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How to get the most from the Persona wellness app

Lasting wellness is about so much more than vitamins. It’s about the countless little actions you take every day. Whether it’s adding a few greens to your dinner plate, taking a walk at lunchtime or just putting down your phone before bed, the choices you make throughout your day can have a profound, cumulative effect on your health.  

But building healthy habits can be harder than it sounds, which is why we created the Persona wellness app. Free for our customers, it comes packed with tools and content to help you evolve your daily routine step by step, setting you on course to lasting change. Read on to learn what it can do for you. 

1. Daily lifestyle tips 

Whether you’re just starting your health journey or you’ve been on the path for a while, the wellness app will keep you moving forward with daily lifestyle videos, wellness tips and in-depth articles created by our experts and tailored to your specific health goals. 

You can check in each day to see what’s new or, if you want to take a deep dive into a topic, you can easily browse the whole library. No need to dig through the tangle of information—and misinformation—online. Just open your app and dive in.  

2. Customized meal plans 

When it comes to wellness, it’s hard to overstate the importance of diet. What you eat has a huge impact on your sleep, your mood, your weight and so much more. But changing your eating habits can feel daunting. Who has time to research and plan healthy meals day in and day out—especially when life gets busy? 

With this in mind, we’ve built a meal planning tool right into the app that will do the lifting for you—serving up healthy recipes and weekly shopping lists for cooks of every experience level.  

And the best part? You can tell it your dietary preferences, and it will adapt the plan to your needs. Vegetarian? We got you. Need gluten-free? Not a problem. Just open the filter, choose the things you like (or don’t like!) and start cooking. 

3. Track your progress 

Truly healthy living comes down to consistency, but it can be hard to break old habits. That’s because we tend to go through our daily routines on autopilot, doing the things we always do without thinking, and struggling to add new activities—like taking a daily vitamin program.  

But that doesn’t mean change is impossible. It turns out, one of the most effective ways to change your behavior is through accountability.1 And in the wellness app, there are tools to help you do just that.  

Just set a daily reminder, and when you take your pack, mark it in the app’s goal tracker. You can see your progress over time, find encouragement when you fall behind, and even earn rewards. Before you know it, your new habit will be second nature. 

4. Chat with us live 

With Persona, you’re never alone in your wellness journey. Our customer care team is here to answer questions or help you adjust your program any time you need us. Just open the chat feature in the wellness app and start the conversation. 

5. Update your personal program 

Your personalized vitamin program is designed to evolve with you. If your needs change, or you want to try something new, you can update your daily pack with a click. Just open the app, view your program and make any changes you need. 

Takeaway 

While shifting your day-to-day routine can be hard, you don’t have to do it alone. With personalized content and powerful tools, the Persona wellness app gives you a powerful guide on your wellness journey. And it’s all free with your subscription.  

So download the app if you haven’t already, and start building a new you, one day at a time. 

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

1. Oussedik E, Foy CG, Masicampo EJ, Kammrath LK, Anderson RE, Feldman SR. Accountability: a missing construct in models of adherence behavior and in clinical practice. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2017;11:1285-1294. Published 2017 Jul 25. doi:10.2147/PPA.S135895 

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7 fun ways to boost your energy 

If sluggish has become your baseline, you’re far from alone. With our late night, early morning, always-on lifestyles, it only makes sense that many of us feel tapped out.  

While coffee, cold brews and other caffeinated drinks might have become your go-to pick-me-ups, there are better—and more entertaining—ways to put a spring in your step (don’t worry, you can keep your coffee, too). 

Here are 7 fun ways to help increase your energy. 

1. Put on a sitcom   

You’ve heard it before: laughter is the best medicine. Well, it turns out that old saying has some real science behind it.  

When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, a brain chemical that improves mood and energy.1 Those feel-good guffaws also increase blood flow and oxygen to your body, helping to reduce physical fatigue. 

So the next time you’re feeling drained after a long day, put on your favorite comedy, relax and enjoy a good laugh. When the credits roll, you may find you’re not so sleepy after all.   

2. Dance like no one’s watching    

Dancing is one of the best ways to fend off fatigue and keep your body buzzing. Music not only puts you in a better mood but moving your body increases your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure, helping you feel more energized and alert.  

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a masterful dancer or have two left feet—just enjoy the music and have fun! 

3. Take a shower with an icy twist  

Ok, so “fun” might be a stretch on this one, but if you’re on TikTok, you’re probably familiar with the recent trend: the cold plunge—content creators, cameras on, hopping into an icy bath. While it might seem like a silly stunt, there’s actually some sound reasoning behind it.  

Cold water stimulates the production of noradrenaline, a hormone that increases alertness and focus, while also easing muscle soreness and inflammation that can exhaust your body. 

Luckily, you don’t have to go to extremes, to reap these benefits. Just cranking the tap over to cold at the end of your morning shower can help you feel a lot more energized and ready to start your day. Brrrrrring it on! 

 4. Go play outside 

It’s no surprise that spending time in nature can do wonders for your energy. Sunlight not only helps your body to make vitamin D, which impacts energy and mood, but it also increases the release of endorphins.2  

What’s more, exposure to natural daylight helps keep your body’s internal clock on schedule, giving you more energy during the day, better sleep at night, and a little more oomph in the mornings. 

