Is cream of rice good for you -
CSN – Cream of Rice
Easy to make, rice cereal with added vitamins and minerals to support health and well being, and added DigeZyme® digestive enzymes and Lactospore® probiotics to improve uptake and support digestive health.
SKU: N/ACategories: Carbohydrates, Cardiff Sports Nutrition, Cream of RiceTag: Cream of rice
What is Cream of Rice?
Cream of Rice is an easy to make, rice cereal with added vitamins and minerals. Supporting health and well being. Added DigeZyme® digestive enzymes and Lactospore® probiotics to improve uptake and support digestive health. Each 50g serving of Cream of Rice provides 40g of carbohydrates and only 1.2g of naturally occurring sugars and 1.4g of fat.
How can this support your diet and training?
Popular choice for those that train, especially bodybuilders. Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates with a medium GI and is a great way to increase energy levels. Cream of Rice is a great option for breakfast cereal or as a pre-workout meal to fuel your workouts. Protein can easily be added to make a high protein Cream of Rice, and if you are short on time it can be instantly mixed in your shaker bottle.
Who is it suitable for?
Cream of Rice is a great breakfast option to support all training goals. Providing a sustained energy supply. Ideal for adding quality calories to your diet when bulking. Also perfect as an energy source and carb loading for endurance athletes.
Better option than porridge/oats?
Cream of Rice is gluten-free making it ideal for those that have a gluten intolerance, or those following a gluten-free diet. As well as being loaded with complex carbohydrates CSN has added 4 essential vitamins & minerals providing 15% RDA including six individual B vitamins to increase energy levels, antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and zinc and magnesium to support muscle function.
How does it taste?
Also makes a tasty, thick and creamy rice porridge. Comes in a variety of different flavours to finish off this delicious breakfast meal. You can add your favourite jams or syrups to boost the flavour or you can add it to your favourite protein shake.
Cream of Rice is great with any protein powders. You can also add Natural Nuts or Nut Butters to increase healthy fatty acid levels.
What are the main benefits?
- 40g complex carbs per serving
- 15% RDA of vitamins & minerals
- With DigeZyme® & Lactospore®
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Birthday Cake, Blueberry Muffin, Maple Syrup, Milk Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice, Strawberry Banana, Strom's Caramel White Chocolate, Vanilla
|`per 100g||Per 50g serving|
White Rice Flour (98%), Natural Flavour, Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Ferrous Fumerate, DL-Alpha Tocopheryl, Nicotinamide, Vitamin A Acetate, Zinc Oxide, Pyridoxine HCl, Vitamin D3, Thiamine HCl, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide), Digezyme® (Amylase, Protease, Cellulase, Beta-D-Galactosidase, Lipase), Sweetener (Sucralose), LactoSpore® (Bacillus Coagulans).
Starchy foods and carbohydrates - Eat well
Starchy foods are our main source of carbohydrate and have an important role in a healthy diet.
Starchy foods – such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and cereals – should make up just over a third of the food you eat, as shown by the Eatwell Guide.
Where you can, choose wholegrain varieties, and eat potatoes with their skin on for more fibre.
We should eat some starchy foods every day as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Why do you need starchy foods?
Starchy foods are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet. As well as starch, they contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins.
Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat.
Just watch out for the added fats you use when you cook and serve them, because this will increase the calorie content.
Learn more on our pages about Fat: the facts.
Starchy foods and fibre
Wholegrain varieties of starchy foods and potatoes (particularly when eaten with their skin on) are good sources of fibre.
Fibre is the name given to a range of substances found in the cell walls of vegetables, fruits, pulses and cereal grains.
Fibre that cannot be digested helps other food and waste products to move through the gut.
Potato skins, wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals, brown rice, and wholewheat pasta are all good sources of this kind of fibre.
Fibre can help keep your bowels healthy and can help you feel full, which means you're less likely to eat too much.
This makes wholegrain starchy foods and potatoes eaten with their skin on a particularly good choice if you're trying to lose weight.
Some types of fibre found in fruits and vegetables – such as apples, carrots, potatoes – and in oats and pulses can be partly digested and may help reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
Tips for eating more starchy foods
These tips can help you increase the amount of starchy foods in your diet.
- Choose wholegrain cereals, or mix some in with your favourite healthy breakfast cereals.
- Plain porridge with fruit makes a warming winter breakfast.
- Whole oats with fruit and low-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt makes a tasty summer breakfast.
Get more healthy breakfast ideas.
Lunch and dinner
- Try a baked potato for lunch – eat the skin for even more fibre.
- Instead of having chips or frying potatoes, try making oven-baked potato wedges.
- Have more rice or pasta and less sauce – but do not skip the vegetables.
- Try breads such as seeded, wholemeal or granary. When you choose wholegrain varieties, you'll also increase the amount of fibre you're eating.
- Try brown rice – it makes a very tasty rice salad.
Types of starchy foods
Potatoes are a great choice of starchy food and a good source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium.
In the UK, we also get a lot of our vitamin C from potatoes. Although potatoes only contain a small amount of vitamin C, we generally eat a lot of them. They're good value for money and can be a healthy choice.
Although potatoes are a vegetable, in the UK we mostly eat them as the starchy food part of a meal, and they're a good source of carbohydrate in our diet.
Because of this, potatoes do not count towards your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but they can have an important role in your diet.
Potatoes are a healthy choice when boiled, baked, mashed or roasted with only a small amount of fat or oil and no added salt.
French fries and other chips cooked in oil or served with salt are not a healthy choice.
When cooking or serving potatoes, go for lower-fat or polyunsaturated spreads, or small amounts of unsaturated oils, such as olive or sunflower oil.
For mashed potato, use lower-fat milk, such as semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk, instead of whole milk or cream.
Leave potato skins on where possible, to keep more of the fibre and vitamins. For example, eat the skin when you have boiled or baked potatoes.
