The mealtimes are very important: breakfast to kick-start the day and lunch to take a break in order to re-fuel and re-focus the mind. But, what about dinner? Dinner is just as important and has a number of essential functions.
Fuel your body
Since dinner is the last meal of the day it is very important to eat the right food, because you won’t eat again for about another 10 hours. It is critical to ensure that there is a steady supply of glucose for your body to use as fuel for essential processes while you sleep. One of the most common causes of waking in the night is when levels of sugar in the blood fall.
Your body then has to use stored glucose and this can cause you to wake up and sometimes it can be difficult to get back to sleep. In order to counteract this, it is important to eat a good dinner which contains both carbohydrates (such as, fruit, vegetables, rice, pasta, potatoes) and protein (such as eggs, meat, beans or lentils) which will ensure a steady release of glucose into your bloodstream, and also prevent disturbed sleep.
Eat to sleep
Besides we eat to balance our blood sugars, we also have to eat correctly in order to get the right amino acids. Amino acids are part of the building block of our bodies and they also work as neurotransmitters. They transport messages around our nervous systems, and they play an important role in promoting well-being as well as mood. Serotonin is one such example. Deficiency of serotonin is associated with sleep problems, mood disturbance, and aggressive and compulsive behavior.
You get it after serotonin has been converted in your body from eating foods which contain the amino acid tryptophan. You should also know that tryptophan is carried into the brain via carbohydrate, which is another reason to have your carbohydrates and protein dinner. Bananas, seeds, nuts, soya beans, tuna (fresh rather than tinned), turkey, and chicken are good sources of tryptophan.
Feed your mind
Many people are busy during the day and for that reason, it is easy to overlook some of the simple pleasures in life and dinner offers an excellent opportunity to do just that. One study has shown that families who eat together every day were also eating a better range of important nutrients, such as iron, fiber, calcium, vitamins B6, B12, and vitamins E as well as C. There are the reasons to eat dinner but you should also remember these, too:
– Avoid fatty foods late at night because it is harder to digest and break them down. This can lead to poor quality of sleep.
– Try to avoid too many stimulants while you eat dinner, such as caffeine or alcohol, since these can prevent you from getting to sleep.
– Don’t eat too late in the evening because the longer you wait to eat the more likely you’re to overeat.
– Relax and try to eat slowly. When you are stressed your body cannot digest nutrients properly and for that reason take the time to chew.