Aim to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight each day: take a walk during lunch, go for a hike with a friend or play out in the yard with the kids. You might be surprised at the difference it makes. 

5. Eat a delicious (healthy) snack 

When you’re struggling to stay awake, it’s easy to go for a quick, crunchy treat to refill your tank. The problem is, those grab-and-go snacks are usually ultra-processed and high in sugar, meaning the energy they give you doesn’t last. You’ll likely find yourself going back for more or crashing, making you feel even worse.  

For longer-lasting energy, aim for snacks that include healthy fats, protein and fiber. Unlike that bag of chips or candy bar, these macronutrients work together to help balance your blood sugar levels, increasing and stabilizing your energy longer term.  

And they don’t have to be complicated: A yogurt parfait, a banana with peanut butter or a handful of nuts are all great options.   

6. Jazzercise! (Or something like it)  

Taking part in a group fitness class like spin, barre or kickboxing is a great way to move your body and get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Working out not only revs up your energy but it can also improve sleep at night, so you feel more refreshed in the morning.  

Not just that, but group activities can help you connect with other people, which also elevates your mood and energy. If you don’t have a favorite yet, don’t be afraid to try a few options before picking the one you enjoy most. 

7. If all else fails, take a power nap  

The midday slump is a feeling many of us know too well. After a big lunch or a bad night, you find yourself nodding off in the early afternoon. And while we know a healthy snack or even a few jumping jacks are always options, the only thing we really want to do is close our eyes. Sometimes, that’s just what we need.  

A short power nap is an effective way to recharge your energy. It can help you feel refreshed, make you more alert and improve focus. The key is timing.  

Sleep too long and you might feel even worse after waking. Seep too late in the day and you might set yourself up for another bad night. So for the best results, take your nap early in the afternoon and keep it to around 20 or 25 minutes. Be sure to set an alarm! 

Read next: 6 foods for lasting energy

About Gabby

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.   

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.     

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.       

References:

  1. Yim J. Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2016;239(3):243-249. doi:10.1620/tjem.239.243 
  2. Mead MN. Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health [published correction appears in Environ Health Perspect. 2008 May;116(5):A197]. Environ Health Perspect. 2008;116(4):A160-A167. doi:10.1289/ehp.116-a160 
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What to drink—and not to drink—for better sleep

In a perfect world, sleep would be as easy as flipping off the lights, jumping into bed and closing your eyes. Sadly, that’s not the case for most of us. We need a little help to unwind and drift off to snoozeville.  

While many factors influence your slumber the liquids you sip at night can play a major role. Some drinks can lull you into rest, while others have the opposite effect.  

So, here are four drinks to try for better sleep – and four to avoid. 

4 drinks that help promote sleep 

1. Tart cherry juice 

The latest hack for better sleep: tart cherry juice. It’s a trending favorite among influencers and wellness experts, and for good reason. Pure tart cherry juice is a great source of magnesium—which may help calm and relax muscles—and melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in your sleep-wake cycle. Drinking a glass before bedtime might improve the quality and duration of sleep, according to research.1 

An important caveat: Tart cherry juice is…well, tart – so sugars are often added, and this can interfere with the benefits. Try to find 100% pure tart cherry juice with no added sugars, and combine it with ice or sparkling water to help it go down more easily. 

2. Warm milk 

A favorite for all ages, a glass of warm milk is one of the best things to help you unwind before bedtime. Warm drinks help you to relax and milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that plays an important role in making serotonin, a brain chemical linked to slumber. Not only do you need serotonin to make melatonin, but it also plays a huge role in how well and how long you sleep.  

So heat up a glass, savor each sip and cue your body it’s snooze time. 

3. Chamomile tea 

Chamomile tea has long been touted for its calming and relaxing effects. It’s a flowering herb from the Asteraceae plant family with mild sedative properties. The tea contains apigenin, a compound that interacts with receptors in your brain that are involved in your sleep-wake cycle. By stimulating these receptors, chamomile tea can promote drowsiness and help you fall asleep faster.2  

Enjoying a cup about an hour before bedtime should help soothe your mind and prepare your body for sleep.  

4. Valerian root tea 

Valerian root is derived from the Valeriana officinalis plant and has been used for sleep and relaxation for centuries. Though more research is needed, experts believe adding valerian root tea to your nightly routine can help with restful shuteye.  

That’s because it contains valerenic acid and other compounds that interact with certain receptors in your brain, including GABA receptors, which are involved in regulating sleep and relaxation. By enhancing the activity of GABA, valerian root tea helps promote feelings of calmness, making it easier to fall asleep.3  

What’s more, it can improve sleep quality by increasing deep sleep—aka slow-wave sleep—so you feel more refreshed in the morning.  

So if quality slumber is a nightly struggle, try brewing valerian root tea as a before-bed drink. 

4 drinks to avoid close to bedtime: 

1. Cut the caffeine early 

It’s no secret that caffeine can keep you awake, but what you might not know is how long that effect can last. Caffeine can have a significant impact on your system for as much as 6 hours after drinking, according to some research.4  

So while we all love our late-afternoon pick-me-up, it might be a good idea to swap your hot brew for a decaf tea – and avoid other caffeinated beverages within 6 hours of bedtime. 

