12 Foods That Help You Fall (and Stay) Asleep!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, close to 60 percent of individuals across the United States say they have a problem sleeping every night. While it can be frustrating tossing and turning, you’ll find that a sleepless night can also cause certain health issues and weight gain, especially in the abdomen. Failing to get enough sleep is a unique form of stress that causes the body to respond with a chronic one. However, an overlooked approach to sleep restoration is through a healthy diet. The following foods will contribute to a restful evening of sleep and allow you to remain that way throughout the entire night.

1. Salmon

If you’re anticipating a good night’s sleep, you can begin with a sleep-inducing evening meal. Salmon is an excellent form of omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s crucial in lessening the stress hormones that can be keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re not a fan of salmon, you’ll find other varieties of fish such as halibut to be just as beneficial.

2. Tart Cherry Juice

Before you’re hit with a bout of insomnia, you may want to think about having a drink. While alcohol can disrupt your normal sleep patterns, a glass of tart cherry juice can reduce your symptoms of insomnia significantly. This natural source of melatonin makes the ideal bedtime companion when you mix it with almond or soy milk, ice and mix it in the blender. If you can’t find tart cherry juice at your local retail establishment, you can exchange the juice for dried or fresh cherries.

3. Bananas

Finding it difficult to get to sleep? You may want to try eating a banana. In addition to be full of potassium and helping to calm restless legs, bananas can help combat nasty leg cramps that can plague restless sleepers. Studies published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2007, a correlation has been shown between getting enough potassium and obtaining the highest level of restful sleep. This amazing yellow fruit is also chalk full of magnesium to aid in promoting circulation, digestion and helping the muscles and nerves to relax. To get your recommended dose of magnesium and potassium, you can peel and place the banana in a favorite smoothie recipe or cut it up and serve over cereal.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious, healthy and inexpensive staple to keep in your pantry. Known as a good source of potassium, sweet potatoes can aid in digestion, circulation and help promote relaxation. In addition to baking, you can make homemade sweet potato fries by cutting them into slices, laying them on a cookie sheet and drizzling with a little olive oil. Other excellent sources of potassium include white potatoes, papaya or lima beans.

5. Kale

Biochemists sing the praises of this cruciferous vegetable for its sleep inducing properties. Known for being high in both calcium and potassium, kale can contribute to a peaceful night of sleep. Whether you include it in your evening meal or munch on it as a pre-bedtime snack, this leafy green is great for a good night’s rest. If you aren’t a fan of kale, never fear. Green veggies such as spinach and Swiss chard contain a healthy dose of potassium and host the same benefits as kale.

6. Almonds

A handful of almonds before you hit the sheets can help promote a restful night’s sleep. Because they contain proteins that help stabilize your blood sugar levels while you rest, you’re able to switch from a stage of alertness to drowsiness. If your tastes lean toward something more substantial, you can spread a tablespoon of almond butter on a piece of whole-grain toast for a night of good slumber.

7. Chickpeas

Also referred to as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are instrumental in relieving stress and elevating your mood because of its high levels of vitamin B-6. Adding chick peas to an evening meal can help promote a better night’s sleep. You can best utilize this healthy melatonin producer by placing them on top of a salad. You can also make it into a hummus spread and dip crudité such as red peppers, carrots, celery and cucumber spears.

8. Eggs

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore. High in protein and used to keep your blood sugar levels stable, eggs can also help you catch enough Zzzs at night. Whether you hard boil a few eggs ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator or scramble them with a little cheese, this protein enriched gem can make an easy evening snack. If you’re not a big fan of eggs, you can find protein in other places such as lean meat or cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit.

9. Milk

Movies, T.V. shows and advertisements have sung the praises of milk when it comes to getting some sleep. While some individuals swear that a glass of milk contains enough melatonin to lull a body to sleep, the lack of evidence has caused some experts to back off on these statements. If you’re looking to fall asleep at a faster rate, soy products have been shown to place an individual into a deeper sense of slumber.

