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The great variety of foods that are at our fingertips can also provide a great variety of benefits for the body. Some facilitate digestion, others the absorption of certain minerals or vitamins, and others, on the contrary, may hinder or prevent it.
Some foods contain stimulants that increase energy levels, while others can decrease or increase concentration, stimulating certain functions in the brain. Certain foods stimulate the production of chemicals in the brain that induce relaxation, causing calm and sleep, and thus facilitating rest.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid for the body. One of its functions is to promote the release of serotonin, directly involved in relaxation and rest and in the regulation of periods of sleep and wakefulness. And where is tryptophan found? Breast milk is an ideal source of tryptophan for the newborn. Furthermore, as Mother Nature is very wise, it reaches its maximum concentration in milk during night feeds, precisely when it is most needed.
Other foods rich in tryptophan are eggs, milk, and whole grains, in addition to bananas, most nuts and, interestingly, chocolate. It is convenient to include some of these foods in the children's dinner, as it will facilitate their relaxation and rest. For example, a glass of milk before bed, with or without whole grains or crackers, can ensure that blood and plasma tryptophan levels are optimal to ensure a good night's rest.
The correct metabolism of tryptophan requires the presence of magnesium and vitamin B6. Interestingly, vitamin B6 is sourced from almost the same foods as tryptophan, in addition to meat and fish, while magnesium can be found in nuts, whole grains, and legumes. Vitamin B6 facilitates the absorption of vitamin B12 and iron. It is a very useful vitamin for especially active children or at times of high physical activity, as it stimulates the release of stored glycogen for use as an energy source.
Magnesium is also very important during childhood, as it helps to fix calcium and phosphorus in bones and teeth, to keep them strong and ensure their perfect development. Both must be replaced daily with the diet, since there are no deposits in the body.
Tryptophan is also a precursor of a vitamin that can be manufactured within the body itself, vitamin B3 or niacin, so its deficiency is usually accompanied by deficiencies of vitamins B3 and B6.
The lack of tryptophan, in addition to insomnia, over-excitement or disorders in the nervous system related to lack of relaxation, such as stress or hyperactivity, also translates into an increase in aggressiveness. What's more, its deficit can cause growth and development disorders during childhood, since most of the hormones related to growth reach their maximum activity during the night, when the body is relaxed and the metabolism is at its basal level.
You can read more articles similar to Foods that facilitate rest in children and pregnant women, in the Infant Nutrition On Site category