Sleep is important for a runner BUT for it to be restorative, optimal sleep needs to be in place CONSISTENTLY. So, in this episode of our FOOD FOR….SPOTLIGHT SERIES we discuss 4 foods known to promote sleep duration and sleep quality, therefore supporting restorative sleep to help reduce YOUR risk of injury or illness.
Indicating the importance of restorative sleep, with an emphasis on how it may support the immune system. Moving on to outline the four foods to be discussed in this episode:
- Tart Cherries
Exploring the nutritional properties of Turkey in supporting enhanced sleep. Focusing on Tryptophan; one of the essential amino acids of proteins. Tryptophan is essential for the production of serotonin, which is further metabolised to produce Melatonin; the key neurotransmitter known to induce sleep.
Moving on to discuss Tart Cherries and their Melatonin content; the key neurotransmitter (hormone) known to induce sleep. Melatonin’s antioxidant properties are also acknowledged.
Introducing Samphire, a sea vegetable, containing good levels of the mineral Magnesium. Magnesium is known to have an indirect effect on sleep, as it is required in the conversion of Tryptophan to Serotonin. Additional effects of Magnesium on sleep quality and duration are also discussed.
Thinking about Liver and how it could support sleep. Liver has a high content of vitamin B12, a nutrient thought to indirectly influence sleep by helping alleviate insomnia. Finishing off with a recap of the nutritional properties of the four foods discussed:
- Turkey: Nutritional property discussed – Tryptophan
- Tart Cherry: Nutritional property discussed – Melatonin
- Samphire: Nutritional property discussed – Magnesium
- Liver: Nutritional property discussed – Vitamin B12
Food and recipe ideas for Turkey: Turkey mince lasagna or chilli or burgers, Indian inspired turkey salad,
Food and recipe ideas for Tart Cherries: homemade granola, trail mix, cherry and cacao smoothie, cherry sauce for poultry, homemade flapjacks
Food and recipe ideas for Samphire: fish or seafood salad, on sourdough with duck eggs, an accompaniment to any fish dish.
Food and recipe ideas for Liver: sautéed with onions and vegetables, sautéed liver and apple salad, liver paté, frozen liver puree to add to gravies and casseroles.
Check out our suggestions for a one-day Sleep Supporting meal plan.
The principle nutrient in Turkey is Tryptophan, which supports melatonin synthesis. PROTEIN is a key macronutrient of turkey, which is important for muscle building as well as the muscle repair and recovery element of running.
Tart Cherries are excellent sources of Melatonin, which is important for the sleep-wake cycle. They are also a rich source of ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY COMPOUNDS, which are important for immune protection for a runner.
Samphire is also an excellent source of Magnesium, an important co-factor in the synthesis of serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin production. It is also a rich source of IODINE, which is key to thyroid function, thus linked to metabolism and metabolic rate, which is important for body composition for a runner
Liver is known to have the highest content of B12 of all types of meat. It is known to help alleviate insomnia. Liver is also a well known source of IRON, which is a key nutrient in the production of energy for running.
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.
Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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Aileen and Karen
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