When You Eat Fruit Before Bed, This Is What Happens

Nighttime munchies are a common temptation for many. When the munchies hit, it's widely known that a bowl of salty chips isn't the best for your health. But what if you eat fruit before bed? For starters, most Americans don't consume the recommended daily amounts of fruit which is about 2 cups (per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). And if you're watching your refined sugar intake but still want something sweet, fruit may be a great option.

In fact, Johns Hopkins Medicine shares that bedtime snacks with high protein and high fats require huge amounts of energy to break down, so avoiding them before bed can ensure better sleep. Fruits typically aren't classified as foods high in protein or fat but instead contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and antioxidants, which fight free radicals and support the immune system (via Harvard Health Publishing). While some antioxidants like glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid are naturally occurring in the body, other antioxidants, like vitamin E and C, are consumed through foods like fruit. Besides eating fruits for their rich source of antioxidants, some fruits can actually promote sleepiness.

The best fruit to eat before bed

When picking the ideal fruity bedtime snack, it's important to keep a couple of things in mind. First, aim for snacks high in tryptophan, according to Livestrong. Tryptophan is especially important because it is an essential amino acid responsible for creating proteins, and the chemical serotonin, which regulates the body's mood and sleep (via WebMD). Fruits high in tryptophan include bananas and dried dates.

Second, you'll want to choose fruits based on their sugar content. This may be most important for anyone trying to prevent weight gain and those who are diabetic (via Livestrong). If this is a concern for you, you may want to choose low-glycemic fruits and be mindful of portion size. Or you could bypass fruit altogether and opt for other serotonin-promoting foods like cheese, eggs, oats, tree nuts, pumpkin seeds, tofu, and soy (per WebMD). When it comes to bedtime snacking, it's a good rule of thumb to choose nutrient-rich foods over heavily processed foods high in refined sugar and fat.