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Melatonin Can Help Burn Fat While Sleeping, According to Research — and It’s in These Everyday Foods

Sep. 1 2023, Published 4:13 p.m. ET

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Eat right, sleep right, shed unwanted pounds. It's as easy as that, say researchers who have shown the hormone melatonin can combat weight gain.

Many people already take melatonin supplements to help them sleep. But they have probably never known how the hormone helps them burn fat while they visited Dreamland.

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How does melatonin help burn fat while sleeping?

Folks can get the fat-fighting benefits of melatonin without expensive supplements, say researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. All they have to do is consume hardy helpings of melatonin-rich foods and sleep in the dark, say the American scientists who staged the study with biochemists in Spain and Grenada.

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Melatonin stimulates the production of what the scientists call “beige fat” or “good fat. ”The beige fat tends to burn calories, as opposed to bad fat, a.k.a. “white fat,” which stores calories. So the more beige fat people have, the slimmer they become. The effect is amplified by sleeping in the dark because our bodies are pre-programmed to produce more melatonin in the pitch black.

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What foods have melatonin in them?

To bolster your body's bank of melatonin, consume foods and drinks that contain high levels of the hormone, including:

  • rice
  • corn
  • peanuts
  • walnuts
  • tomatoes
  • asparagus
  • rolled oats
  • tart cherries
  • cherry juice.

And there's other grub that can boost the production of beige fat, including mustard, goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, the spice cardamom and the herbs fennel and coriander.


The study will bolster previous research that links melatonin and beige fat to helping prevent or control diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidemia, which means abnormally high levels of fat in the blood.

Melatonin capsules or tablets are available in the supermarket, drugstore or health food store. Your doctor can also prescribe it and give you advice on usage.


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