When you eat is just as important as what you eat!
In late January of this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement regarding meal timing and frequency. The statement provides loose guidelines for how to promote your cardiovascular and overall health through your meals and eating habits.
- When you eat could be as important as what you eat, as the body and its organs have their own internal clocks. Animal studies suggest that eating during an inactive phase, such as late at night before sleeping, can affect the metabolism, causing weight gain and inflammation.
- Meal planning can also help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiac diseases. Knowing what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to eat it, helps you build a healthier lifestyle.
- People who consume breakfast daily typically have lower cholesterol and blood pressure than those who do not. People who skip breakfast, as 20-30% of American adults do, are more likely to be obese, have diabetes, and have poor nutrition.
- It is still important to have a healthy and balanced diet, high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, and fish.
- The authors of this report emphasize that more research is needed in order to provide evidence for these claims. While they believe these measures could lead to a healthier lifestyle, they write that larger studies, which track patients’ health over a long period and quantify outcomes, will lead to more concrete results.
Implementing these methods into your daily life may help reduce the risk factors surrounding cardiovascular disease including high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, and insulin complications. While more research is needed to ensure a fool-proof guide to healthy eating, the AHA has provided some useful tips for people looking to promote their cardiovascular health.
“We suggest eating mindfully, by paying attention to planning both what you eat and when you eat meals and snacks, to combat emotional eating. Many find that emotions can trigger eating episodes when they are not hungry, which often leads to eating too many calories from foods that have low nutritional value.”