America prides itself on being a “go, go, go” society; being busy is what we love, but there can often be a tradeoff to all this constant energy: Stress and sleep.
The Better Sleep Council reports that 65 percent of Americans report losing sleep due to stress, and that 32 percent are losing sleep at least one night per week. If you can’t seem to get enough shut eye, you’re definitely not alone.
If you’re craving more Zzz’s but don’t want to resort to sleeping pills, we’ve got you covered. There are actually foods out there that can help you rest easier — and the best part? You can blend a lot of these foods right into smoothies!
Almonds really are the super nut! Not only do they contain B vitamins, potassium and magnesium (nutrients that regulate brain activity and help increase the production of natural melatonin in the body), they contain tryptophan, which helps the body use melatonin and serotonin better.
Chocolate Covered Almonds
Chocolate as detox? If that chocolate is cacao, then yes! Cacao (chocolate in its rawest, most unprocessed form) has more antioxidants and magnesium per serving than almost any other food, and sweetens things up without adding unnecessary sugar. Pea protein is a great way for vegans or those with sensitive stomachs to bump up their daily protein consumption (which is essential for everything from sustained energy to lean muscle), and almond butter bumps up that protein intake even more, while also adding a dose of healthy fat.
Lemon Almond Zest
If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich vegetable, look no further than brussel sprouts. They have almost your entire daily recommended servings of vitamins A and C, as well as folate, potassium and manganese. They’re also fat free and low calorie. Almonds are a satisfying source of protein and contain unsaturated fatty acids, the healthy fats our bodies need. Grapes are one of the sweetest ways to get more resveratrol into your diet, which is plant compound that has been shown to aid in weight loss and heart health. After a few swigs of this smoothie, you might actually feel the stress slide right off.
A study done at Louisiana State University found that subjects suffering from insomnia who drank tart cherry juice twice a day got “84 more minutes of sleep time” each night than those who didn’t drink the juice. The main reason for this is because cherries have a high instance of melatonin, which regulates our sleep/wake time, as well as tryptophan.
Chocolate Cherry Sundae
Cherries reduce inflammation, have been shown to support brain function, and may even reduce soreness after a long workout at the gym. Add some cacao powder, which fights cardiovascular disease; walnuts, which are full of healthy fats; banana, which delivers the potassium your body craves; collard greens, which replace much needed iron, calcium, magnesium, and a little bit of protein, and you’ve got an amazing (and amazingly tasty) pre or post workout snack.
Watermelon Cherry Mint
Somehow we managed to combine every iconic summer flavor into one delicious drinkable.Have you ever had cherry tomatoes with actual cherries? Pair these with watermelon and it’s a pretty red hydration bomb! Pomegranate is one of nature’s biggest sources of antioxidants, with more of the cancer and inflammation fighters than red wine or green tea. Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, which helps regenerate skin and stimulate blood flow for that healthy glow.
Apple Cherry Lemonade
Try this nutrient-filled smoothie instead of store-bought lemonade at your next BBQ! Thanks to anthocyanins (natural pigments that are also found in blueberries), Cherries are fantastic at lowering inflammation and easing aches and pains. Maqui berry adds a burst of antioxidant power, while tomatillos, rhubarb and apple bring a sweetness and a healthy serving of fiber. A half a lemon rounds everything out with an alkalizing burst of citrus. Low in calories and fat, this sweet treat is the perfect way to indulge without any guilt.
If you’re searching for a sweet, refreshing drink that will have you feeling good all day long, this smoothie has you covered. Cherries have been shown to help reduce inflammation and speed up muscle recovery, and also rank high in magnesium, a nutrient that helps with sleep / wake cycles. One of the most antioxidant-rich foods out there, maqui berry also contains calcium and iron. Mix these superfruits up with hydrating summer squash, tangy tomatillos, and fiber-rich dates, and you have a breakfast home run.
In addition to being rich in potassium, bananas have a healthy dose of B6, which is essential for the creation of melatonin. Bananas also have magnesium, which is a potent mineral for relaxation of both the mind and the body.
Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana
Orange and banana are a classic flavor combination, and provide ample amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and healthy carbs - basically, they’re great natural energizers! Cashews and chia seeds are fantastic for helping to keep you satisfied for hours (thanks to their protein, healthy fats, and fiber), and raw ginger root is a fantastic anti-inflammatory. Top this smoothie off with mild collard greens (B vitamins, iron and copper), and you have a satisfying meal replacement.
Chocolate and Bananas
Even though most people don’t associate strawberries with immunity, one serving of this sweet summer fruit has about half of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Strawberries also help reduce inflammation and heart attacks. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Women who eat three or more servings” of strawberries every week “may lower their risk of having a heart attack.” More good news for the ladies, Maca has been shown to ease menopausal symptoms, boost mood, and heighten energy. Because it tastes so great, cacao can also boost your mood, but it also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. So basically, you could call this smoothie a smile in a glass!
Banana Orange Refresh
Banana and orange are two of the most familiar smoothie elements, and for good reason! Bananas blend beautifully into nearly any recipe, and provide a sweetness and creaminess that compliments the savory flavor of greens. Plus, they’re full of potassium, which wards against cramps and helps lower blood pressure. Along with a nice tart zing, oranges add fiber and vitamin C, and collard greens add a bit of protein as well as vitamin A and more vitamin C. Even though you won’t taste them, chia seeds are really the star of this smoothie. With very few calories per serving, but a high amount of protein, healthy fat, fiber and magnesium, these little guys not only help to keep you full, but get your metabolism revved up and ready to go all day long.
Pretty in Pink Pick-Me-Up
Blueberries are one of the healthiest berries you can eat. Not only do these low sugar berries have more antioxidants per serving than almost any other fruit, studies have found that they may help block the growth of tumor cells. Combining them with bananas and pea protein makes a powerhouse smoothie that will keep you full and full of energy for hours, and summer squash provides ample amounts of vitamin C, folate and B-6.
Spinach in pancakes? Trust us. The most classic of the super greens blends perfectly into this breakfast (or anytime!) treat. Spinach has so many vitamins and minerals, that it’s an easy way to supplement your diet. Walnuts provide omega-3 and vitamin E, both critical to healing the skin. Lucuma powder has anti-inflammatory powers and a caramel flavor that complements the oats. Strawberries finish it off with a summery sweetness.
Brown Rice / Jasmine Rice
Researchers believe that the high glycemic index (GI) of certain rices help people sleep better by increasing the amount of tryptophan released into the body (they even did a study on it). Brown rice also contains the amino acid GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), which calms the nervous system.
Kale / Collard Greens
Like dairy products, dark leafy greens like kale and collards contain calcium, which many people (women especially) struggle to get enough of. Calcium is responsible for more than just healthy bones; it also “stabilizes” the nerve cells in the brain, quieting things down so you can get a full night’s rest, instead of going over your To Do list for hours. Kale also contains magnesium, which is a restful night’s best friend.
Superfood Kale Oatmeal
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds, and along with having 20% complete protein (making it a better source of protein than most nuts), it’s an excellent source of calcium and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15. Oats are high in fiber and have cholesterol-lowering properties, and cinnamon is a great anti-inflammatory. Combine these ingredients with fresh kale from Brooklyn Grange (the world’s largest rooftop soil farm), and you’ve got a smoothie so healthy and satisfying you may want to drink it for breakfast every morning.
Chocolate Coconut Macaroon
A traditional French delicacy, macaroons are usually made with sugar, coconut and chocolate. This healthy version still has the chocolate in the form of cacao (chocolate in its rawest form, full of antioxidants, magnesium, and great for heart health and boosting mood) and coconut flakes (iron, calcium and healthy fat). We’ve added some nutrient-dense kale to up the fiber, folate and vitamin K, and bananas to give you a dose of beta-carotene, potassium and natural energy. The perfect pre-workout smoothie, treat yourself before working up a good sweat!