If you boil potatoes, some nutrients will leak out into the water, especially if you have peeled them. To stop this happening, only use enough water to cover them and cook them only for as long as they need.
Storing potatoes in a cool, dark and dry place will help stop them sprouting. Do not eat any green, damaged or sprouting bits of potatoes, as these can contain toxins that can be harmful.
Bread, especially wholemeal, granary, brown and seeded varieties, is a healthy choice to eat as part of a balanced diet.
Wholegrain, wholemeal and brown breads give us energy and contain B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and a wide range of minerals.
White bread also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, but it has less fibre than wholegrain, wholemeal or brown bread. If you prefer white bread, look for higher-fibre options.
Some people avoid bread because they're concerned about having a food intolerance or allergy to wheat, or they think bread is fattening.
However, completely cutting out any type of food from your diet could mean you miss out on a range of nutrients that you need to stay healthy.
If you're concerned that you have a wheat allergy or intolerance, speak to a GP.
Bread can be stored at room temperature. Follow the "best before" date to make sure you eat it fresh.
Cereal products are made from grains. Wholegrain cereals can contribute to our daily intake of iron, fibre, B vitamins and protein. Higher-fibre options can also provide a slow release of energy.
Wheat, oats, barley, rye and rice are commonly available cereals that can be eaten as wholegrains.
This means cereal products consisting of oats or oatmeal, such as porridge, and wholewheat products are healthy breakfast options.
Barley, couscous, corn and tapioca also count as healthy cereal products.
Many cereal products in the UK are refined, with low wholegrain content. They can also be high in added salt and sugar.
When you're shopping for cereals, check the food labels to compare different products.
For more advice, read about healthy breakfast cereals.
Rice and grains
Rice and grains are an excellent choice of starchy food. They give us energy, are low in fat, and good value for money.
There are many types to choose from, including:
- all kinds of rice – such as quick-cook, arborio, basmati, long grain, brown, short grain and wild
- bulgur wheat
As well as carbohydrates, rice and grains (particularly brown and wholegrain varieties) can contain:
- fibre, which can help your body get rid of waste products
- B vitamins, which help release energy from the food you eat and help your body work properly
Rice and grains, such as couscous and bulgur wheat, can be eaten hot or cold, and in salads.
There are a few precautions you should take when storing and reheating cooked rice and grains. This is because the spores of some food poisoning bugs can survive cooking.
If cooked rice or grains are left standing at room temperature, the spores can germinate. The bacteria multiply and produce toxins that make you be sick (vomit) and have diarrhoea. Reheating food will not get rid of these toxins.
It's therefore best to serve rice and grains as soon as they have been cooked. If this is not possible, cool them within 1 hour of cooking and keep them refrigerated until you reheat them or use them in a recipe such as a salad.
It's important to throw away any rice and grains that have been left at room temperature overnight.
If you are not going to eat cooked rice immediately, refrigerate it within 1 hour and eat it within 24 hours.
Rice should be reheated thoroughly, reaching a core temperature of 70C for 2 minutes (or equivalent) so it's steaming hot throughout.
Rice should not be reheated more than once – it should be thrown away. Do not reheat rice unless it's been chilled safely and kept in a fridge until you reheat it.
Follow the "use by" date and storage instructions on the label for any cold rice or grain salads that you buy.
Pasta in your diet
Pasta is another healthy option to base your meal on. It consists of dough made from durum wheat and water and contains iron and B vitamins.
Wholewheat or wholegrain are healthier than ordinary pasta, as they contain more fibre. We digest wholegrain foods slower than refined grains, so they can help us feel full for longer.
Dried pasta can be stored in a cupboard and typically has a long shelf life, while fresh pasta will need to be refrigerated and has a shorter lifespan.
Check the food packaging for "best before" or "use by" dates and further storage instructions.
Acrylamide in starchy food
Acrylamide is a chemical that's created when many foods, particularly starchy foods like potatoes and bread, are cooked for long periods at high temperatures, such as when baking, frying, grilling, toasting and roasting.
There's evidence to show acrylamide can cause cancer.
The Food Standards Agency has these tips to reduce your risk of acrylamide at home:
- Go for gold: aim for a golden yellow colour, or lighter, when baking, toasting, roasting or frying starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread.
- Check the pack: follow the cooking instructions carefully when frying or oven-heating packaged food products such as chips, roast potatoes and parsnips. These instructions are to help you cook the product correctly, so you do not cook starchy foods for too long or at temperatures that are too high.
- Eat a varied and balanced diet: while we cannot completely avoid risks like acrylamide in food, this will help reduce your risk of cancer. This includes basing meals on starchy carbohydrates and getting your 5 A Day. Avoid frying or roasting potatoes and root vegetables. Instead, boil or steam them as this will both reduce your risk of acrylamide and cut down on fat.
- Do not keep raw potatoes in the fridge: storing raw potatoes in the fridge can increase overall acrylamide levels. Raw potatoes should ideally be stored in a dark, cool place at temperatures above 6C.
Find more information on acrylamide on the Food Standards Agency website.
Read more about preparing and cooking food safely.
Page last reviewed: 26 February 2020
Next review due: 26 February 2023
Forget Oats -
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Good Rice gives you the nutrients; you give it the finishing touches. Cinnamon, honey, berries, peanut butter or protein powder?
Go on – get creative!
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Make your own Creamy Rice recipe or choose one of our (really good) flavour combo's. Either way, the goodness starts right...here
Which Type of Rice Is Healthiest?
There are at least a dozen different types of rice to choose from at the grocery store: long-grain, short-grain, white, brown, basmati, instant, converted - whew! Which one is best?
Cooking with rice
There are fairly big differences between the various kinds of rice in terms of cooking times and the texture of the cooked rice. So, if you are cooking from a recipe, it’s important to pay attention to what kind of rice the recipe calls for. Substituting a different kind of rice can really change how a recipe comes out—not always in a good way.
