The pineal gland located in the brain produces the hormone melatonin. This substance is responsible for regulating the body’s biological clock, increasing its amount at night to cause sleep and decreasing its concentration in the morning when we wake up. This hormone begins to be produced 90 minutes after sleep to ensure a deep rest.
As we age, melatonin levels decrease because an older adult can produce 12 times less melatonin than a young person. Melatonin is also an excellent antioxidant that helps reverse the effect of free radicals in the body’s cells, allowing the prevention of some types of cancer, such as breast cancer. Studies have shown that taking melatonin supplements can help when there are problems with insomnia or production is low. However, we can also increase melatonin concentration through food; how? Keep reading this FastlyHealarticle and learn about foods rich in melatonin.
Table of Contents
Health benefits of melatonin
Regulates the rhythm of the body
We say that melatonin is the substance responsible for regulating the body’s biological clock precisely because it can program our body based on 24 hours, its production being a trigger for deep rest and its decrease a reason to wake up. For this reason, those who have insomnia often say that they have an invested schedule.
Melatonin is not only responsible for deep rest, but it helps normalize sleep disorders such as insomnia since it also intervenes in the conciliation of sleep. As the production of this hormone reaches its highest level 90 minutes after bedtime, the rest deepens, which allows the renewal of cells and tissues.
It is believed that the antioxidant properties of melatonin are much more potent than those of vitamin C and vitamin E. It can reverse the effect of free radicals in cells, prevent premature aging, protects the genetic material of the body, and aid in avoiding diseases such as cancer and cerebrovascular accidents (CVA).
This hormone helps control depression and improves emotional and cognitive health. Melatonin prevents diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s while preventing migraines.
Strong immune system
Due to its antioxidant property and its power to increase the production of blood cells, melatonin strengthens the immune system by increasing the number of defenses that the body uses to detect and eliminate bacteria and viruses.
Cereals containing melatonin
Cereals are the food group that offers the highest melatonin concentration to the body through food. The cereals that contain the most melatonin are:
- Rice: rice is one of the complete foods that we can include in our diet because, in addition to containing the eight essential amino acids for the body, it is also a source of vitamin B1 and B3 and contains minerals such as phosphorus, iron, and potassium. Eating a cup of cooked rice offers a small portion of melatonin that helps you fall asleep more easily.
- Oats: in addition to melatonin, oats are an excellent source of fiber, protein, carbohydrates, lecithin, iron, phosphorus, fatty acids, and vitamin B1, which are responsible for reducing nervous states. Having a cup of hot oatmeal at night can help us get a more restful sleep that gives us the ideal rest.
- Corn: among the foods rich in melatonin, corn cannot be absent since it offers between 60 and 100 mcg per 100 grams. In addition to melatonin, corn is a complete and balanced food that provides fiber, vitamins A, C, and B, mineral salts, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and carbohydrates.
The tomato very rich in melatonin
Tomato is also on the list of antioxidant foods, and its melatonin content enhances this property along with the vitamin C and E it contains.
In addition, tomato is one of the foods that offer the highest amount of potassium and iron to the body, being very useful for treating anemia and reducing muscle cramps. It also contains vitamin A and K, and if applied topically to a wound, it helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
Walnuts, the dried fruit with the most melatonin
One gram of walnuts can provide the body with up to 3.5 ng / ml of melatonin. In addition, walnuts act in the body to increase the production of this hormone and reduce the oxidation of cells caused by free radicals.
Walnuts are the dried fruit with the highest amount of omega-three fatty acids. They also contain vitamins B and C; they are a type of healthy fat and help satisfy the appetite by calming the anxiety about eating.
Fruits rich in melatonin
Among the fruits that contain the most melatonin are:
- Cherries: it is not just any cherry. Specifically, it is the Montmorency and Balaton types that offer the body a higher concentration of melatonin. These fruits are very antioxidant, as they also contain vitamin A, C, and E and potassium. Cherries are beneficial in increasing the acidity of the urine and preventing the proliferation of bacteria.
- Banana: among the many benefits of banana, its ability to help you fall asleep stands out, so eating a small portion before going to bed is a great help to sleep soundly and fight fatigue. Banana is also one of the fruits that offer the highest amount of potassium to the body to protect the heart’s health.
Why does melatonin production decrease?
In addition to age, certain factors predispose a person to have low melatonin levels and suffer some of the consequences of this deficit, such as insomnia. Among the main enemies of melatonin, we find:
- The caffeine.
- NSAID-type anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Medicines to treat anxiety and hypertension.
- Calcium supplements.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.