2. Limit alcohol  

While a glass of wine or cold beer might seem appealing after a long day, these nightcaps can sabotage sleep. True, it can induce drowsiness at first, but it also causes fragmented sleep, making you feel less rested when you wake.  

In fact, alcohol can disrupt sleep almost as much as caffeine—even in small amounts. It does this by getting in the way of hormones your body makes during healthy sleep and by triggering symptoms like snoring, sleep apnea and sleep disruption.  

To prevent this issue, keep your alcohol consumption moderate and avoid drinking within 4 hours of bedtime. 

3. Avoid sugary drinks 

This probably isn’t surprising, but sugary drinks like sodas and even some fruit juices can interfere with sleep. The high sugar content can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to restlessness and making it harder to fall asleep.  

Sugar also impacts your sleep cycle. The more sugar you eat or drink before bed, the less time you’ll spend in deep, slow-wave sleep, according to one study. If you can, opt for healthier, sugar-free alternatives. 

4. Keep away from citrus drinks 

While citrus juice is often touted as a health drink, having it too close to bedtime can cause discomfort, especially when lying down.  

Citrus fruits are naturally acidic. Drinking their juice right before bed can trigger acid reflux or heartburn, which can make it challenging to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.  

To minimize digestive discomfort, avoid drinking citrus and other acidic drinks before bedtime. 

Last words 

While it’s important to pay attention to what you drink, it’s also important to think about how much. Taking in too many fluids before bedtime can lead to frequent nighttime bathroom breaks. This disrupts your sleep and makes it harder to achieve deep, uninterrupted rest.  

To minimize disruption, it’s best to reduce your fluid intake, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. 

Read next: 5 ways to optimize your bedroom for sleep

About Gabby 

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.    

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.   

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. HowatsonG, Bell PG, TallentJ, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. EurJ Nutr. 2012;51(8):909-916. doi:10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7 
  2. Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010;3(6):895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377 
  3. Bent S, PadulaA, Moore D, Patterson M, MehlingW. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2006;119(12):1005-1012. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.02.026 
  4. Drake C; RoehrsT; ShambroomJ; Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. J Clin Sleep Med 2013;9(11):1195-1200. 
  5. St-Onge MP, Roberts A, Shechter A, Choudhury AR. Fiber and saturated fat are associated with sleep arousals and slow wave sleep. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2016;12(01):19-24. 
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Sleep 101: The A to Zzzz of great sleep

Whether it’s studying for midterms, working on a new project or exercising at the gym – we put our mind and bodies through a lot. And while sleep often takes the backseat to the demands of our busy schedules, the importance of getting enough can’t be overstated.  

So, let’s explore what happens during those unconscious hours, why it’s so important and what you can do to get more restful slumber. 

How does sleep work? 

Sleep isn’t a uniform state; it’s a dynamic process with 4 different stages, each of which serves a distinct purpose. By going through the full cycle, you’re more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and energized. 

  • Stage 1: NREM-1 (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) is when brain activity slows down and your body shifts from wakefulness to sleep mode. You’re in this stage for only about 5% of your total sleep time. 
  • Stage 2: NREM-2 is a deeper stage of sleep; brain activity slows even more—and your body temperature and heart rate drop too. This occupies roughly 50% of your total slumber and is essential for creating memories and processing information learned during the day. 
  • Stage 3: NREM-3, aka slow-wave sleep, is your deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. This period is vital for immunity, hormone regulation, and tissue, cell and muscle repair. You’ll spend about 20% of zZz’s in this state.  
  • Stage 4: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is when you’ll experience increased brain activity and vivid dreaming. It’s key for emotional processing, memory, learning, creativity and even problem-solving skills. You enter REM about 90 minutes after dozing off and then again throughout the night in cycles.   

Why is sleep important? 

Your four-stage sleep process is fundamental to your wellbeing, impacting your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s a vital function that allows your body and mind to rest, restore and regenerate.  

When you’re sleeping, your body repairs tissues, consolidates memories and releases essential hormones, processes that have a big effect on your brain health, immunity, mood, memory and stress management.  

So what happens when you don’t reach the recommended 7 hours?1 A bad night every now and then will just slow you down the next day, but shorting your sleep regularly can lead to a slew of harmful effects: increased risk of chronic illnesses, impaired cognitive function, weakened immune system, mood disturbances, weight gain and a reduction in overall well-being. 

6 tips for better sleep 

If you have trouble sleeping, you know how agonizing it can be: You lie in bed, but sleep doesn’t come. Or you snatch a few hours only to wake feeling drained. Thankfully, there are things you can do. To help with a better night’s rest, here are 6 tips: 

1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule  

Build a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and can lead to more consistent and restful sleep.  

2. Have a wind-down routine 

A relaxing bedtime routine signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for bed. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a warm bath or listening to music, build a habit to calm your mind. 

3. Create a sleep-friendly room 

Transform your bedroom into a cozy sleep sanctuary. Keep the room dark, quiet and cool. Use soft, breathable bedding and if your mattress is uncomfortable, invest in one that fits your comfort level (trust me, it’s worth it!).  

And, if you live in a noisy area, try using earplugs, an eye mask or a white noise machine to block out any disruptive noises or lights. 

