Timing and planning of meals could impact heart health

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Heart Health | Thursday, February 02, 2017 - 02:00 PM

Timing and planning of meals could impact heart healthThe American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, has asserted that the timing and planning of meals could impact your heart health. Habits including eating breakfast and planning when you will eat your meals and snacks are associated with healthier diets, which may help to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The frequency and time that people eat may also affect risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac and blood vessel diseases.

Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge of Columbia University explained how meal timing can affect animals, stating “Meal timing may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal clock. In animal studies, it appears that when animals receive food while in an inactive phase, such as when they are sleeping, their internal clocks are reset in a way that can alter nutrient metabolism, resulting in greater weight gain, insulin resistance and inflammation.” The timing of food intake may affect the way the body processes it, potentially increasing risk factors for conditions associated with heart health.

The contents of your diet are still important as well, and the statement issued recommends ensuring you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, and fish should all be staples, while sugars, red meat, and sodium intake should be limited.

Also, there is a relationship between skipping breakfast and higher heart disease risk factors. People who skip breakfast are more likely to be obese, be diagnosed with diabetes, show impaired glucose metabolism, and have inadequate nutrition.

In comparison, people who eat breakfast daily are less likely to have high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. The timing and frequency of meals has also been associated with the risk factors for heart disease and stroke such as obesity, high blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and high cholesterol.

Dr. St-Onge commented on the importance of making time to eat and scheduling your meals, stating “All activities have a place in a busy schedule, including healthy eating and being physically active. Those activities should be planned ahead of time and adequate time should be devoted to them.”

Being mindful of your eating habits and planning ahead could help you combat obesity and other risk factors associated with heart health and cardiovascular disease, as these practices allow you to make informed nutritional decisions regarding your diet ahead of time so you can better choose what to eat and when you should eat it.

Related: 5 new guidelines to improve heart health


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Sources:

http://newsroom.heart.org/news/meal-planning-timing-may-impact-heart-health?preview=3cfb
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/01/30/CIR.0000000000000476

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