as long as they’re happy with how they look, then I suppose we just have to be happy for them as well.

Given the fact that losing weight is what a lot of people craze about, still, others can’t seem to achieve the type of body that they want to have. You have to be a gym fanatic or an anorexic just to shed those extra pounds. However, recent studies show that mere sleeping can do much for your fitness level. Researchers from Columbia University have found out that sleep-deprived people had a significantly stronger neuronal response and inclination to junk calories. Simply put, less sleep means more cravings. Now won’t you look at that, sleeping can actually lead to weight loss. The activity that is the easiest to do can help you achieve the body you’ve been dreaming of. While keeping your energy levels up the same as putting a replacement battery on your phone, you get to lose weight, and that’s hitting two birds with one stone. Below are some of the foods that can greatly enhance your sleep to a slimmer you.

1.       Almonds. Magnesium is an electrolyte that improves sleep quality, duration, and morning alertness, according to a 2011 study published in the “Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.” This is due to the association of magnesium with melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles. Increasing magnesium intake promotes the secretion of melatonin. One very good source of this mineral is almonds. Aside from its high magnesium content, it also is rich in tryptophan, fiber, protein, and healthy fats that helps you become slim and satiated.

2.       Banana. The same as almonds, bananas also are rich in tryptophan and magnesium; however, they are also jam-packed with potassium that promotes a more restful sleep. Research shows that potassium deficiency disrupted the sleep cycles of fruit flies, and experts believe that this is also applicable for humans. So, an adequate intake of potassium rich foods, such as banana, is good for promoting sleep.

3.       Kiwi. According to a Taiwanese study, people who ate 2 kiwi fruits an hour before going to bed fell asleep faster, slept longer, and had higher quality of sleep as compared to people who didn’t. Researchers relate this effect to the high antioxidant content of kiwis. Free radicals that build-up in the body can disrupt your natural sleep cycle, and since antioxidants fight free radicals, then 2 servings of this fruit can enhance your sleep. Additionally, kiwis contain a substantial amount of serotonin that supports a sound sleep.

4.       Oatmeal. It has been a popular belief that a glass of milk before bedtime can help you sleep because dairy products contain high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps regulate sleep patterns. But, a study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” states that, “Other amino acids in high-protein foods, like milk, can actually prevent tryptophan from reaching the brain, making you feel alert and energized rather than sleepy.” Carbohydrates, on the other hand, cause your pancreas to secrete insulin that clears amino acids from the blood, which allows the drowsing effect of tryptophan to work on your brain. So, the best way is to take your proteins in the morning and eat your carbohydrates, like oatmeal, during nighttimes.

So before waking up by the alarm on your smartphone, make sure you had 8 hours of sleep. Having so will help you to control mindless snacking and prevent you from giving in to your cravings. All it takes is a sound, quality sleep to lose some weight.

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