Ever snuck downstairs after your bedtime for a quick snack? Not only does this habit lead to weight gain, but it can have other negative effects on your health, especially your heart. You may say to yourself, “But I only eat healthy foods late at night!” Kudos for making good choices. but it isn’t so much about the food you eat as it is about the time you are eating.
You see, our bodies have what is known as a circadian rhythm, which is basically an internal clock. This internal clock wants your body to be asleep during the night, not awake in front of your pantry or refrigerator. When we eat food during the day, our metabolism works the best. When we wake up during the night for a snack, our metabolism isn’t functioning at its best and fats aren’t absorbed—instead, they linger in the blood. This can take a toll on your heart over time.
Furthermore, many of our late-night snacks generally aren’t the healthiest. In fact, it is at this time of night when we crave sweet, fatty, or salty foods. Why? It’s because ancient civilization didn’t know when their next meal was coming, so they stocked up on rich foods. Today’s body still has this mentality, so we tend to opt for these higher fat, unhealthier food options.
Because of these factors, late-night snacking can have detrimental effects on your heart over time. For this reason, late-night snacking should be avoided, or you at least you need to be more mindful of it.
If you feel the need to snack during the night, then start by drinking a glass of water. Many times, we believe we are hungry when in fact we are just thirsty. If drinking water doesn’t help, then choose the right snacks by avoiding sugary, high-fat foods and instead opting for high-fiber.
Frankly, if you do wake up hungry, it is advised to try and get back to sleep. Giving in to your late-night cravings can have long-term consequences on your heart, mainly because you’re eating but also not getting adequate and restful sleep.