"If you don't eat your vegetables you'll have nightmares."
This is a statement made by every parent from the past, in the present and to the future. However, I don't believe adults know the scientific reasoning behind their claims, of which, are true.
Parents use this phrase to make sure their children get their daily helping of this essential food grouping. Which is also important for the absorption of other vitamins and minerals that vegetables offer to living beings.
Zinc is a mineral in the human body that is meant to be in balance with the mineral copper. Zinc is also found in specific foods.
Personally, I have had very intense, uncomfortable, intrusive, and erratic nightmares. I've always categorized them as stressful. It was after giving birth to my son that I was recommended the supplement zinc. After taking a fifteen milligram tablet for a week, my dreams calmed down. They weren't as fast paced, and I wasn't straining to keep up with what was going on around me. Then I forgot to take the tablets for a couple of nights. When that happened my dreams exploded and I was trying to scream. I put two and two together after that.
I thought, maybe it's worth it to do a little bit of research on this mineral.
I took to Google with my question. "Why does zinc affect my dreams?"
Google brought fourth it's first search result. “When your levels of the mineral copper are higher than the mineral zinc, this often leads to elevated night time levels of the stress hormone cortisol… People with diets low in vegetables, nuts and seeds (all zinc rich foods) tend to have a zinc deficiency, which could explain why they have nightmares.”
Then of course, I had to find out what the vegetables were that had zinc in them. I have a hard time eating in general but I try to eat some veggies here and there. (I know still not enough).
Usually I will eat cucumbers, carrots, peppers, and broccoli every once in a while. Because of this, I was curious as to why I would be having nightmares since I do eat some vegetables.
There is a specific list of zinc rich veggies that are a low calorie option for people who care about their calorie intake. (After being pregnant, and having a baby I care a little more about what food I put into my body).
This is the list.
- Mushrooms (I really don't like those).
- Green peas
- Lima beans
- Lentil sprouts
- Beet greens
I don't eat almost any of these vegetables. Thus through my research I came to understand why I might be missing zinc in my system. It made sense that copper may have taken over.
"You learn something new every day!" - Everyone on earth.
If any parents have read this article I hope it will help you out when your son(s) or daughter(s) ask "Why?" or "how?"
Now you can tell them, Vegetables contain the mineral zinc, and if you don't have enough zinc in your system you will have nightmares because of that.
They might be to young to understand that, but at least you gave them a solid answer instead of just saying "because I said so."
Zinc and copper are tricky though. It's best to have as close a balance as possible. I have been told that if your zinc intake is larger that your copper then ones anxiety can spike to a new level.
As with any deficiency or diet, one should pay attention to their mood as they progress through the experience. A great tip I've been given, is to keep a separate journal for those effects.