Melatonin is considered the essential hormone for sleep. At night its values go up and make a person able to fall asleep.
Some foods have melatonin naturally. So at first glance, it could be said that consuming them could help you sleep better.
This article looks at foods with melatonin and if they help you sleep better.
Examples of foods with melatonin
One of the foods with the most melatonin is walnuts; these nuts contain about 0.3 mg of melatonin per 100 g of product. Also within this category are some cereals such as corn, mustard seeds, and bananas.
Below you can see a list of foods with melatonin:
|Food||Melatonin (mg each 100 g)|
|Nuts – macadamia||0.2 – 0.3 mg|
|Mustard seeds||0.2 – 0.3 mg|
|Corn||0.1 -0.2 mg|
|Banana or plantain||0.04 – 0.05 mg|
|Ginger root||0.01 – 0.02 mg|
|Ananas||0.01 – 0.03 mg|
|Mango||0.06 – 0.07 mg|
|Avena||0.01 -0.02 mg|
|Asparagus||0.01 -0.02 mg|
Melatonin Food Table (1)
Do foods with melatonin help you sleep better?
While there is no doubt that melatonin is a fundamental molecule for regulating sleep, and this is indeed found in some foods, its quantity is meager. Therefore, consuming them is not the best strategy to sleep better.
For example, 100 g of walnuts have a calorie content of 600 calories and only 0.2 milligrams of melatonin.
You should consume about 500 grams of walnuts per day to have any effect. Something that will surely make you gain weight.
However, it has been proven that an intake of foods rich in tryptophan can increase the natural production of the sleep hormone. So, in this case, its effects on sleeping better are not due to the melatonin itself but to providing the raw material for the body to generate it. (3)
Melatonin is an antioxidant
Melatonin acts as an antioxidant. (4,5,6)
It can counteract the effect of free radicals and prevent oxidative effects.
When sleeping, it is melatonin that penetrates the tissues and cells of the body and successfully neutralizes the effects of free radicals that exist in the body. This is one of the primary mechanisms the body has to protect DNA. (4)
There is enough evidence to say that when there are imbalances in the natural production of melatonin, it can increase cancer risk.
Lack of melatonin leads to a slower reasoning process and low mood. Just as a relationship has been recorded between the levels of this hormone with diseases associated with memory and cognitive functions, such as Alzheimer’s. (6)
Melatonin and cortisol
Melatonin works oppositely to cortisol, the stress hormone. These two hormones complement each other in a natural cycle.
To guarantee your health, it is best not to eat many foods with melatonin but to make changes in your habits to allow this balance between cortisol and melatonin to occur naturally.
Learning to control your temper, finding the position to sleep well, or simply trying not to constantly expose yourself to stressful situations are helpful methods to hack your body.
The foods with the most melatonin are walnuts, mustard seeds, and corn.
Eating foods with melatonin does not help you sleep better. Its amount is too low to make changes in your body.
However, if you look for foods to sleep better, give your body tryptophan. This is the raw material for your body to produce melatonin.
Melatonin works opposite to cortisol; avoiding exposing yourself to stressful situations and controlling your temper can help you sleep better.