Get-Up-And-Go Green Grapefruit
Vitamin C is a great immune-booster, but it’s also an important element to energy synthesis throughout the body -- which basically means that it helps our bodies convert food into energy. Luckily, this smoothie is full of vitamin C (grapefruit, pineapple and kale). It’s also full of protein, thanks to a scoop of easy-to-digest pea protein, which is essential for prolonged vitality. Because unsaturated fat is the most energy dense of all the macronutrients, the healthy fat in half an avocado and walnuts is also essential to feeling both mentally and physically alert. If you have a long day ahead of you, but still want to fall peacefully asleep at night, try this low sugar, low carb option.
Pineapple Mint Punch
Simply smelling fresh mint has been known to aid in relaxation (which is key to living a long, healthy life), but the herb itself can actually calm a rumbling, upset stomach. The soluble fiber in an apple is great for helping a rocky digestion as well, and pineapple is full of immune-boosting, nervous-system calming vitamin C. One of the few vegetables with protein, collard greens are also loaded with vitamin A, a key vitamin for healthy skin and nails. Add some creamy, healthy cashews and lime juice, and you may just be transported to a tranquil tropical paradise — at least in your mind!
A cup of collard greens contains almost five grams of protein, as well as good amounts of vitamins K, A and C. Mint and lime combine for a slightly tropical flavor combo, while pear and persian cucumbers add hydration, potassium and copper. Pea protein, which is an easily-digestible, plant-based protein that’s perfect for vegans or people who can’t digest whey or soy, makes this relatively low calorie smoothie a perfect post workout snack. Rehydrate your body, give your muscles the protein they need, and add a dose of nutrients to keep you feeling energetic after any kind of exercise.
Chickpeas are full of protein, but they also contain vitamin B6, which helps boost the production of melatonin. By including more chickpeas into your diet throughout the day or week, you can help regulate you sleep / wake cycle, making falling asleep easier.
Oatmeal contains calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are helpful for sleep, but because it’s also a complex carbohydrate, it doesn’t spike blood sugar and is digested quickly, making it a healthy before-bed snack.
Almond Oat Bread
Bananas contain magnesium and potassium, two essential nutrients for the relaxation of muscles and protein synthesis -- basically, they’re a great post-workout snack! Rolled oats are another nourishing food, thanks to their high amount of fiber and the fact that they’re a complex carb, which means they digest slowly and provide a slow burn of energy. Add in some anti-inflammatory cinnamon, as well as iron, calcium and vitamin K from spinach, and you have a satisfying, energizing meal replacement that’s perfect for a busy day.
Pecan Oatmeal Cookie
Naturally gluten free and low calorie, tofu is a fantastic source of protein, calcium and iron. (Since tofu is made from soybeans, a highly popular crop, it’s important to make sure to buy organic and non-GMO soy products.) Besides their delightfully sweet flavor, pecans have been shown to lower bad cholesterol, and are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut out there. Oats are another cholesterol-lowering food, and are packed with fiber, as are bananas and raisins. Round everything out with anti-inflammatory power of cinnamon and the zinc and vitamin K in spinach, and you’ve got a complete meal in a glass -- that tastes like a cookie!
Placid Pomegranate Oatmeal
Full of fiber and even a little protein, pomegranates are known for being a favorite holiday flavor, as well as for their antioxidant power. They’re also fantastic at treating inflammation in the body. Cashews are a low fat nut, and the fat that do contain is directly responsible for helping our body process energy in the most efficient way. Oats will help you feel satisfied and grounded with their heart-healthy fiber, and grapes and pear add a sweet (but not too sweet) base. After a long, stressful day, this might be just the thing to renew your senses!
Possibly originating in Southeast Asia, noni fruit now grows in most tropical regions. The fruit contains both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties (making it a great immune-boosting ingredient), and may even help lower cholesterol and regulate sleep patterns. Flaxseed is a great vegan source of Omega-3s, and cashews have the lowest amount of fat in the nut family (and most of that fat is the healthy monounsaturated kind). If you’re looking for a boost for both your energy and immune system, this fruity smoothie is it.
All the heart healthy benefits of oatmeal in a cup, this low calorie smoothie will keep you satisfied for hours thanks to pumpkin seeds, which are little powerhouses of plant-based protein, fiber and healthy fats. Add in some skin-loving cinnamon and lucuma, and feel yourself glow from the inside out.
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