This delicious berry has been a favourite of many for generations, but its first-ever mention in literature was not down to its use in food. Rather, the ancient Romans used this berry for medicinal properties, and it remains true today that eating strawberries before bed can help us sleep, and give our immune system a powerful boost. We explain how, right here.
Strawberries before bed: The surprising sleep aid
Discovered by the Romans over 2200 years ago, Strawberries happen to be the only fruit which has seeds on the outside! However what really makes this berry so fascinating is the health benefits you gain by consuming them.
They’re packed with nutrients, many of which can effect sleep duration and quality.
That’s because strawberries are rich in tryptophan – an essential amino acid that we don’t produce naturally, and which we must obtain through diet. Interestingly, 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 strawberries before bed could be a great way to top up your natural melatonin levels at the right time.
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 as strawberries also contain magnesium. Why’s that important? 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 strawberries before bed could help sleep quality and onset due to the presence of tryptophan – which helps the body produce the important sleep hormone melatonin – and magnesium. All of which have been shown to have a positive effect on sleep quality.
Strawberries before bed: Any other HEALTH benefits?
This remarkable berry 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.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, strawberries can play a role in boosting your immune system. That’s because 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 strawberry and kiwi – is a no-brainer.
It’s not just lip service either. One study showed consuming strawberries reduced inflammation in obese adults, another saw potential benefits in reducing colon inflammation, whilst one research concluded that strawberries could reduce inflammation in diabetes patients.
Strawberries are also packed with antioxidants which means they have the potential to protect your cells and tissue from damage. Antioxidants are also important for sleep as they 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 chia seeds or strawberries – should be a priority.
The science has been backed up too. One study concluded that the powerful antioxidant properties of strawberries had a positive effect on patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, whilst another stated that berries like strawberries ‘can offer neuroprotective effects’. Therefore this remarkable berry could potentially protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Not only that, but one study went further and concluded that eating strawberries even has the potential to help with cellular metabolism and cellular survival.
Strawberries are good if you want to lose weight too. With their high fiber content, strawberries are filling and a cup of them is only around 50 calories, so they could help weight loss if you’re changing your diet.
Strawberries have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Because of that, several studies have shown strawberries to have a positive effect on health, protect against disease, and boost the immune system.
Strawberries for sleep: Incorporating them into your diet
Strawberries can 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 strawberries into your diet too. You can use them as a topping for porridge, yoghurt or muesli, as part of a smoothie, or even eaten with ice cream.
Strawberries before bed: What about side effects?
If you don’t have a strawberry allergy then moderate consumption of strawberries shouldn’t cause any side effects. However eating strawberries in excess could lead to bloating, gas, diarrhoea and heartburn.
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.