Remember, consistency is key to learning, so be sure to repeat this recipe and experiment with these ingredients as often as you can.
So perhaps you’re now wondering “what is the Glycemic Index and why should I know this term”? Well it’s important to know how your body reacts to certain foods in order to sleep well. Or if you’re on a tough shift, such as a nightshift, you would want to know what foods to take that won’t make you feel tired or give you a sugar crash, which we’ve all experienced at one time or another. It’s one thing to have a sleepy sugar crash at home, but its quite another to have it while on the job or while driving home. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure used to determine how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating. Consuming high GI level food results in a fast energy spike, as for example when you’re eating a chocolate bar. The counter to this fast energy spike is a rapid decrease – the sugar crash, this lowers your blood sugars quickly which could cause delayed reaction time, blurry vision, feeling more tired than before and the impairment of other cognitive abilities.
Choosing a low GI diet has great health benefits, it helps you maintain a healthy weight, lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease. However, from a fatigue and sleep point of view, choosing foods based on a low Glycemic index is one of the main keys to getting through your (night)shift fit and safely.
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including advice, treatment and diagnosis.
Here is a Glycemic Index overview to use as a guideline:
Low = Slow releasing and long lasting energy, ideal for shift work and other health benefits
GI 0 to 55
Moderate = 56 to 69
High = try avoiding foods in this category during your shift
GI of 70 and higher
Watermelon is a sweet fruit which is typically eaten in the summer and in warm regions due to how it grows and of course its refreshing properties being more than 90% water.
So how does the watermelon fit into our diet with regards to fatigue and sleep? Well the Glycemic Index of this fruit is a high scoring around 77 so its rather an exception to the rule, but because this fruit consists mostly out of water the Glycemic Load of 4-6 makes it a low again (a calculation of carbohydrates in grams X Glycemic Index / 100).
The key feature this fruit has to improve sleep quality are due to the following nutrients:
Choline has been shown in recent studies to improve sleep quality, specifically with regards to regulating REM sleep to improve overall sleep quality.
Lycopene which is an antioxidant that allows you to fall asleep easier.
Magnesium to help your muscles relax and works well together with melatonin the hormone that helps you sleep at night.
Goat cheese is high in B2 levels, which is a vitamin that not only turns food into energy, but it also helps produce melatonin, our sleep hormone.
It is also high in phosphorus levels which has been found that a deficiency of this nutrient also causes fatigue during your awake hours. So this great nutrient supports sleep quality!
It’s also high in calcium which helps the brain use tryptophan in order to produce melatonin levels which is why adding nuts to goat cheese is a great combination.
The GI Index of goat cheese = 0
Nuts are a great source of protein, and are the perfect snack during your shift to give you the slow releasing energy you need to stay fit with a low GI. However, walnuts are also a great source of tryptophan and melatonin making it a perfect snack before going to bed.
Tryptophan helps your body make melatonin which is also called the sleep hormone.
GI Index of walnuts = 15
Honey is a great food to take before bedtime due to that it’s a great source of tryptophan too, which in combination with the other foods used in this recipe stimulates the production of melatonin in our bodies helping as rest and sleep better!
GI Index of honey = 58 (so moderate intake)
For 1 person
1 slice of watermelon +/- 3cm / 280grams, (leave the seeds in it to maximize the nutritional value)
3 slices of goat cheese
a handful of walnuts (or almonds)
1 tbs Honey
1. Cut the watermelon into 3 equal cubes (as equal as a round fruit allows you to do so)
2. If your goat cheese is pre-sliced, use 3 slices and if, not cut it into 3 slices about 1cm thick
3. Soak the walnuts in honey
4. Place 1 slice of goat cheese per watermelon cube
5. Decorate the goat cheese watermelon cubes with the honey soaked walnuts.
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