10. Herbal or Decaffeinated Green Tea

While you may be used to combating bouts of tiredness throughout your busy day with a cup of coffee, you want to put down your cup of java in favor of decaf tea in the afternoon. Because green tea contains sleep inducing ingredients such as theanin, you’re sure to feel the relaxing effects into the evening hours. In addition to being able to lessen the amount of time it takes to get to sleep, decaf tea can also increase the number of hours you stay asleep. Combine the warm mug with a comfy chair or bed, and you have perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep.

11. Cereal

Low-sugar cereals that are rich in whole-grains can set the stage for a slumber-filled night. Tryptophan isn’t just for Thanksgiving and turkeys. A carb-rich bowl of cereal can also have sleep inducing effects on the brain. In addition to cereal and milk, other carb-protein mates can include cheese and crackers or peanut butter and toast.

12. Oatmeal

While a delicious bowl of warmed oatmeal before bed can be a satisfying way to end your day, you’ll find this soothing snack to aid in helping you get to sleep faster. Because it contains nutritional resources such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, you’re sure to conquer any late-night jitters with this super food. However, topping your bowl of oatmeal with too much sugar can be counter-productive. Blueberries, raspberries, walnuts, almonds and cinnamon make better alternative toppers.

New Hope in Regenerative Medicine

Scientists have found a way to transform blood cells into blood-forming ones.

Researchers have taken mature blood cells from mice and reprogrammed them into the blood-forming variety using a combination of eight genetic switches. The transcription factors commonly known as HSCs are capable of self-renewal. They can also give growth to the cellular segments of the blood.

With the latest findings related to the HSCs production, the goals of regenerative medicine have finally become attainable. Bone marrow transplants, also known as blood transplants, are a method that has been used to save patient’s lives for over three decades. However, finding the right cell matches for the transplantation process has proved challenging for many patients and researchers.

HSCs are the starting basis for the transplantation process regardless if their source was from peripheral blood, bone marrow or umbilical cord blood. The patient’s transplant success rate is based on the number of HSCs that are available for usage. If there are a great number of cells available to be used, the better chance that the transplant will take hold for the patient.

Unfortunately HSCs are a rare commodity and are comprised of about one in every 20,000 bone marrow cells. If there was a way to manufacture HSCs from the other cells in a patient, they could be utilized for transplants and a way to model diseases related to blood development.

The latest findings screened gene expression using various types of blood progenitor cells taken from mice. By using 40 types of blood, they were able to identify control factors that turned the genes both on and off based on the exclusive HSCs.

The production of blood cells typically moves in one direction that includes stem cells, progenitors and mature effector cells. However, the main goal was to reverse the process by developing the HSCs from various blood cells that were specific to the HSCs.

Through this series of experiments, the team was able to find that six out of the 36 factors were able to reprogram two varieties of progenitor cells in the iHSCs.

This was done by exposing the cells to viruses that contained the 8 factors and molecular device that turned the genes on when in the presence of doxycycline. The exposed cells were then transplanted into the mice and activated by way of doxycycline. The iHSCs were then able to generate the stockpile of blood cells that were transplanted into the mice to show that they could differentiate into the various blood lines. It also marks the innovative direction mice are taking in response to HSC research.

Because questions such as how the eight factors contribute to the reprogramming process, and the success of the approaches on viruses and transcription, the latest findings are far from being recorded at the transplantation clinic. The studies are also inconclusive when it comes to the results related to human cells versus non-blood in correlation to the reprogrammed iHSCs.

Gene matched donors and utilizing the cells of a patient to develop iHSCs may be a long way away, but it’s definitely a movement in the right direction. The discovery could also have a major impact on the transplantation process down the road.

7 Nutrients That Help Increase Muscle Tone

When it comes to achieving an awe-inspiring body, calories aren’t the only factor to be taken into consideration. With a mixture of eating the right foods and exercising, you’ll be able to achieve your goal of slimming down and building strong muscles.