4. Put away your screens 

While it’s tempting to scroll your phone in bed, the blue light it emits can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Try to disconnect from your phone and other electronics at least an hour before bed or use blue light filters to minimize their impact. 

5. Get moving  

Moving your body can positively affect sleep patterns and increase the duration of deep sleep. Exercise not only helps tire your body physically, making it easier to fall asleep, but it also releases endorphins, brain chemicals that naturally lift mood and promote relaxation.  

The caveat: exercising too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect and increase alertness. So it’s best to schedule your workout at least a few hours before bedtime to allow your body to wind down. 

6. Manage stress 

Stress may be one of the biggest culprits for poor sleep. It often causes your mind to race, making it hard to fall asleep and disrupting sleep stages when you do. To ease stress, find ways to soothe your mind through meditation, journaling, sipping hot tea or another relaxing activity. 

Read next: 5 ways to optimize your bedroom for better sleep

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.    

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.   

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. The state of sleep health in america in 2023 – sleephealth. 
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How does light affect your sleep?

Anyone who has struggled to ignore a pesky streetlight peeking through the curtains – or that battery light across the room that won’t stop flashing – knows that light can affect sleep. But those effects run deeper than many of us realize.  

Light plays a key role in your body’s internal clock, not just at night but throughout the 24-hour cycle. Different kinds of light can affect your body differently at certain times of day. Understanding this relationship—and the actions you can take to manage—can make a big difference to your sleep. 

Blue light during the day 

Sunlight plays a pivotal role in synchronizing your circadian rhythm with the day-night cycle. Exposure to daylight can not only boost your energy in the afternoon, but it can also help set on track to good quality zZz’s at night, according to some research.1  

The reason: Daylight, especially in the morning, cues your body to release cortisol, the hormone that preps your body to wake up and be alert, while suppressing melatonin, your sleep hormone. On the flip side, the absence of light triggers your body to make melatonin and suppress cortisol.  

So if you’re spending most of your day indoors and getting limited natural light, you might be pushing that mechanism out of alignment, making it hard to get to sleep when you need to. To put your body clock back on schedule, try to expose yourself to bright light during the day—either by going outside or, if that’s not possible, investing in a bright artificial light designed for that purpose. 

Warm light at night 

While scrolling through your social feeds or catching up on the latest Netflix hit might feel light a good wind down, this habit might actually be the reason you’re not getting good-quality sleep.  

This is because your phone, computer, TV and other electronics emit short-wavelength, high-energy light at the blue end of the spectrum, effectively mimicking the sun. In the day, these wavelengths can be helpful, as they promote wakefulness, a positive mood, good concentration and performance.  

But prolonged exposure to blue light right before bedtime can have a negative effect, stimulating your system at the wrong time of day and inhibiting the release of melatonin. Together, these effects can make it hard for you to fall asleep and may decrease your overall sleep quality. 

Tips to get more daylight 

  1. Rise and shine with the sun: Aim to wake up and expose yourself to natural light as early as possible. Open your curtains or step outside for some fresh air or a morning walk to kick-start your body’s wakefulness response. 
  1. Get outdoors during the day: Take breaks during the day to spend time outside, especially in the morning and early afternoon. And try activities like walking, exercising or having lunch outdoors to soak up the natural light. 
  1. Optimize your workspace: Position your desk near windows to allow natural light to flood your workspace. 
  1. Embrace nature during weekends: Engage in outdoor activities like hiking, gardening or simply relaxing in the sun for a few hours on your days off. This will not only expose you to more daylight but also help you unwind and even reduce stress. 
  1. Lighten up your home: Try to keep your curtains open during the day to allow sunlight into your living space. If privacy is a concern, consider using sheer curtains that still let some daylight through. 

 Tips to minimize blue light at night 

  1. Limit screen time before bed: Make yourself a digital curfew (at least an hour before bedtime) for your phone and other electronics. Instead, engage in relaxing habits like reading a book, listening to music or meditation. 
  1. Use blue light filters: If you need to use your electronics late in the evening, consider investing in blue light filters or night mode settings that reduce the amount of blue light emitted.  
  1. Wear blue light-blocking glasses: Blue light-blocking glasses or lenses can be worn in the evening to filter out the harmful blue light emitted by screens. These glasses can help maintain the natural release of melatonin and promote better sleep. 
  1. Opt for warm, dim lighting: In the evening, switch to warm, low-intensity lighting in your home. Replace bright, cool-toned bulbs with warmer lights or use dimmer switches to create a relaxed setting that signals your body it’s time to wind down. 
  1. Establish a sleep-friendly bedroom environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark and free from blue light sources. Use blackout curtains, cover LED displays and remove electronic devices. 

Read next: 5 tips to balance cortisol for better sleep

About Gabby 

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.    

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.   

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. Blume C, Garbazza C, Spitschan M. Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. Somnologie (Berl). 2019;23(3):147-156. doi:10.1007/s11818-019-00215-x 
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5 foods that boost serotonin

Ever have those days (or weeks) when everything is just…meh? If you’re like me, and you’ve tried Googling your way to a better mood, you probably came across serotonin. 

This is your body’s feel-good hormone. And while there are a lot of factors that affect your serotonin levels—genetics, exercise and sleep, for example—one of the best ways to keep your levels up is through your diet.  

But first: How does serotonin work? 

