Eating common foods rich in melatonin, such as cranberries, pistachios, almonds, apples, cherries, strawberries, or drinking Merlot wine, might help you sleep better at night.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that the human body produces naturally.
The main function of melatonin is to regulate sleep. It’s the internal clock of the human body. Actually, melatonin levels rise before bedtime and remain high during night’s sleep.
Eating foods high in melatonin may help night shift workers and in cases of insomnia, and jet lag.
Other health benefits of melatonin
Certainly, melatonin is more than a sleeping hormone. Many studies have been conducted about the health benefits of melatonin. Melatonin:
- has antioxidant activity,
- has anti-inflammatory characteristics,
- boosts the immune system,
- has anticancer activity,
- can protect the cardiovascular system,
- has anti-diabetic activities,
- can help lose weight,
- has neuroprotective properties,
- is a powerful anti-aging agent.
Can beverages & foods with melatonin help you sleep at night?
Eating foods high in melatonin can significantly increase melatonin concentration in the human body. So, dietary sources of melatonin can help you sleep better at night.
How much melatonin does the human body naturally produce?
Each person can produce different amounts of melatonin a say. It depends on many factors:
- melatonin production decreases with aging.
- being overweight may be bad for melatonin production.
- light exposure at night inhibits melatonin synthesis. Especially exposure to blue light.
The human body can naturally produce about 10–80 mcg of melatonin per night. On the other hand, it doesn’t produce any significant amounts of melatonin at the daytime.
Furthermore, the human body doesn’t store melatonin. It is instantly released into the blood.
Excess melatonin is excreted through urine. Therefore, too much melatonin isn’t dangerous for healthy people.
How much melatonin do we need a day?
Actually, most people will never experience melatonin deficiency. So, should I take melatonin supplements?
First, melatonin supplements contain high doses. Much higher doses than the human body can produce or naturally present in food.
Most melatonin supplements contain doses of 3-5 mg per tablet. This dosage can be 60 times higher than our bodies can naturally synthesize per night. But, melatonin supplementation is the easiest way to boost your daily melatonin intake.
You’ll find a wide variety of melatonin supplements on iHerb.
You better prefer supplements with the minimum dose of 1 mg (1,000 mcg), though. This dose is more than enough for most healthy people.
Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.
How much melatonin in pistachios?
Many nuts and seeds are good dietary sources of melatonin.
To begin with, pistachios are among the richest food in melatonin, containing 23.3 mcg of melatonin per 100g or 6.5 mcg per 1oz. Hence, pistachios are the best food snack to help you sleep.
A handful of pistachios before bedtime is enough. They can help you with insomnia or jet lag.
Despite pistachios are high in calories, you won’t gain weight eating them at night. On the contrary, pistachios are good for losing belly fat.
Do walnuts & almonds help you sleep?
Nuts are plant-based foods that have the highest melatonin content. Besides pistachios, walnuts and almonds are good sources of melatonin. Almonds have 3.9 mcg, while walnuts have 0.35 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
Therefore, nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are a great night snacks. They could help you sleep or improve sleep quality.
Are fruits high in melatonin?
Generally speaking, most fruits don’t contain any significant amount of melatonin. Only cranberries, grapes, strawberries, cherries, apples, and bananas seem to contain decent amounts of melatonin.
Cranberries are the richest common food in melatonin
Cranberries are particularly high in melatonin. They contain between 250-960 mcg of melatonin per 100g!
So, eating cranberries or drinking cranberry juice before bed might increase sleep quality and duration.
Banana is a fruit rich in melatonin
Bananas are common melatonin-containing fruits. Banana contains 0.07 mcg of melatonin per 100g. Practically, a banana has about 0.09 mcg of melatonin.
Most noteworthy, banana consumption can increase the concentration of melatonin in the body. According to a study, eating banana increased the melatonin concentration in the body about 330%.
Furthermore, drinking orange or pineapple juice had the same effect. Pineapple juice increased the melatonin concentration about 200%. Orange juice increased the melatonin concentration about 280%.
You can eat pineapple late at night, without gaining weight. Actually, pineapple is great for weight loss.
How much melatonin in cherries, strawberries & grapes?
Besides bananas, there are many other fruits naturally rich in melatonin, that can actually help you sleep at night:
- Cherries are among the richest fruits in melatonin. They contain about 1.34 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
- Strawberries are also plant-based foods high in melatonin. They contain about 1.12 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
- Grapes are among the highest melatonin containing fruits. As there are many grape varieties, the melatonin content of grapes varies greatly. Most grape varieties have about 0.1 mcg of melatonin per 100g. But, there are certain grape varieties that contain more than 15 mcg per 100g. Even grape juice is rich in melatonin. It contains about 0.05 mcg of melatonin per 100 mL. Grapes are good for weight loss.
