Prebiotic Fiber May Aid in Stress Reduction and Promote Restful Sleep
If you’re feeling stressed and losing sleep, bananas may be what you need. A 2017 study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience finds foods containing prebiotics (a type of fiber that feeds probiotics, the healthful bacteria inside your gut) may aid in stress reduction and promote more restful sleep.
In a laboratory study, researchers from the University of Colorado saw that rats fed a diet containing prebiotics spent more time in restful non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep than those on the non-prebiotic diet. Next, researchers investigated how diet might affect sleep when stress is in the picture. Stressed-out rats that ate prebiotics spent more time in REM sleep, critical for stress recovery, than rats who did not receive prebiotics.
Stress typically leads to a drop in probiotic diversity in your gut and causes disruption to normal body temperature fluctuations, both factors that can interfere with sleep. In this animal model, these reactions to stress were prevented by eating prebiotics, so there were no issues with sleep.
Though this study was done in rats and used prebiotics found in milk, there’s certainly no harm in adding more prebiotics of any kind to your diet, especially those from fruits and vegetables. In addition to bananas, other healthful and delicious sources of prebiotic fiber include artichokes, nectarines, asparagus, chicory, raw garlic, leeks and onions.