Your muscles actually break down and cause microtears in the tissues fibers every time you perform exercises such as curls and presses. When your body is at rest, it’s then able to strengthen and rebuild muscles. However, in order for it to repair properly, it needs the right amount of fuel to get the job done. Essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals can allow you to get the recommended daily dosage that will help you to look good and feel great.

Vitamin C

A little color added to your plate at every meal can help create better tone and definition in your arms. Fortunately, a healthy dose of vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The health of your blood vessels is dependent on your vitamin C consumption. This essential nutrient can also contribute to the way your muscles work and recover after a workout. After your body receives the necessary 75 mg. daily requirements, you’ll be able to store the material properly in order to build strong bones and muscles. You can find the recommended allotment by consuming a cup of strawberries, medium orange or half a red pepper.

Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial nutrient that will help decrease inflammation and help a body recover faster after a workout. Known to increase the flow of blood to the muscles and lessen the breakdown of muscle protein, consuming fish oil on a regular basis can even help prevent diabetes by improving an individual’s sensitivity to insulin.

The American Heart Association has guidelines in place that recommends consuming two servings of fish on a weekly basis. This could include anything from lake trout and herring to salmon and albacore tuna. If you can’t stomach the taste of fish or you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you can get your recommended 1,000 to 3,000 milligram supplement in chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds or algae-based products.

Calcium

If you’re looking to maintain strong bones and healthy muscles, you’ll find calcium to be an essential nutrient. With every weight you lift, this important mineral gives your body the nutrients that it needs to contract and grow.

To get your allotted 1,200 mg. per day, you’ll want to try to consume foods such as green veggies, yogurt, cheese, milk and cottage cheese. You’ll also find fortified dairy-free products and supplements for those who are lactose intolerant. If you’re shooting for a pill, look for one with vitamin D. You should also select supplements that contain 500 to 600 mg. of calcium.

Magnesium

The deficiency of magnesium is a rare occurrence in the U.S. However, when it comes to not getting enough of this essential mineral, it is women who are actually lacking. Since your body needs this important nutrient in order to build muscles and ensure that you’re heart keeps ticking properly, you’ll want to get at least 310 to 320 mg. per day. In addition to regulating your heart, magnesium can also relive muscle soreness and cramps associated with PMS and weight lifting. Foods high in magnesium can include whole-grains, spinach, legumes and nuts. You can also soak it up by drawing yourself a relaxing Epsom salt bath.

B Vitamins

From B1, B2 and B3 to B6 and B12, this gang of supplements can pack a powerful punch. Essential in maintaining overall good health. Because of the way they metabolize protein, provide energy and help the body maintain optimum nerve health, you’ll find the vitamins to be especially important when you’re trying to tone muscles and gain strength.

Adequate amounts of vitamin B can be sought through a daily diet when you consume foods that include whole-grains, lean meats, eggs, nuts, legumes, fortified cereals and leafy greens. Unfortunately, B12 can only be found through animal sources. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to consider fortified food sources or taking a supplement to obtain the required 2.4 daily micrograms.

Vitamin D

It seems that everyone is singing the praises of this powerful sunshine vitamin today. From mood inducing powers and a strong immune system to muscle building properties, and the growth and development of your bones and teeth, you’ll find that vitamin D is an essential vitamin that you can’t do without.

While you can get adequate vitamin D through daily exposure to the sun, you have skin cancer to contend with. Mushrooms, eggs, fortified dairy products, oysters and cod liver oil can help you achieve your recommended 4,000 to 6,000 (IU) of vitamin D. You can also take a supplement. A simple blood test taken by your primary care physician can help you determine if you’re vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin E

Reaching for a handful of almonds after a workout can provide a wealth of nutrients that includes healthy fats, fiber, protein and vitamin E. This important antioxidant can be beneficial in your muscle recovery after you exercise. However, maintaining the right recommended dosage is important because anything over 300 mg. can cause weakness, nausea and stomach cramping

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