Tart Cherries to aid in your Zzzzz’s

This article has really hit home for me.  I have had a lifetime of un-restful nights of sleep. Fortunately for years I never noticed how poorly I slept and always related my lack of energy and sleepiness to the poor schedule I kept with school and working. The tides started to turn and my schedule became more regular I realized how badly I was sleeping.  I have never had trouble falling asleep.  It is staying asleep that is the issue.  ANY movement I would make would wake me up.  I would fall right back to sleep but in waking so frequently throughout the night I was never able to fall into a deep restful sleep.  My body was never able to heel itself.  Did you know that is when your body does the most of it’s heeling?  That is why sleep is so important.  So, now I had realized I had a problem. What do I do now.  We had already started to change our diets so I could check that off the list.  Limited caffeine -check, No exercise 2 hours before bed -check, there are no TV’s or electronics in our room-check, dark curtains-check.

I began my research to find natural sleep aids.  OF course melatonin was the first thing I found.  I did not have want to take a man made supplement though.  That being said I looked up how to take melatonin naturally. This is where the article below validates my findings.  In addition to Tart Cherry Juice I found several other foods that could help but we will stay on the article topic at hand.

I started trying tart cherry juice every night about 30 minutes before bed.  I personally and honestly felt like it helped.  Currently and for about the last 6-9 months have been sleeping like a rock.  On a regular basis I only get 6-7 hours of sleep a night but that is only because of the schedule I run on.  Those hours though are deep and heeling.  I am still tired when I wake but I have come to the conclusion that I will never be accustomed to 4 am.  Once I am up and moving I feel great and ready to take on the day.

So check on the article below and give it a try if restful sleep is a problem of yours.  The article also talks about other health benefits of the Cherry Juice as well.

From: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cherries-natures-anti-inflammatory-sleep-aid

Several studies have now confirmed that cherries not only increase sleep duration and sleep quality, but they are anti-inflammatory.

The newest study comes from researchers at Spain’s University of Extremadura. They tested 30 people – ten between 20 and 30 years old, ten between 35 and 55 years old and ten between 65 and 85 years old.

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into two groups. They were given either a tart cherry juice drink or a placebo with cherry flavor twice a day. Those who drank the cherry juice experienced substantially better sleep quality – measured by sleep efficiency, awakenings, and total sleep time.

Moreover, the researchers found that the older group experienced better improvements in sleep quality that the younger groups.

Another study included scientists from the United States (Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine), the UK (Northumbria University and the University of Surrey) and South Africa (University of Johannesburg). This study followed 20 healthy men and women with an average age of 27 years old.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to drink tart cherry juice concentrate and the other half drank a placebo for seven days. The juice concentrate was made from tart Montmorency cherries (Prunus cerasus).

The results determined that the cherry group slept an average of 34 minutes more per night and had a 5-6% increase in sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency is the time spent asleep as a proportion of time in bed.

They also found that the internal melatonin levels among the cherry group increased significantly, while the placebo group did not have any melatonin increase. Within 48 hours of cherry juice consumption, the urine of the cherry drinkers showed increased levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin – the primary melatonin metabolite. The researchers also measured melatonin levels by studying the subjects’ circadian rhythms.

The researchers concluded:

these data suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.

Learn about over 200 natural remedies to get to sleep.

Cherries contain natural melatonin

Earlier research confirmed that Montmorency cherries contain melatonin. Research led by Dr. Russel Reiter from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas determined that the tart cherries will contain up to contain up to 13.5 nanograms (ng) of melatonin per gram of cherries. This is typically more than the levels found in the bloodstream.

Another study, this from Spain’s University of Extremadura, also found that sleep quality and duration increased among elderly adults who consumed Jerte Valley cherries – another variety of tart cherries.

While cherries significantly spike melatonin levels and increase sleep quality, research on supplemental synthetic melatonin or melatonin extracted from the pineal glands of cows has been conflicting. These exogenous forms have been shown to improve sleep-phase disorders, but sleep quality results have been equivocal.

The difference may well lie in cherries’ phytochemical content. Researchers from this most recent study stated:

cherry juice has been shown to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation following strenuous exercise making it possible that these antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory properties modulated indices of sleep in this study…

Cherries reduce inflammation

The newest research comes from the USDA’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California at Davis.

This study tested 18 men and women between 45 and 61 years old. They were given 280 grams per day of Bing sweet cherries for 28 days.