Serotonin is a chemical messenger that carries signals between nerve cells throughout your body. It plays a key role in regulating mood, sleep, learning, appetite and other physiological processes. 

What’s interesting is that over 90% of your serotonin is actually made in your gut. And depending on what you eat, you could either help boost or deplete serotonin levels. All this is to say that diet is key, so today we’re going to look at 5 foods that can increase serotonin levels—and potentially help manage your mood. 

1. Eggs

Boiled, scrambled or fried, eggs are both versatile and extremely nutritious. They’re a great source of iron, B-vitamins and essential amino acids, including tryptophan—a precursor to serotonin. Since your body can’t make tryptophan on its own, eating foods high in it can help promote healthy levels of serotonin.  

So whether you enjoy them at breakfast, lunch or dinner, eggs are a great way to keep your sunny side up! 

2. Salmon

A favorite in the culinary world, salmon is a great source of tryptophan, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which all impact serotonin levels.  

Vitamin D activates an enzyme that converts tryptophan into the feel-good hormone. And omega-3s are believed to influence serotonin receptors and transporters for effective signaling.  

If fresh salmon isn’t an option for you, canned salmon is a great alternative that packs much of the same nutritional punch.  

3. Pineapple

This sweet and juicy tropical fruit contains both tryptophan and bromelain, an enzyme that helps break down protein and promotes a healthy inflammatory response in your stomach lining. This keeps your gut barrier strong and improves the absorption of tryptophan, which can increase serotonin levels. 

Pineapple is great fresh, frozen or canned. Just be sure to choose a product that doesn’t have added sugar.  

4. Nuts and seeds

Good news: Snacking on nuts can help boost serotonin levels, according to a study.4 These little nutritional rockstars are rich in tryptophan, fiber and healthy fats. But they also offer a unique set of vitamins and minerals that may come with an added benefit: magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6 act as co-factors in converting tryptophan into serotonin.  

Pumpkin seeds, flax, chia and walnuts are all great sources of brain-friendly omegas and tryptophan, so go nuts (and seeds) for these mood-boosting powerhouses! 

5. Soy

Soy products are not only a great source of tryptophan, but they also come with isoflavones, plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen, which influences serotonin receptors. Though more research is needed, one isoflavone in particular—genistein—may modulate serotonin function, according to some animal studies.6  

Adding tofu, tempeh, soy milk—even soy sauce—will all increase the soy in your diet. 

Last word

Serotonin is an important but complicated brain chemical that affects both your physical and mental well-being. And while eating foods high in tryptophan, healthy fats and other key nutrients may help, they may not do enough on their own.  

Regular exercise, time outside and stress management are all key to maintaining healthy serotonin levels. And if your mood is constantly low, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider. 

Read next: Why ‘you time’ is more important than you think

About Laura

Laura is a Nutritionist and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Ball State University and a Master of Science in Health Sciences with a public health concentration from Indiana State University.  She is a competitive distance runner who loves to support individuals in achieving their goals. 

Laura is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Laura or another of our amazing nutritionists. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.     

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.       

References:

  1. Kumar,, &Singh, A. (2015). A review on neurotransmitters and their effects on immune system. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 9(2), VE01–VE06. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2015/10789.5579
  2. Young SN. How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Nov;32(6):394-9. PMID: 18043762; PMCID: PMC2077351.
  3. Chaudhary B, Bist R. Protective manifestation of bacoside A and bromelain in terms of cholinesterases, gamma-amino butyric acid, serotonin level and stress proteins in the brain of dichlorvos-intoxicated mice. Cell Stress Chaperones. 2017 May;22(3):371-376. doi: 10.1007/s12192-017-0773-1. Epub 2017 Mar 20. PMID: 28321764; PMCID: PMC5425367.
  4. Yang J, Lee R, Schulz Z, Hsu A, Pai J, Yang S, Henning SM, Huang J, Jacobs JP, Heber D, Li Z. Mixed Nuts as Healthy Snacks: Effect on Tryptophan Metabolism and Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Nutrients. 2023; 15(3):569. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030569
  5. Jenkins TA, Nguyen JC, Polglaze KE, Bertrand PP. Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 20;8(1):56. doi: 10.3390/nu8010056. PMID: 26805875; PMCID: PMC4728667.
  6. Hu P, Ma L, Wang YG, et al. Genistein, a dietary soy isoflavone, exerts antidepressant-like effects in mice: Involvement of serotonergic system. Neurochem Int. 2017;108:426-435. doi:10.1016/j.neuint.2017.06.002
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6 foods for lasting energy 

POV: It’s mid-afternoon and you’re feeling tapped out. You’ve already chugged two cups of coffee, but with the long list of tasks ahead of you, you’re tempted to pour yourself a third or dive into your stash of treats. The thing is, you know that burst of energy won’t last.  

If this cycle sounds all-too familiar, it’s worth evaluating what you’re fueling yourself with at breakfast and lunch, because the best way to keep your energy steady through the day is to make sure you’re feeding yourself with good, energy-boosting foods.  

Here are 6 we recommend. 

1. Beans 

Nicknamed the “magical fruit,” beans are infamous for causing bloat and gas, but they’re also super nutritious. They’re a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein, which take time to digest, meaning they give you slow and steady energy that can last for hours.  