The different types of rice
The different types of rice include the following:
- Short-grain rice is very starchy and cooks up soft and sticky. It’s used in things like sushi, paella, and risotto.
- Long-grain rice contains less starch so the cooked grains are drier and more separate. It’s often used in pilafs or dishes with a lot of sauce.
- Medium-grain, as you might expect, is somewhere in between.
- Jasmine and basmati are long-grain varieties that have been cultivated to bring out distinctive flavor profiles. They often turn up in Indian and Asian food.
All of these types of rice are availabe as either white or brown rice. In each case, brown is the whole grain version, whereas white rice has been milled to remove the germ and bran. Brown rice is a lot chewier and heartier than white rice and takes about twice as long to cook.
But we're not done yet!
You'll also find varieties of whole grain rice that aren't white or brown but rather red, purple, or black. These are special varieties of rice that are high in pigments called anthocyanins.
And finally, you can also buy instant or converted rice. Both of these have been partially cooked and then dehydrated. If you’re using a pre-processed rice, it’s important to follow the preparation instructions on the package.
Here’s an article that talks more about the culinary properties and uses of different kinds of rice. But what about the nutritional aspects?
What are the nutritional differences in rice?
Because brown rice retains both the germ and the bran parts of the grain, it is higher in magnesium and other minerals. It also has more fiber. For example, a half cup of white long-grain rice contains less than one gram of fiber, whereas a half cup of brown rice contains 1.5 grams. As a point of reference, you’re shooting for between 25 and 30 grams of fiber each day.
Although all rice is quite low in fat, brown rice has slightly more due to the fat content of the germ. All types of rice provide about the same amount of protein, or 2-3 grams per serving.
Black and red rice, however, both offer an additional nutritional bonus. Anthocyanins, which are the pigments that create the deep color of these types of rice, are potent antioxidants.
The calorie content for different types of rice ranges from 90 calories (for basmati) to 135 (for short grain white rice). Most of these calories are coming from carbohydrates or starch.
(Here's a chart comparing the nutritional profile of most common types of rice.)
How does rice affect blood sugar?
As a general rule, brown rice has a lower glycemic load than white rice. But there are other factors that come into play as well. Long-grain rice has a lower glycemic load than short-grain rice. Of all the long-grain rice, basmati seems to have the lowest glycemic load of all. So, in terms of glycemic load, the best choice would appear to be brown basmati rice, with short-grain white rice at the other end of the spectrum.
But keep in mind that glycemic response to foods varies enormously from person to person. And glycemic index tables are compiled from tests on relatively small numbers of individuals. So, these may be of somewhat limited value.
Another factor that comes into play with the glycemic load is resistant starch. When rice is cooked and then cooled, some of the starches are converted into a form of starch that resists digestion and functions instead as a sort of fiber. Resistant starch has the effect of reducing the glycemic load. For this reason, parboiled or converted rice also has a lower glycemic load than freshly cooked rice.
But before you start obsessing over whether white basmati might outrank brown short-grain, or whether cooled, short-grain rice has a higher or lower glycemic impact than freshly-cooked, long-grain rice, we need to put these differences in perspective. Although some types of rice have a lower glycemic load than others, no type of rice can really be considered a low glycemic food.
In fact, the amount of rice you eat will have a much bigger impact on your blood sugar than the type. That’s why it’s important to exercise some portion control—no matter what kind of rice you’re eating. A serving of cooked rice is one-half cup, or about the size of an ice cream scoop.
What type of rice should you eat?
Although brown rice is somewhat more nutritious than white rice and has a lower glycemic load, it’s also heavier and chewier and that may not always be what you want. Here’s how I look at it: The more rice you eat, the more benefit you’ll get from eating brown rice, at least most of the time. But if you only eat rice occasionally or in small quantities, the nutritional differences between white and brown rice just aren’t big enough to worry about.
Is wild rice healthy?
If you’re looking for a more nutritious kind of rice, you might want to consider adding wild rice to the mix once in a while. I didn’t mention it before because, although it’s a close botanical relative of rice (both are types of grasses), wild rice is really a different thing altogether. It can be a bit of an acquired taste. (Then again, that’s how a lot of people feel about brown rice!) The grains have a chewy outer sheath with a tender inner grain that has a slightly vegetal taste. To me, it’s sort of half-way between a starch and a vegetable.
The nutrients in wild rice
Compared to brown rice, wild rice is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates—that means it has a significantly lower glycemic load. It’s also higher in vitamin A and folic acid but not quite as high in minerals. And even though it’s quite low in total fat, wild rice is also a decent source of omega-3s, and has a great omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, the importance of which I discussed in this recent article.
For those who like to mix things up a bit, wild rice is an interesting and nutritious alternative to regular rice. But instead of just substituting it for regular rice, I suggest you try it in a recipe that’s been specifically developed to make the most of its unique qualities. Here’s a link to some recipes featuring wild rice to get you started.
After a crummy night of sleep, most people play the blame game, pointing fingers at work stress, the blue light from their devices, or their bedmates tossing, turning, or wagging. But there's another common disruptor of Zzz's most sleep deprived folks don't think of: their dinner or late-night snack.
As it turns out, what you choose to snack on before bedtime can play a big role in how well you hit the hay.
"Some foods are downright energizing, and others can aggravate conditions like heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux," explains Lisa Richards CNC, nutritionist and founder of The Candida Diet. Eating these foods around bedtime will make falling (and staying!) asleep difficult, she says. If you can't sleep and can't figure out why, cutting out sneaky foods that ruin a restorative night's rest can help.
Good news: Not all foods ruin your chances of shut eye. Some nocturnal noshes actually double as sleep aids, according to Richards. Certain foods can help you sleep—they have a calming, sleep-inducing effect on the body that makes falling asleep easier, she says.