After 28 days, the subjects had significantly lower levels of several inflammatory factors. Their CRP levels, ferritin levels plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) levels were all about 20 percent lower, while their endothelin-1 levels were 14 percent lower, and their epidermal growth factor was 13 percent lower. Their IL-1 levels were 28 percent lower, and their advanced glycation end product receptor levels were 29 percent lower. All of these reductions indicated reduced inflammation within the body.

This result is confirmed by research from Oregon Health & Science University. This study utilized tart cherries. The research was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco, Calif.

In this study, 20 women between 40 and 70 years old with inflammatory osteoarthritis were tested. The results found that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks led to significant reductions in inflammation markers. The reductions were more significant among women with the highest inflammation levels at the beginning of the study.

“With millions of Americans looking for ways to naturally manage pain, it’s promising that tart cherries can help, without the possible side effects often associated with arthritis medications,” said lead researcher Kerry Kuehl, M.D. of Oregon Health & Science University. “I’m intrigued by the potential for a real food to offer such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit – especially for active adults.”

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Athletes can be at risk for developing osteoarthritis, and may benefit greatly from cherries. In a previous study, Dr. Kuehl found that athletes who drank tart cherry juice during training reported significantly less pain after exercise than those who didn’t.

The antioxidant compounds in tart cherries are called anthocyanins. Their anti-inflammatory levels have been shown to be comparable to some well-known pain medications. Research from Baylor Research Institute found that daily tart cherry extract reduced osteoarthritis pain by over 20 percent for a majority of those studied.

According to University of Pennsylvania Medical Center for Sports Medicine Director of Sports Nutrition Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, incorporating tart cherries into the training menu of professional athletes and active clients has helped manage pain:

Why not eat red when there’s so much science to support the anti-inflammatory benefits of this Super Fruit? And for athletes whose palates prefer the tart-sweet flavor profile of tart cherries, it’s the optimal ingredient.

Whether the reduced inflammation is related to the increase in sleep quality remains in question.

Learn about other natural strategies to reduce inflammation and arthritis.

REFERENCES:

Garrido M, González-Gómez D, Lozano M, Barriga C, Paredes SD, Rodríguez AB. A

Jerte valley cherry product provides beneficial effects on sleep quality.Influence on aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(6):553-60. doi: 10.1007/s12603-013-0029-4.

Sleigh, AE, Kuehl KS, Elliot DL . Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation among patients with osteoarthritis. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. May 30, 2012.

Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chestnutt J. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:17-22.

Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine 2001;8:362-369.

Cush JJ. Baylor Research Institute, pilot study on tart cherry and osteoarthritis of the knees, 2007.Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Reddy A, Woodhouse LR, Mackey BE, Erickson KL. Sweet bing cherries lower circulating concentrations of markers for chronic inflammatory diseases in healthy humans. J Nutr. 2013 Mar;143(3):340-4. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.171371.

Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16.

Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJ. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Oct;49(10):4898-902.

Garrido M, Paredes SD, Cubero J, Lozano M, Toribio-Delgado AF, Muñoz JL, Reiter RJ, Barriga C, Rodríguez AB. Jerte Valley cherry-enriched diets improve nocturnal rest and increase 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and total antioxidant capacity in the urine of middle-aged and elderly humans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Sep;65(9):909-14.

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Quinoa C.C. Cookies

Adapted from http://lovesfoodlovestoeat.blogspot.ca
2 C Rice Flour
2/3 C potato starch
1/3 C Tapioca starch
1.5 tsp Xantham Gum
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut butter room temperature
1/2 avocado
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs (or egg substitute like chia seeds)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
Preheat oven to 375° & Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together flours,  baking powder, and baking soda. In stand or electric mixer, cream butter, sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 more minutes. Mix in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, coconut, and chocolate.
Plop spoon size balls of dough onto sheets an inch or so apart, and bake until golden, 12–15 minutes.

Red Pepper Crust/Cracker

adapted from: skinnylimits.com

Red Pepper Crust/Cracker:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup each of chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds
  •  pepper, to taste

 

To make the crust: put all the ingredients in your food processor and process until everything has combined into rough, slightly wet “dough”. Spread this evenly onto parchment on a pizza pan and dehydrate in your oven at its lowest temperature for 3-5 hours or until it’s like a giant cracker. If you have a dehydrator, you can use that instead and set it to just above 115 degrees.

