Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body, used to regulate our sleep and wake cycles. There are many over the counter supplements that include synthetic melatonin (such as Onnit’s New Mood) but melatonin is also found in a wide variety of foods. Eating these foods prior to going to bed could help you sleep a little better when you finally tuck in at night.
One of the best natural sources of melatonin is actually in a fruit that you may already have in your fridge: cherries. Tart/sour cherries actually contain much higher amounts of melatonin than many other foods, containing about 1,350 nanograms of melatonin per 100 grams of cherries. One of the next highest foods on this melatonin scale is walnuts with around 270 nanograms of melatonin per 100 grams of the nuts. If you can find tart/sour cherry juice concentrate, that actually contains a whopping 17,535 nanograms of melatonin per 100 grams.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that we’re all likely familiar with, especially around Thanksgiving when we consume turkey. It’s said that the reason we all feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal is because of this amino acid, which turns into serotonin and melatonin in the brain. The truth is that it’s likely a combination of eating too much, eating too much food that’s bad for us, and the tryptophan all working together that leads us to feel so groggy.
Along with turkey, elk meat, blue crabs, lobster, spinach, and spirulina seaweed are just a few of the other foods that contain high amounts of natural tryptophan.
If you’re looking for drinks to have before bed to help you relax and sleep more soundly, look no further than a glass of warm milk. While it may seem like an old wives’ tale to drink a glass of warm milk to induce sleep, there’s actually something soothing about a warm drink that can make you feel more relaxed. Plus milk is a natural source of tryptophan and calcium, the latter of which helps the body regulate the release of melatonin. If you’re vegan or vegatarian, try a decaffinated variety of tea. Green tea contains the amino acid theanine, though like milk, warm tea just makes you feel more relaxed which can lead to a better night’s sleep.
Joe Rogan got me curious about kombucha tea when he was talking about it on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. For a long while he was speaking of how good it tasted and how good it made him feel as well. After a bit of research it seems like the health benefits of kombucha could be real, or maybe they’re not.
Kombucha tea is full of probiotics. Probiotics are useful to our digestive systems. They help keep us regular and prevent us from getting backed up. That’s a good thing, and relatively easy to believe. These days, probiotics are in a lot of the foods on grocery store shelves, such as yogurt. Specific brands of yogurt use the inclusion of these probiotics as the main selling point.
Others claim some different health benefits of kombucha aside from staying regular. Many believe that kombucha helps to boost the body’s immune system, promoting a healthier, more well-balanced metabolism and internal organs. Some say it helps with baldness, arthritis, and can improve skin quality. Chances are if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
While there are scores of people who swear by kombucha and its health benefits, it may not be seen that way by those in the medical industry. The fact is there aren’t enough (or any, really) studies on kombucha to prove its supposed benefits one way or the other. The only thing I can suggest is trying kombucha tea for yourself for a little while and see how you feel. Perhaps going in with a little skepticism is a good thing and will curb any placebo effect that you could otherwise be attributing to the tea.
Like many things related to fitness and health, I was first introduced to kombucha tea via The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. While he hasn’t spoken much about it lately, Joe seemed to be on a big kombucha kick a year or so ago. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try it for myself, but I’ve always wondered, what is kombucha tea?
Kombucha tea is a tea that’s made by combining water, tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Once combined, the bacteria and yeast consume the sugar, eventually producing a tea that’s fizzy like pop or beer, but with a slightly sour taste. Speaking of beer, the process of creating kombucha results in a tea that does contain alcohol, albeit a very small amount. Typically this is around one percent or less.
After looking into kombucha a little further, I realized that it’s actually possible to make it at home. All you need is a large glass jar, water, sugar, tea, and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY for short. The last ingredient can actually be found online quite easily. There are even dehydrated SCOBY specifically for making kombucha tea. The rest of the ingredients you likely already have in your cupboards, or can find quite easily.
What’s a little strange about kombucha tea for anyone who hasn’t seen it before is that the SCOBY actually floats to the surface of the tea during the seven-to-ten day fermentation process. When it’s ready to drink is really up to you. After a week or so, you begin tasting it daily until it becomes appealing to your palate. At that point, you can scoop out the SCOBY, add it to a new batch of kombucha, and then pour (or strain) out the remaining kombucha into glass bottles.
Yesterday I wrote about what matcha green tea is, but didn’t touch on why it’s good for you. Today, I’ll explore a couple of the health benefits of matcha green tea. You might assume that since matcha green tea is essentially just green tea, its benefits would be the same, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
Because matcha green tea requires you to stir entire ground leaves into the water rather than removing them after steeping, your body is obtaining all of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that you would otherwise be throwing away. Don’t think that this increases the caloric count of the tea either, because matcha green tea has virtually no calories, making it the perfect choice for anyone who’s on a diet or trying to lose weight.
Matcha green tea is an excellent drink to consume before any workout, ideally around 30 minutes prior. Matcha is a natural energy booster that does contain more caffeine than a regular cup of green tea (though less than a cup of coffee) but it won’t give you any of the negative side effects or nervous, jittery energy from drinking coffee.
If you’re looking to lose weight, matcha can help with that as well. Matcha green tea is a natural appetite suppressant and it speeds up the body’s metabolism too. Drinking a cup half way through the day will help tide you over until lunch or dinner and help you burn calories as well.
These are just a few of the health benefits of matcha green tea that I thought would appeal to you guys the most since my blog focuses a lot on losing weight and getting in shape. If you would like me to dive a little deeper into the health benefits matcha green tea provides, let me know!
I’ve written about some upcoming products that Onnit has in the pipeline, but one that I haven’t written about yet is the Onnit Matcha Green Tea. When I first heard about it, I thought “oh, that’s the tea that Joe Rogan used to talk about on his podcast all the time” but I was wrong. The tea that Joe used to frequently mention is kombucha, which is entirely different than matcha green tea, so I’ll save that for its own blog post.
I know that I’ve never seen this tea on any of the shelves at my local supermarket, and that’s likely because matcha is more expensive than most teas. Generally, the more expensive it is, the better quality it is. The quality of the tea depends on which leaves from the tea bush are used. Better, higher quality, more expensive matcha teas will use leaves from the top of the bush where the soft, growing leaves are receiving the majority of the nutrients from the tea bush.
But how exactly is matcha green tea different from regular old green tea? Well, the tea leaves used in matcha green tea come from the same tea bush as other types of green tea. How they differ is in the preparation of the leaves. Some people submerge whole tea leaves directly in the tea cup. Others take the streamlined route and buy single serving bags from the grocery store. But matcha is a little different. Matcha is green tea leaves that have been ground into a very fine powder.
I’ve never been much of a tea guy, but I do know that traditionally tea is served with a cup of hot water and a bag. You dunk the bag into the water, let it sit for a while, and then take it out. That’s not how it works with matcha tea, though. Instead, you scoop a little bit of the matcha green tea powder right into the water, whisk it until all the powder has dissolved, and then you drink it. Matcha looks unlike any tea I’ve ever seen, with an intensely bright green color. Now that is what I imagine the Hulk’s loads look like! Steamy, frothy, green, and a little scary to drink!