Of course, avoiding some eats and chowing down others can't cure insomnia or quiet a teething baby. Still, adjusting your food intake before bed can't hurt. Scroll down for a list of 20 that may help you ease into dream-land—and 20 foods that'll ruin good sleep faster than you can say "heartburn."
First… The Best
A popular garnish on meats and fishes (especially in France!), tarragon is as medicinal as it is flavorful. "Tarragon has been used as a remedy for poor sleep quality," explains integrative health practitioner Kristin Grayce McGary LAc., MAc., author of Holistic Keto for Gut Health: A Program for Resetting your Metabolism. The spring herb also antioxidant properties, supports digestion, and is a good source of potassium, she says.
Your move: purchase either fresh tarragon (which FYI can last in the fridge about 4 days) or dried tarragon. Then, either make this Whole30 Butternut Squash, Fennel, and Tarragon Hash, this Creamy Mushroom, Chicken, and Tarragon Soup, or sprinkle the herb on a slab of salmon, chicken, veal, or whatever your meat of choice is.
Sleeping poorly? That's no excuse to cut out kale. "You SHOULD be eating dark leafy greens with dinner," says celebrity nutritionist Dr. Daryl Gioffre (who has worked with Kelly Ripa). "They'll give you plenty of fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, which help keep your colon clean." And, like spinach, kale is packed with calcium, which helps your body produce sleep-inducing melatonin, he says.
If you have the option between sauteing the chewy green and eating it raw, Dr. Gioffre recommends opting raw, because the heat may reduce the food's vitamin C contents.
One caveat: Because leafy greens are so full of slow-digesting fiber, he recommends giving the leaves about three hours to move through your system before shutting your eyes. So, avoid kale on the nights when you plan to snooze immediately after snacking.
The ultimate comfort food, the fact that chicken noodle soup is soothing is exactly what makes it such a good bedtime snack. "Foods that are comforting (such as chicken soup) can help your nervous system to power down and relax to give your whole body a sense of safety," says acupuncturist and Chinese medicine specialist Tsao-Lin Moy. Plus, soup is easy for the body to digest, he says, so you won't be kept up with indigestion. If you're going the store-bought route, opt for a lower-sodium option. Too much salt can keep you wide awake.
Try our chicken noodle soup recipe, or pick up one of the best-tasting canned options (according to our taste test).
So long as they're not in french fry form, sweet potatoes can help you sleep better! Registered dietitian Lisa Mastela, MPH, RD, founder and CEO of Bumpin Blends explains: "Sweet potatoes contain B6 which boosts mood and melatonin which prepares for sleep, so eating sweet potatoes help you feel both relaxed and sleepy." Plus, the veggie is fiberlicious, so you don't have to worry about waking up hungry in the middle of the night. How's that for a win-win-win?
Try one of our 25 Healthy and Delicious Sweet Potato Recipes.
Yup! Keep whatever's left of white rice that came complimentary with your last sushi or Chinese food order. Eating it before bed can decrease how long it takes to fall asleep, according to Richards. "White rice is high in carbohydrates, which are thought to promote a sense of fullness and restfulness." And, it also has a high glycemic index, which is thought to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, she says.
Just be sure to stick to a one-cup serving. While it can help you snooze, it's not the healthiest food in the world. One cup has 250 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber per serving, and very little protein.
Forking into a fish dinner before bed is a great way to ensure you'll get a good night's rest. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and sardines contain both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, nutrients important for the regulation of serotonin, which regulates sleep, a study in Advances in Nutrition states. Another study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medication investigated the effects of eating fatty fish on slumber and found that those who ate 10.5 ounces of Atlantic salmon three times a week for six months fell asleep about 10 minutes faster than those who didn't eat fish.
Try one of our 21+ Best Healthy Salmon Recipes.
Get under the down comforter with this sleep-inducing food from Down Under. Participants who consumed two kiwifruits 1 hour before bedtime nightly for 4 weeks fell asleep 35 percent faster than those who didn't eat the New Zealand fruit, a study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found. Besides being rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E, it also contains a familiar hormone, serotonin. This sleep hormone is related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and its low levels may cause insomnia. Similarly, kiwi is rich in folate, and insomnia is one of the health issues that are a symptom of folate deficiency.
RELATED: Get lean for life with this 14-day flat belly plan.
Sleep is a huge part of making any diet and exercise plan work, as it allows your body to process and to recover from all the sweat and breakdown of muscle. And cherries are the perfect fruit for the job. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank just one ounce of tart cherry juice a day reported that they slept longer and more soundly than those who didn't. So what's going on here? Cherries act as a natural sleep aid thanks to their melatonin content, a naturally produced hormone that signals to our bodies that it's time for bed. So enjoy a cup of cherries for dessert—they'll help you maintain your toned physique by replacing less virtuous desserts and moving along your snooze process.
Although it's traditionally considered a breakfast option, a low-sugar cereal paired with skim milk is a perfect bedtime snack. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which serves as a precursor for the hormone serotonin, a sleep-inducing agent. (Just make sure your milk is skim. Higher fat whole milk will take your body longer to digest, keeping your body working late rather than snoozing.)
And according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a high-glycemic carb like jasmine rice (or rice cereal) 4 hours before bed can cut the amount of time it takes to fall asleep in half compared to a low-GI food. This is because high-glycemic carbs, which spike insulin and blood sugar more quickly than low-GI foods, can help increase the ratio of tryptophan circulating in your blood by siphoning off other amino acids to your muscles. This lets the tryptophan outcompete those other amino acids for entrance into your brain, allowing more of the sedative to signal it's time to put your head to the pillow.
Because they're an excellent source of both potassium and magnesium, bananas can put your body into a sleepy state by helping with muscle relaxation. In a study in the Journal of Research and Medical Sciences, magnesium had a positive effect on the quality of sleep in older adults with insomnia by extending the time they spent sleeping in bed (rather than just lying there) and making it easier to wake up. Bananas also contain tryptophan, the precursor to calming and sleep-regulating hormones serotonin and melatonin.
