The prevalence of obesity and insomnia is constantly on the rise, currently falling in the rage of 30-35 percent. While it seems that there is no apparent connection between the two and that this is only a coincidence, it is very likely that there are actually somehow connected.
Given that sleep deprivation is found to cause weight gain, there is a strong reason to believe that they are interconnected. Lack of sleep is linked to poor blood glucose regulation as well as increased daytime cortisol levels. Increased blood sugar levels cause overproduction of insulin and subsequent insulin resistance, which eventually leads to obesity. What`s more, high cortisol levels are found to increase visceral fat.
On the other hand, obesity is the trigger of many health issues which prevent you from getting enough sleep. Neuropathy and sleep apnea are caused by diabetes and decrease the quality of sleep, while insomnia is a side effect of drugs prescribed for cholesterol, hypertension, and other obesity-related disorders.
1. Psyllium and Apple juice drink
Psyllium is the seed husk of a type of plantain related to the common garden plantain. It is more commonly used as a natural laxative, but can aid weight loss in a number of ways. The husk is nearly inert and has no discernible taste or smell; what makes it special is that it quickly absorbs large amounts of water and swells up to form a slimy gel. Apple juice makes the drink naturally sweet and tasty, and, with a sprinkling of cinnamon, you get the feeling of drinking an apple pie, but without all the calories and other bad stuff in it.
The drink is very easy to prepare.
– 1 Apple
– 1 cup cold water
– 2 tsp pure, 100% psyllium husk/powder
– ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
Cut up the apple and blend it with water, preferably with the skin on, until smooth. Pour into a large cup and stir in psyllium husk and cinnamon powder. Drink immediately, otherwise, the husk will thicken the drink too much. Follow it up with a glass of plain water.
What it does:
Psyllium: The mucilage in the husk acts as a lubricator, helping the food in the digestive tract move forward faster and effortlessly. It reduces fat absorption from the intestine. The bulking up of stomach contents provides a feeling of fullness that discourages snacking.
Apple: The pectin content limits the absorption of fat from the guts and the antioxidant content reduces oxidative stress.
Cinnamon: It regulates blood sugar, reduces the conversion of sugar into fat, and boosts metabolism.
Variation: Fresh apple juice with all the goodness of the soluble fiber is the perfect ingredient, but if you don’t have an apple at hand or cannot bother to juice it, use canned apple juice to mix into the drink. Make sure that it’s 100% juice with no added sugar.
Caution: Psyllium husk may reduce the absorption of medications and nutrients in foods, so avoid the drink within 2 hours of taking drugs and meals.
2. Aloe vera – Cherry drink
Aloe Vera gel is mostly used topically to treat burns and other skin issues but has not become popular as a food supplement, too. It has been found to stimulate weight loss along with many other health benefits.
The fresh leaves are not easily accessible, although they are the ideal thing to use. Commercial products often have unpleasant taste, so be extra cautious when buying some.
– 1 oz. Aloe vera juice
– 2-4 oz. Tart cherry juice
– Cold water
Simply mix all the ingredients well and drink it fresh!
How it Works:
Aloe Vera Gel: Its plant sterols reduce fat deposits in the body, especially abdominal fat. This observation is backed up by many lab studies on obese rats and small clinical studies in obese diabetics and prediabetics.
Tart Cherry Juice: It increases melatonin levels, the hormone which regulates sleep-wake cycle and it also reduces water retention due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Variation: If tart cherry juice is not to your liking, use apple cider or fresh lemon water instead. Stevia may be used as a sweetener if needed.
Caution: If the drink gives you abdominal cramps, it could be due to too much aloin in the Aloe vera product. The outer skin of the Aloe leaves contains aloin, which imparts bitterness to the gel. It is a crude laxative and has undesirable side effects. If you find an Aloe vera gel product too repulsive, try different brands of until you find one that suits you, or grow your own. The plant grows well with minimal care in warm regions; elsewhere you can try growing it in large containers with ample fall and winter protection.
3. Ginger – Lemon drink
This is everybody’s favorite weight loss drink gauging from its popularity. The drink is light and refreshing. Have a generous stock of all the ingredients; it is a great drink to have in the morning and later in the day too.
– 5-10 slices of cucumber with skin
– 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
– 6 oz. water
– Juice of 1 lemon
– A pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Blend the cucumber and grated ginger to create a smooth mixture. Then, stir in the lemon juice and the salt. As simple as that!
How it Works:
Cucumber: The high fiber content in cucumbers binds with fatty acids and carries them away, which in turn reduces the total fat intake.
Ginger: It reduces gas, relieves heartburn, boosts the metabolic rate, and it helps reduce water retention due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Lemon Juice: It acts as a potent detoxifier and alkalizing agent.
Variation: Adding a fistful of coriander leaves (cilantro) can enhance the fat burning effect of this drink. If you can’t stand cilantro, use parsley or mint leaves. Using mint may make it a little too refreshing for a nightcap, so use it when you want to drink this during the day.
4. Warm milk and nutmeg drink
A glass of warm milk at night used to be the number one sleep aid at one time, but now all dairy products are viewed with suspicion. While many people hold the view that milk is fattening, a comprehensive review published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2013 reports that 11 out of 16 studies on the subject have found the opposite to be true.
Regular consumption of milk, even the full-fat version, does not cause weight gain, but may actually help prevent weight gain. Honey does more than just add some sweetness to milk, and nutmeg provides just the right amount of spiciness.
– 1 cup milk
– 1-2 tsp honey
– A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the milk and then mix in the honey and grated nutmeg.
How it Works:
Milk: Tryptophan found in milk induces sleep and it also provides a feeling of relaxation and sleep as it supports the production of serotonin. Calcium and vitamin D in the milk stimulate weight loss while deficiency in these nutrients causes the opposite effect.
Honey: Tryptophan needs an assistance of carbohydrates to enter the brain, and honey comes to its help. Honey ensures a sustained supply of sugar and it doesn’t cause insulin spikes, unlike other sugars.
Nutmeg: This hot spice puts you in the mood for sleep and it also boosts the metabolism for burning fat during the sleep.
Variation: If using skimmed milk, mix in 1 tsp of coconut oil after taking the milk off the heat. Some amount of fat is required for maximizing the bioavailability of phytochemicals in nutmeg.
Caution: Nutmeg, as well as other spices, should be used in very small quantities to derive their beneficial effects. Don’t assume that if a little is good, a lot will be better.