Eating to promote good sleep? Now you can, and healthily too (and with gusto!)
This is what functional nutrition says – a nutritional path that, whilst satisfying your palate does not set any specific limitations, and can lead to significantly improve your general health and well-being.
As Sara Farnetti – Internal Medicine Specialist and Metabolism Physiopathologist – says, this nutritional strategy is based on combining different foods, and it shouldn’t be considered a diet.
The effects of food on our body
The substances contained in what we eat, and different food pairings, may balance, activate or inhibit our metabolism. For instance, if we eat sautéed artichokes, we activate our liver: artichokes have a hepatotropic action (i.e. directed to our liver) and as such can improve the bile flow. Obviously, depending on the way we cook, we can enhance or limit this effect. It is important to remember that our meals comprise many different foods that interact with one another: we shouldn’t focus on the single ingredients, but rather on the overall nutritional principles. In our menus, we can find a series of effects that drive our organs and physiological functions, including our sleep-wake cycles.
Taking care of ourselves through food
Functional nutrition is a new way to think about food. In order to be healthy and fit, we don’t need to give up certain food altogether and – above all – a meal is no longer represented as the calories it has, but rather by the synergy of the nutrients in our plate, starting from human physiology.
The goal is to find the right mix that can enhance the functions of our organs (and make them work correctly), also through the way we cook them.
Functional nutrition: a few tips
Cooked and sautéed vegetables are excellent to dress a “functional” pasta because they stimulate digestion.
You should avoid eating carbs and fruits together, because they are different foods that contain different sugars which, combined, they increase the glycemic indexes and do not help protect our pancreas. Thumbs up for a serving of fruit for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
Among the different tips, there’s also starting the day with a full breakfast with a low sugar content. Proteins for lunch (including chicken, turkey, rabbit, fish, eggs, etc.) with a lot of vegetables.
And a nice portion of raw vegetables for dinner, followed by approx. 80 gr of pasta.
The trick? A carb-based dinner promotes sleep, thanks to its capacity of lowering your blood sugar and increase serotonin production.
If you suffer from specific medical conditions, this kind of nutrition should be agreed with your doctor; but don’t worry, functional nutrition should always be customized, so there’s a right menu… for any situation!
Bon appetit… and sleep well!