We all know that eating healthy is a habit that you should follow in your day-to-day life. However, your meal times can play an important part in your health. Read on to find out why you need to pay attention to what you eat and when you eat as well.
What you should know:
- How do irregular meal times affect your heart health?
- What are the recommended meal times for a healthy heart?
- How to plan and follow a mealtime schedule
How do irregular meal times affect your heart health?
Different organs of your body follow their clocks. What it means, is different foods will react with your body differently depending on when you eat them. For example, in the evening your body finds it harder to break glucose (sugar) when compared to earlier in the day. Similarly, eating a starchy snack after your meal can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases by 45%.
Even healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy can be more effective at certain times of the day. Eating healthy is the first step to improving your heart health, but you will be better equipped to prevent health complications by fixing a meal schedule.
What are the recommended meal times for a healthy heart?
During your day, you can choose to follow a routine of breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. However, you can also consider spreading your meals throughout the day with smaller portions. Here’s how you can break down your meals during the day for heart health.
You should try and have your breakfast within 1 hour of waking up. This way you can avoid eating fried or sugary foods before lunch. Healthy breakfast foods include cereals, berries, whole grains, etc.
Your lunch should ideally be in between 4-5 hours after breakfast. The ideal time to have your lunch should be by 2 PM. A healthy lunch should include vegetables and fruits in your meal for heart health.
Most people eat a snack in between lunch and dinner because it is not always possible to eat dinner 4-5 hours after lunch. Some heart-healthy snacking options include fruit smoothies, nuts, oilseeds, and fibrous vegetables.
Dinner shouldn’t be a light meal because it can lead to midnight snacking. On the other hand, too heavy either as it can disturb your sleep. A healthy dinner can also include lean meats like chicken and fish.
How to plan and follow a mealtime schedule
There are no hard and fast rules you need to follow while planning your meals. However, your body follows a circadian rhythm, which is why your meals need to follow a routine too.
- Make time in your schedule to eat your meal without being distracted by work. There’s no need to force-fit your meal at a time when you cannot eat in peace.
- Once you make a schedule try and stick to it as much as possible, this will also help your body know when to expect food and adjust to the routine.
- Keep healthy snacking options handy so that you don’t end up choosing unhealthy options.
- Eating small meals throughout the day is not recommended for people with diabetes because insulin levels might not be able to drop at all.
- Don’t eat to feed your emotions, eat to satisfy your hunger. It can lead to irregular eating habits that will affect your heart health.