It’s become increasingly popular in recent years as being something of a superfood, but did you know eating avocado before bed can be beneficial for your sleep? In fact eating avocado at night can bring other powerful health benefits too. We explain how and what, next.
Eating avocado before bed: The surprising sleep aid
Although eaten for years, it’s only recently that we’ve discovered that eating avocado before bed may actually benefit sleep.
That’s because avocado are a rich source of tryptophan – an essential amino acid that we don’t produce naturally, and which we must obtain through diet. Supplementing with this amino acid appears to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep as tryptophan helps your body produce an important sleep hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and is so important to our sleep health that often individuals who are struggling to sleep – or have been diagnosed with insomnia – are prescribed melatonin. Therefore eating avocado at night could be a great way to top up your natural melatonin levels at the right time and help you sleep.
Tryptophan also helps your body produce serotonin – a hormone that helps with our mood, well-being and happiness. Serotonin has a role to play in inducing sleep, and is needed in order for the body to produce that all-important sleep hormone – melatonin!
It doesn’t end there either. An avocado contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of folate – also known as Vitamin B9. That’s important as this crucial vitamin tends to be low in individuals that suffer from insomnia and sleep disorders. So topping up folate levels by eating avocado before bed could help sleep quality.
Avocado is also a good source of magnesium. Why’s that notable? Well supplementing with magnesium has been shown to help relieve symptoms of insomnia and improve sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset. It’s also been shown to reduce anxiety – one of the leading causes of insomnia.
Eating avocado before bed could help sleep quality and onset due to the presence of tryptophan – which helps produce the sleep hormone melatonin – as well as folate and magnesium. All of which have been shown to have a positive effect on sleep.
What are the HEALTH benefits of eating an avocado at night?
This remarkable fruit (yes it’s a fruit!) is also an anti-inflammatory, and is loaded with antioxidants. Both are crucial to keeping your health in check, and can even reverse damage done to your body.
The anti-inflammatory nature of avocados has been studied before, and is important to note as many major diseases like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are often linked to chronic inflammation. Therefore incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – like avocados or walnuts – is a no-brainer.
Avocados are also a great source of antioxidants. That’s important as antioxidants appear to have a direct effect on sleep quality, as they support the immune system and help promote restfulness at night.
Antioxidant foods also help protect your body and can even reverse damage that has been done by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress comes about when there’s an imbalance between free radical molecules (which can cause harm) and antioxidants – that imbalance then causes illness and tissue damage. The result can be the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and many others. Therefore eating antioxidant foods – like avocados or grapes – should be a priority.
The science has been backed up too. Avocado has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, particularly the seed. It’s also been shown to have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease, whilst the nutrients in avocado could play a ‘pivotal role in the prevention and cure of various neurodegenerative diseases.’
Furthermore, one study even saw a decrease in body mass index (BMI) when obese adults began incorporating avocado into their diet. Therefore eating an avocado at night – alongside a good diet – could promote healthy weight loss. However one caveat – avocado’s are high in fat content, so they shouldn’t be eaten in excess.
Avocado has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Because of that, several studies have shown avocado to have a positive effect on health, potentially protect against disease, and boost the immune system.
Avocado for sleep and overall health: Incorporating it into your diet
Avocado can now be found in shops and supermarkets around the world. They are delicious and can be eaten in their natural form, and so are easy to incorporate into your diet.
There are many different ways to incorporate avocado into your diet too. You can use them as a topping on toast, in a wrap, or just by itself.
Eating avocado at night: What about side effects?
If you don’t have an avocado allergy then moderate consumption of avocados shouldn’t cause any side effects. However eating avocados in excess could lead to side effects like bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and weight gain due to the fruit’s high fat content.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.