Try one of our 20 Healthy Banana Bread Recipes.
Another great muscle-relaxing magnesium source? Nuts! Cashews and peanuts are good, but almonds are deemed one of the best foods that help you sleep. That's because almonds (one of our must-have staples for a flat-belly kitchen) are also high in calcium. This tag team works together to calm the body and relax muscles. Calcium plays its role by helping the brain convert the amino acid tryptophan into sleep-inducing melatonin. This also explains why dairy products which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.
Yet another reason to love this versatile food. With its long list of sleep-inducing nutrients, spinach is an insomniac's best friend. Not only is it a source of tryptophan, but the leafy green is also an excellent source of folate, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C, which are all key co-factors in synthesizing serotonin, and subsequently, melatonin. Spinach also contains glutamine, an amino acid which stimulates the body to get rid of the cellular toxins that lead to sleeplessness.
When it comes to cooking spinach, avoid the flame. Heat breaks down glutamine as well as vitamins C and B, so it's best to eat spinach raw—combine with a banana and almond milk for the perfect before-bed snack. For more tips on preparing foods for the most health benefits, don't miss our report, how to extract the most nutrients from your food.
Don't count sheep, eat turkey! Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meats, has demonstrated powerful sleep-inducing effects. A recent study among insomniacs found that just 1/4 gram—about what you'll find in a skinless chicken drumstick or three ounces of lean turkey meat—was enough to significantly increase hours of deep sleep. And that can translate into an easy slim-down. Pair your source of tryptophan with a carbohydrate-rich food like brown rice (also high in sleep-supporting magnesium and vitamins B3 and B6) to enhance the eye-shutting effects.
Try one of our 31+ Best Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes.
For a tryptophan triple treat, combine low-fat Greek yogurt, honey, and some banana. Yogurt and bananas both contain tryptophan, and the carbs from the banana will help the tryptophan-rich foods get absorbed by the brain. Need something a bit more filling? Mix in some raw oats (they'll soften in the yogurt), which are a prime source of tryptophan.
The "whole" part is important. Whole grains include the germ of the grain, which is removed during the refining of whole wheat grains into white flour. This germ includes important B vitamins such as folate and vitamin B6—both important micronutrients required for proper absorption of tryptophan—as well as magnesium to loosen your muscles. Pair it with tryptophan-containing peanut butter (and perhaps some bananas and honey) to help you catch some ZZZs.
Completely avoiding food before bedtime can actually be bad for your weight loss goals. Instead of going to sleep with a rumbling belly, have a little cottage cheese. Not only is it rich in casein protein—a slow-releasing milk protein that will keep hunger at bay through the night—it also contains the amino acid tryptophan. Mix it with hummus for a savory spread and an added tryptophan boost (the amino acid is also found in chickpeas!), or with guacamole for some muscle-relaxing magnesium!
Try one of our 18 Clever Ways to Eat Cottage Cheese.
What ailment can't be solved with a cup of tea? At least not sleeplessness! Many herbal teas offer sedative effects through their flavones, flavonoids, and resins. For starters, passionflower tea has the flavone chrysin, which has wonderful anti-anxiety benefits and is a mild sedative, helping you calm nervousness so you can sleep at night.
Another relaxing tea is lemon balm. The tangy tea serves as a natural sedative, and researchers reported that they observed reduced levels of sleep disorders among subjects using lemon balm versus those who were given a placebo.
Valerian is a herb that's long been valued as a mild sedative, and now research is showing what tea enthusiasts have known for centuries. In a study of women in the journal Menopause, researchers gave half the test subjects a valerian extract and half a placebo. Thirty percent of those who received valerian reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep, versus just 4 percent of the control group. While researchers have yet to identify the exact active ingredient, they suspect that receptors in the brain may be stimulated to hit "sleep mode" when coming in contact with valerian.
Legend has it that when workers were gathering hops for the master brewer's latest beer, they kept falling asleep on the job! People began to realize there was a sedative property to the hops, and they started using them in teas to aid with sleeplessness. Now, researchers found its pharmacological activity is due primarily to the bitter resins in its leaves. Acting in a similar way to melatonin, hops increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps combat anxiety. While hops have been used for centuries to aid with sleep, studies have only been able to prove its effectiveness when combined with valerian.
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And Now… The Worst
That serving of Ben & Jerry's you've been spooning before crawling between the sheets isn't doing your sleep schedule any favors. Functional medicine guru Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition, author of the best-selling books KETO DIET and COLLAGEN DIET explains explains: For starters, "Ice cream is high in sugar, which can spike your insulin levels. And high insulin levels have been shown to make it difficult to fall asleep," he says. Beyond that, most folks eat ice cream late at night—as opposed to at, like, six pm. "Late night snacking on ice cream can lead to increased cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone that can make it difficult to fall asleep as well," he says.
Of course, there's some nights when a bowl of the Chunky Monkey is worth the restlessness that follows. But you might try whipping up a serving of frozen banana "ice cream", which tastes shockingly like the real deal. Plus, bananas (as we said) actually promote sleep.
"Highly acidic foods can worsen symptoms of heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which can cause sleep-disrupting acid reflux," says Dr. Axe. And unfortunately, it doesn't get much more acidic than grapefruits and oranges. If it's a healthy dessert that you're after, check out this list of 73+ Healthy Dessert Recipes.
Another fruit (yes, that says fruit, not vegetable) that's super acidic? Tomatoes. "Tomatoes and tomato-based products can really wreak havoc on your ability to sleep," says registered dietician Amanda Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living. The reason? Again, heartburn.
Spoiler alert: If you have any even a little bit of dairy intolerance or allergy, and you chow down a cheese platter before bed, it's going to disrupt your Zzz's. At least according to Moy, "Any intolerance can cause inflammation, gas and bloating, which can lead to pain and discomfort that make it harder to get quality sleep."