Raw Vegan Pizza on Red pepper Crust

Adapted from skinnylimits.com

Serves: 2-6

Red Pepper Crust/Cracker:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup each of chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds
  •  pepper, to taste

Toppings:

  • About 2 cups of whatever veggies you like
  • 1 teaspoon each of tamari and extra virgin olive oil

Sauce:

  • ¾ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes (the kind I use are stored in olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 dates
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Fresh or dried basil and oregano, to taste

To make the crust: put all the ingredients in your food processor and process until everything has combined into rough, slightly wet “dough”. Spread this evenly onto parchment on a pizza pan and dehydrate in your oven at its lowest temperature for 3-5 hours or until it’s like a giant cracker ( you could cut it up and actually use it as a cracker vs crust).

To prepare the toppings: evenly coat the veggies in tamari and oil and let them marinate in your oven at its lowest temperature for about an hour.

To make the sauce: blend all the ingredients until smooth. Spread this evenly on your crust. Top with vegetables and enjoy!

Eggs nested on Spiced Lentils

adapted from:thekitchn.com

1 cup red lentils

1 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons garam marsala
4 cups  vegetable broth
freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves, from one small bunch
4 large eggs

Rinse the lentils and split peas thoroughly under running water.  Optional: Soak lentils and peas overnight in water.  This aid in the digestive process.

Saute the shallots and garlic in water stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic and shallots are golden and fragrant. Add the lentils and split peas and stir in the garam masala. Stir the pot thoroughly to make sure the garam masala and shallots are distributed in the lentils.

Add the broth (or 4 cups of water) and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until the yellow split peas are just tender. Pepper to taste and stir in the cilantro.

To serve: Heat the oven to 350ºF. Place into an ovenproof baking dishes or pan. Mound about 1 cup lentils in each then make a deep hollow in the center and crack in an egg. Sprinkle pepper over the egg.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until white is set and yolk is cooked to your liking.

Chickpea, Rice Vegetable Burger

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry/uncooked chickpeas (or 2 & 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup dry brown rice (or 1 & 1/4 cup cooked rice)
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds + 1 tbsp pepita seeds, toasted
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1. Methods to prepare chickpeas: 1) Soak dry chickpeas overnight, or for at least 8 hours, in a large bowl filled with water. When ready, drain and rinse the chickpeas. I steamed my chickpeas.  2) Alternatively, you can use canned chickpeas or

2. Cook rice: I also steamed my rice.

3. Toast seeds: Preheat oven to 300F. Toast pumpkin and pepita seeds for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside.

4. Chop vegetables. Finely chop the garlic, peppers, onion, and parsley. Grate carrot. Stir in half the salt. Set aside.

5. Mash chickpeas and rice: When chickpeas are ready, drain and rinse. Add the cooked chickpeas and rice into a large bowl. Make sure your rice is HOT as it helps it stick together and bind. Do not use cold rice. With a potato masher or mixer, mash very well, leaving some chunks for texture. You can also pulse in a food processor.

6. Mix it all up: Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the chopped vegetables into the mashed chickpea/rice mixture. Now stir in the seeds, BBQ sauce, breadcrumbs, and ground flax. Add the  red pepper flakes to taste.

7. Shape patties & cook: Form 6-8 patties and pack dough together tightly. Spray the preheated skillet with oil. Cook the patties for about 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat (time will vary based on your temp). Burgers should be browned and firm when ready. You can also try grilling the patties (try pre-baking patties for 15 mins in the oven at 350F before grilling).

Adapted from:
Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/07/03/spicy-bbq-chickpea-burgers-lightened-up-crispy-baked-fries/#ixzz2sZKxUHe5

Spiced Lentils with Baked Egg

Adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spiced-lentils-baked-egg-14389

Serves 4

1 cup red lentils
1 cup yellow split peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots or 4 small shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves, from one small bunch
4 large eggs

Rinse the lentils and split peas thoroughly under running water. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic and shallots are golden and fragrant. Add the lentils and split peas and stir in the garam masala. Stir the pot thoroughly to make sure the garam masala and shallots are full distributed in the lentils.

Add the broth (or 4 cups of water) and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until the yellow split peas are just tender. (The red lentils are smaller and will cook faster; the yellow lentils will stay distinct and al dente while the red lentils will cook down into a pleasantly rustic mush.) Season with pepper to taste and stir in the cilantro.

To serve: Heat the oven to 350ºF. Place oven safe pan with lentils and 4 cracked eggs on top in oven. Sprinkle with pepper over the egg.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until white is set and yolk is cooked to your liking.