There are hundreds of varieties of beans that are super versatile. So you can easily add them to almost any meal. Try making chili, black bean salsa, hummus or roasted chickpeas for your salad.  

But remember: the more you eat, the more you toot! If you’re not used to beans, start small. Add them to your diet slowly and gradually increase your intake. This helps your gut adjust to the amount of fiber and lessens those symptoms of gas and bloating. 

2. Greek yogurt 

Whether it’s at breakfast or as a snack, Greek yogurt is one of the best foods to help overcome midday slumps. It has natural sugars like lactose that give you a quick fuel boost, alongside protein and healthy fats that prevent the kind of sugar crash you get from processed snacks. 

Not only that, but Greek yogurt has probiotics that help with nutrient absorption, enabling your body to extract and use more energy from the other foods you eat. What’s more, those probiotics help regulate blood sugar levels to prevent spikes and dips that can also affect energy.1  

Try making Greek yogurt parfait with your favorite fruit, add it to smoothies or dip banana slices in Greek yogurt and freeze it overnight for a tasty snack the next day. 

3. Peanut butter 

Besides extreme deliciousness and an ability to pair with (almost) anything, peanut butter is also great for lasting energy. It’s packed with healthy fats and protein, meaning a little goes a long way. Just two tablespoons have about 8 grams of protein that help slow digestion and keep blood sugar levels steady.  

Peanut butter is also high in the amino acid tyrosine, a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine, brain chemicals that promote alertness and motivation to help you power through your to-dos.  

Start your morning with a PB and banana smoothie or slather a spoonful on apple slices or crackers for an easy afternoon snack. 

4. Berries 

When your body is under stress—during a busy workday, say—it can create free radicals, natural substances that can damage your cells and leave you feeling tired and sluggish. The antioxidants in berries help neutralize these free radicals, keeping your cells healthy and your energy levels high.  

But that’s not all; berries are nutrient powerhouses, filled with natural sugars like fructose and glucose for quick fuel. And they’re also high in fiber that can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates for steady energy throughout the day.  

Eat berries plain as a pick-me-up afternoon snack or add them to your cereal, oatmeal or Greek yogurt at breakfast. 

5. Oats 

A breakfast favorite, oats are one of the best sources of long-lasting energy. Oats are a low-glycemic index food, meaning they don’t spike your blood sugar or make you feel wiped out later. They’re also high in complex carbs and soluble and insoluble fiber. These slow the absorption of simple carbs to prevent energy dips and keep you feeling satisfied longer.  

Try making overnight oats if you’re short on time in the mornings or add them to your smoothies to gain all their benefits. 

6. Spinach 

While eating a plate of spinach might not give you super strength like Popeye, it can help with your energy.  

Spinach is rich in iron, a key nutrient that helps your body produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your cells. It also contains nitrates, compounds that help improve blood flow and oxygen to your cells. This can help increase energy, cognitive function and even improve athletic performance according to some studies.2  

So start your mornings with a spinach omelet or eat a power-green side salad for lunch to boost your energy and focus throughout the day.  

Check out next: 6 reasons your energy may be low

About Gabby  

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.    

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.   

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.       

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.  

References:

  1. Krajmalnik-Brown R, Ilhan ZE, Kang DW, DiBaise JK. Effects of gut microbes on nutrient absorption and energy regulation. Nutr Clin Pract. 2012;27(2):201-214. doi:10.1177/0884533611436116
  2. Coggan AR, Baranauskas MN, Hinrichs RJ, Liu Z, Carter SJ. Effect of dietary nitrate on human muscle power: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2021;18(1):66.
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5 tips to balance cortisol for better sleep 

We’ve all been there: It’s 10 pm, you’re in bed but you can’t stop thinking about all the work that’s waiting for you in the morning. Your mind is racing; you’re tossing and turning as the hours go by.  

Stress is one of the most common reasons for sleepless nights—and it’s mostly because of cortisol, your main stress hormone. When this infamous hormone is left unmanaged, it affects almost every part of your health, including sleep.  

Luckily, there are things you can do to manage it. And we’re going to explore those here.  

But first, how does cortisol affect sleep? 

Your body has an internal clock that’s synchronized with your day and night schedule. It’s governed by hormones like cortisol (your stress hormone) and melatonin (your sleep hormone), which ebb and flow in a roughly equal but opposite pattern.  

Cortisol levels usually peak right before you wake up—when they surge to boost your energy—and gradually fall as the day goes by. Meanwhile, melatonin levels fall in the morning and afternoon, and peak at night as your body preps for sleep.  

But when times are tough, cortisol doesn’t dip when it’s supposed to. This can disrupt your melatonin production—and affects your sleep.  

So what can you do when this starts to happen? Here are 5 things you can try. 

1. Drink green tea during the day 

An all-star in the wellness world, green tea is packed with good-for-you ingredients like L-theanine, an amino acid that can help calm your body and mind by increasing levels of certain brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and GABA that play a role in mood and feelings of calmness.  

Not only that, L-theanine also appears to help regulate the production and release of cortisol from your adrenal glands, thereby reducing the amount that gets into your bloodstream.1  

Try swapping your coffee for green tea during the day or sip on a warm cup of decaf green tea before bed to help calm your mind and get your body ready for rest.2 

2. Don’t skip meals 

Here’s the thing: We all know we should be eating 3 meals a day, but whether we actually follow that is a different story.  