Even if you're not dairy-adverse, according to Dr. Axe, there are cheeses you should avoid. He explains: "Aged cheeses contain tyramine, an amino acid that increases the production of norepinephrine—a neurotransmitter released during stressful situations as part of the fight-or-flight response— which can lead to increased alertness and decreased sleep quality," he says. So save the gouda for your morning omelette, and opt for cheese like goat cheese, crumbly feta, and halloumi at night.
That relaxing glass of chardonnay might be doing the opposite of its intention. While a late-night glass of wine can help you unwind and you fall asleep faster, it actually prevents your body from fully indulging in its REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle, which is where truly restful sleep and dreaming occurs. According to nutritionist Mitzi Dulan, RD, "Research shows that drinking alcohol before bed can make you more likely to wake up throughout the night and diminishes the quality of sleep. We also know alcohol can lead to snoring since it is a potent muscle relaxer." For a little motivation to cut back on the booze, check out these amazing benefits of giving up alcohol!
Sorry, stout fans, but beer is off limits, too. "With beer, the amount of alcohol may not be as high as with a martini or wine, but it's still enough to dehydrate the body, cause muscle cramping in the middle of the night, and disrupt your sleep cycle," says intuitive nutrition coach Joanna K Chodorowska NC, TPTH, METS, CSG. Beyond that, "beer drinkers also tend to have to get up every 2 to 3 hours after going to bed to go to the bathroom due to the excess of liquids consumed after dinner."
If you like the idea of an earthy nightcap, try kombucha. Pour it in Thistle glass and your buddies won't even know it's non-alcohol.
We hope you'd know this one by now! But in case you need a little background info: "Caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system several hours after consuming it," say The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT. "If you're at all sensitive to it, you will probably lie awake." Caffeine's stimulating effects can last anywhere from 8 to 14 hours, so make sure to keep your sleep in mind when you're thinking about the timing of that cuppa joe or afternoon diet soda. We'd recommend laying off around 8 hours before you're planning to hit the hay.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that chocolate treat after dinner isn't doing your REM any favors. Like coffee, dark chocolate also contains caffeine, which can increase arousal, prevent your body from shutting down, and decrease your ability to develop and sustain deeper stages of sleep. Chocolate bars have varying amounts of caffeine, but an average 2-ounce, 70 percent dark chocolate bar contains around 79 milligrams—over half of what's in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. If you know you're sensitive to caffeine, but don't want to ditch the dark chocolate completely, try savoring your sweet treat earlier on in the night or cutting down on portions.
We're talking about the usual suspects here, like burgers, loaded burritos, and pizza. (Yup, you'll have to say bye-bye to that side of sweet potato fries or nachos before bed, too!). "These high-fat foods take longer to digest," offer The Nutrition Twins, which they explain will keep your body up working rather than relaxing. Fatty foods "often cause bloating and indigestion that interferes with a sound night's rest," they continue. This leads to more fragmented sleep, so you wake up the next morning without feeling refreshed.
Pass up the Froot Loops, please. "Eating high-sugar cereals will make your blood sugar spike and crash, which will affect your sleep," says nutritionist Lisa DeFazio, MS, RDN. She continues, "choose a cereal with less than five grams of sugar per serving."
Spicy foods are a go-to when it comes to revving up your metabolism, but they're also ruining your chances of falling asleep. Spices like cayenne and Tabasco get their metabolism-boosting properties from capsaicin, which can trigger heartburn in sensitive individuals. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, explains this compound gets your blood flowing as well, "Its thermogenic properties can increase the body's core temperature." Since your core temperature naturally decreases as you get ready to sleep, raising it can cause you to feel more awake and struggle with staying asleep.
A little lesson in logic: "You may think a high-protein or high-fat dinner will keep you full all night, preventing you from waking. But research shows that eating a high-protein meal before bed can lead to sleep disturbances," explains Palinski-Wade. Experts believe it's because a protein-rich meal contributes less tryptophan—the amino acid which is a precursor to the calming hormone serotonin—than it does other amino acids. A lower tryptophan to other large amino acids ratio actually reduces serotonin. And, like many other foods on this list, you may wind up with indigestion or acid reflux since you'll be lying down with a full stomach.
Consuming too much of a high-fiber food like dried fruit can bother your stomach and cause you to have gas and cramps during the night, according to DeFazio. "This is thanks to their high-fiber, low-water content." Come morning, don't eat 'em, either. They're one of the top foods nutritionists wish you would stop adding to your oats.
You might want to rethink having that tall glass of H2O on your bedside table—unless you're saving it for the morning. "Yes, you should drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. In fact, even slight dehydration can significantly drain your energy levels," offers Palinski-Wade. "But if you drink too much right before bed, you may find yourself awakening multiple times to urinate. Instead, start to taper off your fluid intake about three hours before bedtime." To chug more water during the day and help aid your weight loss efforts, try one of these delicious detox waters!
A slice of pizza might satisfy your late-night cravings, but it'll leave you worse off in the A.M. "The combination of fat in the cheese and the acid in the tomato sauce can have a negative impact on your sleep quality," says Palinski-Wade. "High-acid foods can trigger acid reflux, especially when eaten close to bedtime. Even if you don't feel 'heartburn,' this reflux can cause you to awaken partially from sleep and leave you tired the next day."
Leave those apres-dinner mints on the check and head home! There are plenty of health benefits of mint, but sleeping well isn't one of them. "Many people pop peppermints into their mouths after dinner to freshen their breath," says Hayim. "Some people have it in their tea thinking it will soothe them. But, as it turns out, peppermint is a heartburn trigger. So, definitely stay away from it before bed!"
