Do you tend to eat the same type of meals over and over again? Maybe you’ve got a close relationship going on with your breakfast cereal?!!
Well I’d like to inspire you to live on the edge a little … and add some colour and variety to your plate (or bowl!)
When we eat a more diversified diet, particularly one that is rich in plant-based foods, it helps to feed the trillions of microscopic bugs in the digestive tract.
Now these microscopic bugs (which comprise of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – yes you read that correctly, even viruses), they don’t just hang out in your belly, doing nothing.
They are responsible for producing important neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, for short. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which helps to calm the nervous system, needed to facilitate sleep.
They also produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is the pre-cursor to the sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin.
But … if your gut bugs are starving hungry because you’ve been eating the same things over and over, coupled together with highly refined or processed foods which contain little fibre, they won’t be producing lots of sleep-inducing goodness for you anytime soon.
A study published in the journal PLoS One (2019), revealed that a diverse gut microbiome was significantly and positively correlated with sleep efficiency and total sleep time.
In other words, gut microbiome diversity promotes healthier sleep.
This was my “Buddha Bowl” lunch that I whipped up yesterday, which comprised of red rice, capsicum, snow peas, radish, pea shoots, sunflower seeds, beetroot and grilled haloumi!
My gut bugs would have been having an absolute party … kind of like a kid in a candy store but way healthier – and was super delicious 😋.
So aim to add or swap in a new food item each day this week. Preferably a plant-based food that is in season, as over time, will lead to a community of thriving gut bugs, a happier gut and better quality sleep 😴 💤.
A gigantic win for anyone working a lifestyle that involves sleep-disrupting shift rotations.
P.S: Please don’t feel your bowl needs to look “Insta-friendly!” The main aim is to get plenty of colour and variety on your plate that tastes scrumptious too.
Smith, R, Easson, C, Lyle, S, Kapoor, R, Donnelly, C, Davidson, E, Parikh, E, Lopez, J & Tartar, J 2019, ‘Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans’, PLoS One, vol. 14, no. 10, pp. 1-17.