Sleeping an extra 15 minutes might sound better than eating breakfast and working through lunch might seem more productive. But what you may not know is that when you’re hungry, your body identifies this as a stressor and releases cortisol.  

So if you’re skipping meals often, you may be spiking your cortisol levels, increasing feelings of agitation that can linger into the evening.3 Make regular meals a priority. If you know you’re going to have a busy day, try prepping some overnight oats or another quick meal ahead of time to prevent hunger-induced stress. 

3. Reduce your caffeine intake 

If you had a rough night, it can be tempting to pour yourself three or four cups of coffee to get through the day. But while you might feel that you need that extra jolt in the moment, you may be setting yourself up for another sleepless night.  

Not only can late-day caffeine make you feel alert at bedtime, but it can also stimulate the release of cortisol and induce feelings of stress.4 Aim to cut off caffeinated drinks like coffee, some teas or soda at least 6 hours before you snooze.  

If you need that afternoon pick-me-up, try a lower-caffeine option like green tea or even decaf coffee. 

4. Stay Active 

You’ve probably heard this before: Stay active and keep stress at bay. Most moderate to low-impact exercises are a great way to reduce stress and cortisol.  

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, hormones it makes in response to physical stress. One of these—beta-endorphin—not only lifts your mood but also helps suppress cortisol production.5  

So even with a full schedule, make it a priority to squeeze in some time for a low-impact activity like walking, swimming, yoga or Pilates. You’re more likely to get better rest at night and feel more energy during the day.    

5. Eat a balanced diet 

Life is all about balance – and your diet is no different. While it’s perfectly okay to enjoy any food in moderation (hello, Oreos!) it’s best to fill your diet with mainly whole foods for your health and stress management. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains are rich in nutrients like B-vitamins that help regulate cortisol levels to prevent it from interfering with your sleep cycle.6  

Takeaway 

Stress is unavoidable—and that’s okay. We all experience it from time to time. But prolonged stress causes your cortisol levels to stay high throughout the day, affecting all parts of your health and well-being—including your sleep. If the pressures of life are keeping you up at night, try these steps to help your body get the rest it needs to tackle those pressures head on.   

Check out next: The 6 worst foods for sleep

About Natalie 

Natalie is a nutritionist with a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of North Florida. Natalie believes that proper nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and is determined to help others reach their health goals.  

Natalie is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Natalie or another of our amazing nutritionists.  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

  1. Evans, M., McDonald, A.C., Xiong, L. et al. A Randomized, Triple-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study to Investigate the Efficacy of a Single Dose of AlphaWave® L-Theanine on Stress in a Healthy Adult Population. Neurol Ther 10, 1061–1078 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40120-021-00284-x 
  2. Nathan PJ, Lu K, Gray M, Oliver C. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30.  
  3. Witbracht M, Keim NL, Forester S, Widaman A, Laugero K. Female breakfast skippers display a disrupted cortisol rhythm and elevated blood pressure. Physiol Behav. 2015 Mar 1;140:215-21. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.12.044. Epub 2014 Dec 27. PMID: 25545767. 
  4. Lovallo WR, Whitsett TL, al’Absi M, Sung BH, Vincent AS, Wilson MF. Caffeine stimulation of cortisol secretion across the waking hours in relation to caffeine intake levels. Psychosom Med. 2005 Sep-Oct;67(5):734-9. doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000181270.20036.06. PMID: 16204431; PMCID: PMC2257922. 
  5. Pilozzi A, Carro C, Huang X. Roles of β-Endorphin in Stress, Behavior, Neuroinflammation, and Brain Energy Metabolism. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 30;22(1):338. doi: 10.3390/ijms22010338. PMID: 33396962; PMCID: PMC7796446. 
  6. Soltani H, Keim NL, Laugero KD. Increasing Dietary Carbohydrate as Part of a Healthy Whole Food Diet Intervention Dampens Eight Week Changes in Salivary Cortisol and Cortisol Responsiveness. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 24;11(11):2563. doi: 10.3390/nu11112563. PMID: 31652899; PMCID: PMC6893582. 
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5 ways to optimize your bedroom for sleep   

We’ve all been there: The bright light that peeks through the gap in your curtains and keeps you from falling asleep. Or the hot summer night that makes it impossible to get comfortable, no matter how much you toss and turn.  

When it comes to sleep, we talk a lot about when— when to go to bed, when to set your alarm, when to get up in the morning—but where you do it can also have a major impact. Here are 5 simple ways to optimize your bedroom for sleep. A few small changes can make a world of difference. 

1. Embrace the darkness   

Your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle that’s triggered by light. When the lights are dim, your body produces melatonin, your sleep hormone. This slows your system and signals to your brain that it’s time to shut down for the night. The darker your room is, the clearer that signal becomes, making it easier for your mind and body to wind down, and stay that way for the night. It also eliminates visual distractions, like that pesky streetlight.  

Consider getting blackout curtains or blinds to block out external light—or try using a sleep mask. Also, avoid using your phone in bed; the screen’s blue light can inhibit melatonin production and make it harder to drift off.  