We are huge fans of fat-incinerating green tea, but make sure to taper off several hours before bedtime, at the least. On top of caffeine, green tea contains two other stimulants, called theobromine and theophylline, which Hayim tells us may cause increased heart rate, feelings of nervousness, and overall anxiety.
Extra Creamy Rice Pudding
Looking for a creamy rice pudding recipe? This is my absolutely favourite rice pudding, that is, in my opinion, the best, most delicious rice pudding you can make!
I have been making this stove-top rice pudding forever. Decades :) It's easily my favourite rice pudding recipe. And while it takes a little more time than some rice pudding recipes, it produces the most creamy and delicious rice pudding. It's definitely worth it!
I know some people tend to think of it as quite humble food, but when done right, it's about as far from humble food as you can get.
Rice - Classic, old-fashioned rice pudding rice is typically made with converted long grain rice, such as Uncle Ben's™, and you can't go wrong with this rice. I also love Arborio rice for rice pudding. I love the plump grains of rice and it cooks up wonderfully in the milk. Basmati and Jasmine are also long grain rice, that would be an option in the absence of the first two choices. I don't recommend any other type of short-grain or quick-cooking rice for rice pudding, as it tends to result in a mushy pudding with this long-simmering recipe.
Milk - Whole, full-fat 3.5% b.f. milk is best for rice pudding. You can use 2%, if that's all you have, though the resulting pudding won't be quite as creamy. I wouldn't use milk less than 2%, for best results.
Cream - The addition of heavy whipping cream (35% b.f.) contributes both to the creamy flavour of the pudding and to the thickening process. I recommend using the heavy cream. You may be able to use a lighter cream in a pinch, such as Half & Half 10% cream, but I haven't tested it myself. I suspect it may result in a looser pudding to some extent.
White Granulated Sugar - The sugar is added simply for sweetness, so you can adjust the amount to your personal taste. I always suggest making the recipe as written first, then tweak after that. Likewise, other sweeteners will work here, but best to stick to granulated sweeteners if possible (vs liquid), to avoid thinning the pudding too much.
You will also need - eggs (2), salt, vanilla and raisins, if using.
This is a visual summary of the steps to make this rice pudding. Always refer to the Recipe Card below for complete instructions.
1. To start the rice pudding, you'll bring the milk to a boil in a large pot, over medium heat. Be sure to use a large pot and watch it closely. When milk hits the boil, it can boil up and over the edge of the pot, which is never a good thing.
While the milk is heating, take a moment to prepare the custard ingredients (eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt). I like to do this early in the process, so it has a chance to sit out and come to room temperature before using.
When the milk comes to the boil, stir in your rice, then reduce the temperature under the pot to about medium low, or whatever setting on your stovetop that maintains a gentle simmer.
2. You'll need to stir down the pudding every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes of cooking. The milk will form a skin on top. Just stir it back into the pudding.
After 30 minutes of cooking, you'll need to check and stir every 5 minutes, taste testing the rice with each stir until the rice is tender. At this point, much of the liquid has been absorbed, so it's important that you stir regularly and if necessary, add a bit more hot milk (or water) as needed, to the pot to avoid scorching the rice.
3. Once the rice is tender, slide the pot off the heat (to avoid scorching the rice) and slowly add a couple ladles off the hot rice/milk mixture to the egg mixture. You need to do this very slowly, a drop at a time, so you slowly bring the egg mixture up to the temperature of the rice mixture. If you add too much hot liquid at once, the eggs will cook an become a bit like scrambled eggs, which is definitely not what we want. Once you've added two ladles of hot rice mixture to the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture into the pot with the rice. Return the pudding to the heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture just breaks a bubble, then remove to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours. Pudding will thicken further as it refrigerates.
What is the best rice for rice pudding? It really is a matter of personal taste and whether the rice pudding recipe starts with cooked or uncooked rice. If it starts with cooked rice, pretty much any rice will work. This is not the case for rice pudding recipes that start with uncooked rice, as different rice will absorb liquid differently and affect the outcome. Converted white long grain rice, Jasmine, Basmati or Arborio Rice all all good choices for rice pudding that starts with uncooked rice.
Can I use brown rice for this rice pudding? No. Brown rice absorbs liquid in a different way than white rice and won't perform well with this recipe that starts with uncooked rice. As mentioned above, brown rice will work in rice pudding recipes that start with cooked rice, so you may wish to seek one of those out if you want to use brown rice.
Can I reduce or replace the sugar? Yes, you can reduce the sugar to taste. For replacing with an alternate sweetener, I suggest replacing with a granulated substitute vs. a liquid sweetener, to avoid thinning out the pudding.
Can I use non-dairy milk for rice pudding? I think so, for the most part. I haven't tried this myself, but I believe it will be fine to replace the milk with non-dairy milk for simmering the rice. Where it gets tricky is with the heavy cream, which contributes to the thickening of the pudding. Possible a non-dairy "cream" would work similarly, as it may have thickeners in it. Alternately, you may need to resort to a bit of cornstarch/water slurry at the end of cooking that you stir into the hot pudding as needed,to thicken it a bit.
Can I omit the eggs in rice pudding? No, not in this recipe. The eggs are responsible for the thickening of the pudding, as we are essentially make a custard here at the end.
Why is my rice pudding too thick or thin? This rice pudding will thicken as it refrigerates. If it's a touch too thick for your liking, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream and stir to loosen.
If your rice pudding has ended up too thin, it is likely that it didn't cook it long enough at the end to thicken the custard. If it needs rescuing, pour it into a saucepan, heat, then stir in a bit of cornstarch mixed with cold water, a bit at a time, until the pudding thickens as needed. Re-refrigerate.
How long will rice pudding keep in the fridge? Rice pudding will keep nicely in the fridge for 3-4 days. If it becomes too thick, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to loosen.
