Soporific Spinach & Salmon

This post is inspired by the Tales of Peter Rabbit.  Most of what one needs to know about the link between nutrition and sleep is in this children's story.  Who knew that eating a massive amount of lettuce could make one sleepy?  But it's true! There are some foods which are in fact "soporific". One of the first casualties of stress is sleep.  How many of us turn into insomniacs when we're stressed or wake up in the middle of the night only to pace through the corridors of our mind until it's almost time to get up?

Learning to quiet the mind so we can go to sleep is no easy task.  But we can gift our body with the nutrients our body needs to relax its muscles and make melatonin (our sleepy-sleep hormone)

This Spinach Salmon Recipe is the perfect gift (when you're fresh out of lettuce of course!):

  • 350g salmon (for 2 adults)
  • spice rub: salt, pepper, lemon zest, paprika/chili flakes.  Mix the spices with a 1 tspn of dijon mustard and 1 tspn olive oil.
  • 170g of raw baby spinach (wash it even if it says pre-washed)
  • 1 yellow pepper (julienned)
  • 1 carrot (julienned)
  • 1 tspn chopped garlic
  • 1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
  • Asian Almond Sauce to season the vegetables

Preheat oven to 200C. Make the spice rub and rub it onto the salmon.  Cook the salmon for about 15min (20min if you like it well done).

Sautee the garlic over medium heat.  Add the carrot and when it's well coated and starting to soften, add the pepper.  When the pepper is starting to soften, add the baby spinach and cook until it's just wilted. Add a bit of water if you feel the pan needs moistening.  No need to add more oil.

Have this for dinner and in a few hours, your body will have an extra dose of what it needs to have a restful night's sleep because:

  • salmon is rich in Vitamin B6 -- one of the key vitamins our body uses to make melatonin (our sleepy-sleep hormone).
  • spinach -- much like kale or mustard greens which you could use as a substitute in this recipe -- is packed full of calcium, which helps our body use tryptophan to make melatonin.
  • leafy greens are also super rich in magnesium, Mother Nature's natural relaxant.
  • the almonds in the Asian Almond Sauce are also rich in magnesium.  And if you don't have ready made almond sauce, just toast a few almonds and sprinkle them over the top of the veggies.
  • plus this meal is easy to digest and full of healthy anti-inflammatory fats & fibre.

Soporific Spinach & Salmon to help you sleep like a baby during periods of high stress. 


Thrive Nutrition Practice launches Spring 2016.