2. Shhhhhh. Make your bedroom quiet  

We all know loud or sudden noises can put an end to a good snooze. But even relatively low-level sounds like traffic or electronic devices can be a problem. These faint distractions can keep your mind active as you try to fall asleep. Later in the night, they can trigger micro-arousals, short periods of wakefulness that disrupt your sleep cycle. You might not remember these interruptions, but they can leave you feeling groggy or unrested when you wake up.  

To mitigate the negative effects, try using a sound machine or even a fan that masks smaller noises with a soothing ambient sound.  

3. Ahhhh. Make your bed comfy   

Put simply, you need to be comfortable to sleep well. So it’s a good idea to put a little time into making your bed into a sleep haven with soft sheets, fluffed pillows and a mattress that provides support.  

If your mattress is old or too firm or soft for your liking, it’s worth investing in a new one. Over time, mattresses can lose their resilience and become less supportive. This not only makes it harder to fall asleep at night, but it can also leave you with aches and pains in the morning.  

4. Go analogue 

If you like to scroll through your social feeds at night or check emails first thing in the morning, you’re certainly not alone. But while it’s a habit many of us fall into, it’s also one that can damage sleep.  

Not only does the blue light affect your melatonin production, but engaging with these activities right before bed can stimulate your brain, making it harder to unwind and relax.  

Plus, all the notifications, alerts and texts can interrupt your sleep – even if just for a moment. Instead, aim to stay off your phone at least an hour before bed. If you can, keep your phone in a different room too. 

5. Keep it cool   

Ever notice how a cool room has a calming effect? This is because your body has an intricate regulating system that plays a vital role in your sleep-wake cycle—and it’s affected by ambient temperature. 

In the evening, your body temperature drops, cueing your systems to get ready for sleep. Setting your room to a slightly cooler temperature encourages that natural dip, helping to relax your muscles and induce drowsiness.  

By extension, a warmer room might get in the way of this process, leaving you feeling hot and tossing and turning throughout the night.  

Try setting your room to a comfortably cool temp that feels right for you, and use bedding that’s breathable to allow better airflow and heat dissipation. 

Check out next: 6 of the worse foods for sleep

About Gabby 

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.    

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.   

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

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5 prebiotic-rich foods to nourish your gut

Many of us are familiar with the benefits of probiotics, the good bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and kombucha. But while probiotics get a lot of the spotlight when it comes to gut health, their lesser-known sidekick prebiotics are just as important. Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed those good bacteria already living in your gut to help them grow and flourish.  

Here are 5 prebiotic-rich foods you should consider adding to your diet to keep your digestive tract in shape. 

1. Garlic: rich in inulin 

This pungent vegetable goes well with any dish, and it just happens to be rich in inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber. Your body can’t actually digest inulin; instead, it passes through your large intestine, where it acts as food for your good bacteria and encourages their growth.  

This helps promote a healthy ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut, improving the overall health of your digestive system, which can lessen bloating and irregularity, among other things. But it’s not just your gut that benefits. According to some research, inulin also appears to stimulate the production of immune cells, regulate blood sugar and improve calcium absorption.1  

2. Dandelion greens: the prebiotic in your backyard 

You might think of dandelions as nothing more than pesky weeds, but they’re actually a food source, packed with nutrients that deliver a host of health benefits. Dandelions are not only rich in inulin, but they also come with other prebiotic fibers called pectin and mucilage that promote regularity and a healthy inflammatory response. This promotes a strong gut barrier, helping your body absorb essential nutrients from food while keeping harmful pathogens out.  

Try adding dandelion greens to your salad or smoothie for an easy, gut-healthy meal. 

3. Oats: rich in beta-glucan 

Oats aren’t just a breakfast favorite; they’re also a great source of beta-glucan, a type of prebiotic fiber. When you eat oats in the morning, this fiber passes through your small intestine and reaches the large intestine undigested, where it feeds your beneficial bacteria and makes them produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These are linked to a range of health benefits like improved gut barrier function and soft bowels (a good thing).  

If you’re short on time in the mornings, make overnight oats by combining them with milk and fruit the night before. 

4. Bananas: prebiotic superfood 

When it comes to prebiotics, the humble banana is a superstar that often gets overlooked. Bananas have a type of prebiotic fiber called fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a non-digestible carbohydrate that promotes the growth of certain beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These can help improve digestion, immunity and even lower the risk of certain diseases. 

So next time you’re looking for a quick and easy snack, reach for a banana! You’ll be helping your gut microbiome with every delicious bite.  

5. Apples: rich in pectin & polyphenols 

An apple a day keeps the doctor away—but did you know that it can also keep your gut microbiome happy? Apples are a great source of prebiotic fiber, specifically pectin, which helps your good bacteria thrive. They’re also rich in polyphenols, another prebiotic that fights free radicals, natural substances that can damage cells in your gut. This helps improve your gut barrier function to keep it strong and healthy. 

To learn about probiotics, read: A full guide to probiotics from a dietitian

About Gabby 

Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.     

Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.      

This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.        

References:

Carlson JL, Erickson JM, Lloyd BB, Slavin JL. Health Effects and Sources of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber. Curr Dev Nutr. 2018;2(3):nzy005. Published 2018 Jan 29. doi:10.1093/cdn/nzy005 

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