Can you freeze rice pudding? Yes, you can. Rice pudding will keep well frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
There are a few places where this recipe can go wrong, so I thought I'd point them out, since I've done all of them at one point or another :)
1) Not watching the pot as your milk comes to a boil at the start of cooking and having it boil up and all over your stove. Use a large pot and watch very closely as it nears the boil (starts steaming), to avoid that mess.
2) Simmering the milk/rice mixture too vigorously and not stirring it down regularly. Either can result in rice scorching on the bottom of the pan or the mixture drying out before the rice has a chance to cook. Keep mixture at a gentle, just-barely simmer and stir it down regularly. I like to set the timer on my stove in 10/5-minute increments, to remind me, so I can't forget about it cooking on the stove.
3) Adding too much hot liquid to your egg mixture too quickly. You need to bring the temperature of the egg mixture up very slowly (called "tempering"), so that the eggs don't cook/curdle. Add a drop at a time (really!) at first and whisk continuously while adding. You can increase to a slow stream as you go along, but keep whisking and don't rush it.
4) Not cooking the pudding long enough after you add the egg mixture, resulting in a soupy finished pudding. It can be hard to tell the first time you make it, when your custard has cooked long enough. It helps to know what you're aiming for. It won't look like the finished pudding in the photos. It will get there once it's refrigerated and set, but off the stove, it should look much more saucy. BUT, the sauce part should be creamy and noticeably thickened - not thin like milk. My method is when the pudding nears the boil (lots of steam rising from the mixture), I will stop stirring for a 10-15 seconds, to see if any bubbles rise in the middle. If not, I keep cooking, stirring for another minute or so, then I stop again, to see if any bubbles rise. Once I see a bubble rise, I keep cooking, stirring, for only about 30-60 seconds more, then remove and pour into serving bowl.
5) Letting the liquid in the pot get too low. As rice absorbs liquid differently, you may find that the milk mostly disappears before your rice is cooked. If the mixture gets too dry, it may scorch on the bottom of the pan. Don't hesitate to add more milk or water to the pot towards the end of cooking, to make sure the liquid is sufficient to suspend the rice off the bottom. For best results add hot milk or hot water, to prevent cooling down the mixture.
Extra Creamy Rice Pudding
- 4 cups whole milk, (3.5% b.f.), plus up to 1 cup more, as needed
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice or Arborio rice, *or see Notes for other rice options
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, 35% b.f.
- 1/3 cup white granulated sugar, or reduce to taste
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Optional : 1/2 cup raisins
- Rinse a large saucepan with cold water. Don't dry. Set on stove-top over medium heat. Add milk. Heat milk to boiling, over medium heat, stirring regularly. WATCH CLOSELY as it nears the boil! When milk hits the boil, it will boil up and possibly over. That's not a good thing.
- When milk boils, stir in rice and keep stirring until mixture returns to the boil. Reduce heat to a shade higher than low, or whatever level on your stove allows the mixture to gently simmer (bubble breaking the surface but not too vigorously). Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring down the mixture every 10 minutes (Important that you stir it down regularly and ensure that there is no rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. You will notice that the mixture has probably formed a skin on top. Don't remove it. Just stir it back in.)
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to whisk together the cream, sugar, yolks, vanilla and salt. Set aside on counter while rice is cooking, leaving fork in bowl. Set out a ladle to use, as well. I like to do this after the rice starts cooking, so that the mixture comes to room temperature by the time it's needed.
- Once milk/rice has simmered for 30 minutes, continue simmering, but stir down every 5 minutes. With each stir, start testing the done-ness of the rice by tasting a piece. You want the rice to be tender (so no hard center). **Depending on the rice you used, your mixture may start to get thick-ish at this point, with little milky liquid left. If so, add more hot milk or water to the pot, just as much as needed to loosen the mixture up, with each stir. Watch closely and don't let the mixture get dry or it will scorch. Continue cooking, stirring down and adding additional milk, as needed until the rice is tender. Most rice is generally done at about 45-50 minutes of total simmering time. A lot will depend on how vigorously your mixture is boiling, so there is no hard and fast rule. Taste testing is the best indicator.
- Once the rice is cooked, slide the pot off the heat to avoid scorching. Re-whisk your egg mixture with your fork. Using the ladle, spoon out a ladle-full of hot rice/milk mixture, taking as much liquid as possible, but not to worry if you bring some of the rice with it. With the ladle in your left hand (assuming your right-handed, if not, reverse) and using your right hand to start whisking the egg mixture with the fork, start adding the hot mixture to the eggs A DROP AT A TIME, at first, while continuously whisking with the fork. Increase to a slow stream, while whisking continuously, until the entire ladle-full has been added. Get another ladle-full of hot liquid and slowly add it to the egg mixture as well, whisking continuously. Keep adding hot liquid until you've got at least 1 1/2 cups-1 3/4 cups of now warmed liquid in your bowl. Once you have reached that point, pour the warmed egg mixture into your cooking pot.
- Return the saucepan to heat, over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring almost continuously, just until a dime-sized bubble breaks the surface of the pudding. Pudding should be noticeably thickened and saucy, but still more sauce than rice (pudding will set more in the fridge as it cools). If liquid seems almost like milk consistency (rather than heavy cream consistency), it's too thin. Cook, stirring, a little longer. **Note though that you never want to allow the mixture to vigorously boil after the egg mixture has been added, as you may end up with scrambled eggs.
- If using raisins, add to the bottom of a medium-large bowl. When pudding is cooked, immediately pour hot mixture over raisins. Stir well to combine. Allow to stand on counter for about 5 minutes, to allow the steam to reduce, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator. Allow to cool and set, at least 6 hours or preferably, over-night. Pudding will set as it cools. To serve, simply stir and spoon into bowls. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon, if desired. If pudding is or becomes too thick, simply add a tablespoon or so of heavy cream to mixture and stir in. If you enjoy your rice pudding warmed, you can warm slightly in the microwave or a small saucepan.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.
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