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 sleep.
Eating foods high in melatonin may help in cases of insomnia, jet lag, or night shift.
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 immune system,
- has anticancer activity,
- can protect the cardiovascular system,
- has anti-diabetic activities,
- can help against obesity,
- 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 daily. 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.
How much melatonin do we need daily?
Most people will never experience melatonin deficiency.
So, should I take melatonin supplements?
Firstly, melatonin supplements contain high doses. Much higher doses than the human body can produce naturally or found 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.
So, before taking melatonin supplements you should consult your health care provider. Especially if you’re on medication. In any case, melatonin supplements are the easiest way to boost your daily melatonin intake. Compare prices on Amazon. You better prefer supplements with a dose of 1 mg (1,000 mcg). You won’t benefit from higher doses.
How much melatonin in pistachios?
Many nuts are good dietary sources of melatonin.
To begin with, pistachios are the richest food in melatonin containing 23.3 mcg of melatonin per 100g or 6.5 mcg per 1oz.
So, pistachios are the best food snack to help you sleep.
But, how many pistachios should I eat at night, in order, to sleep better? 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 of melatonin per 100g, and walnuts contain 0.35 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
Therefore, nuts, such as almonds and walnuts are a good snack before bedtime. 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 grapes, strawberries, cherries, and bananas seem to contain a dose of melatonin, enough to help you sleep at night.
Banana is a fruit rich in melatonin
Bananas are common melatonin containing fruits. 100g of a banana has 0.07 mcg of melatonin. Practically, a banana has about 0.09 mcg of melatonin.
That may not sound much, but banana consumption can increase the melatonin concentration 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. On the other hand, there are some 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.
- Orange juice has about 0.3-2.2 mcg of melatonin per 100 mL, depending on orange varieties.
- Pineapples are melatonin containing fruits, as well. The melatonin content of pineapples is about 0.03 mcg per 100g.
So, eating these fruits in the evening may help you sleep better at night.
Cereals are good plant-based sources of melatonin
Most cereals are great sources of melatonin. Therefore, cereals could help you sleep at night.
For instance, these cereals are high in melatonin:
- corn is a good food source of melatonin. The mean melatonin content of corn is 9.6 mcg per 100g. Corn varieties vary greatly in melatonin content, though. There are corn varieties that contain more than 200 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
- rice is another cereal rich in melatonin. The mean amount of melatonin content per 100g is 1.6 mcg. The highest amount of melatonin in rice, ever measured is 26.4 mcg 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 the last common cereal rich in melatonin. Oats 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 hag over, or jet lag issues, as well.
Another tip… Crumb has higher melatonin levels than the crust of bread.
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
Certainly, melatonin exists in lots of common vegetables, but only a few veggies are excellent sources:
- 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 among the most melatonin rich foods you can have. 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 mushroom variety, cultivation practices, and light conditions.
Vegetables can help you sleep better at night, for another reason. According to a study, women who ate most vegetables, naturally produced more melatonin. Eating plant-based foods or foods high in melatonin in general, could naturally help the human body 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. You should eat other foods high in melatonin, in order, to deal with insomnia or jet lag.
Microgreens & sprouts may increase the melatonin content of seeds
It’s no secret that microgreens and sprouts have amazing health benefits. Their nutritional value is superior, compared to seeds. Melatonin concentration is no exception. The germination of seeds increases greatly 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 and wine have a negligible content of melatonin. Beer has 0.01 mcg of melatonin per 100 mL. Additionally, wine has up to 12.9 mcg per 100 mL. It greatly depends on grape variety, though. As someone probably drinks more than 100 mL of beer or wine, these beverages may provide decent amounts of melatonin to the body.
Surprisingly, coffee is pretty rich in melatonin. Coffee beans are among the best melatonin containing foods. For instance, roasted arabica coffee beans contain up to 960 mcg of melatonin per 100g.
Analytically, 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, it seems a good idea to prefer decaffeinated coffee at night.