- Orange juice has about 0.3-2.2 mcg of melatonin per 100 mL, depending on the orange variety.
- Pineapples are melatonin containing fruits as well. The melatonin content of pineapple is about 0.03 mcg per 100g.
So, eating these fruits in the evening may help you sleep better at night.
Apples are good dietary sources of melatonin
Apple is another common fruit rich in melatonin. Depending on the variety, apple has about 0.7-6.7 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
Above all, the peel of an apple is much higher in melatonin, as compared to the flesh. For instance, the “Granny Smith” variety has 10 times more melatonin in the peel than the flesh or the juice!
Cereals are good plant-based sources of melatonin
Most cereals are great dietary sources of melatonin. Therefore, cereals could help you sleep at night.
- corn is a good food source of melatonin. The mean melatonin content of corn is 9.6 mcg per 100g. Melatonin content depends greatly on corn variety, though. There are corn varieties that contain more than 200 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
- rice is another cereal rich in melatonin. The mean melatonin content is 1.6 mcg per 100g. There are rice varieties with 26.4 mcg of melatonin per 100g!
- wheat is also naturally high in melatonin, with 12.5 of melatonin per 100g.
- barley is also a good source of melatonin, with 8.2 mcg per 100g.
- oats are good sources of melatonin as well. They contain approximately 9.1 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
Therefore, eating corn, rice, wheat, barley, or oatmeal can help you sleep better at night. These foods may help you with hangover, or jet lag issues.
A tip. The crumb of bread is richer in melatonin than the crust.
Moreover, oats, wheat, barley, and rice are also great dietary sources of GABA. GABA is a chemical which also helps us sleep better at night.
Vegetables are melatonin containing foods
Actually, only a few vegetables are excellent dietary sources of melatonin.
- peppers have about 1.2 mcg of melatonin per 100g. Dried peppers contain about 9.3 mcg per 100g.
- tomatoes are also good sources of melatonin. Fresh tomatoes have about 1.4 mcg of melatonin per 100g, and dried tomatoes have about 25 mcg per 100g.
- mushrooms are particularly rich in melatonin as well. Especially, certain mushroom varieties, such as Basidiomycota and Agaricus bisporus. These varieties contain up to 1290 mcg and 640 mcg of melatonin per 100g, respectively. Melatonin content of mushrooms varies greatly, though. It depends on the mushroom variety, cultivation practices, and light conditions.
Vegetables can help you sleep better at night, for another reason. Eating plant-based foods, or foods high in melatonin, could help the human body naturally produce more melatonin.
Can beans help you sleep better?
Beans and legumes contain a decent amount of melatonin. In most cases, melatonin content isn’t enough to really help you sleep at night, though.
Only sprouted lentils are good dietary sources of melatonin. They have about 100 mcg of melatonin per 100g! Actually, lentils are great for dinner. They could help us lose weight and sleep better.
Microgreens & sprouts may increase the melatonin content of seeds
Microgreens and sprouts have amazing health benefits. Their nutritional value is superior, as compared to seeds. The melatonin concentration is no exception. The germination of seeds increases their melatonin content.
For instance, the melatonin content in germinated soybean seeds can be increased up to 400%. Moreover, the melatonin content in germinated mung beans can be increased more than 11 times!
What beverages contain melatonin?
Beer has a negligible content of melatonin, containing only 0.01 mcg of melatonin per 100 mL. But, as someone probably drinks more than 100 mL of beer a day, it may provide decent amounts of melatonin.
Additionally, most wine cultivars have about 12 mcg of melatonin per 100 mL. It greatly depends on grape variety, though. Merlot, Malbec, and Sangiovese are the richest varieties in melatonin. Most noteworthy, Merlot has the richest melatonin content of all fruits. It has between 10,000 and 15,000 mcg of melatonin per 100g!
Surprisingly, coffee is pretty rich in melatonin as well. Coffee beans are among the best melatonin containing foods. For instance, roasted arabica coffee beans contain up to 960 mcg of melatonin per 100g. Practically, a cup of coffee contains up to 40 mcg of melatonin.
Certainly, drinking a cup of coffee before sleeping isn’t a good idea. Due to its high caffeine content. Caffeine reduces the body’s ability to naturally produce melatonin. So, better prefer decaffeinated coffee at night.