New research from the America Heart Association (AHA) studied over 12 700 adults between the age of 18-76 and found that eating 30% (or more) of their daily calories after 6 pm directly correlated to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and prediabetes.
Specifically, the study found a 23% higher risk of developing high blood pressure and a 19% higher risk of becoming prediabetic.
In a press release from the AHA, the lead author of this study, Dr Nour Makarem, explained, “There is increasing evidence that when we eat is important, in addition to what we eat and how much we eat. In our study, we show that if you eat most of your calories before 6 p.m., you may have better cardiovascular health.”
“Your meal timing matters and eating earlier in the day may be an important strategy to help lower the risk for heart disease”
So could the old phrase, eat like a King at breakfast and a pauper at dinner, actually ring true?
How about for those with a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes?
It is certainly something to be mindful of.
According to the AHA study, the increased risks associated with late-eating involve the body’s natural circadian rhythm, an internal clock that helps regulate our waking, eating and sleeping patterns. The study suggests that eating later in the day disrupts this internal clock, therefore increasing the risk of different types of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY
- Try to include plant food at breakfast time. This could be spinach, mushrooms and tomato with wholegrain toast and egg – or some rolled oats (a great source of beta-glucan) with berries, stewed fruit and seeds.
- Focus on eating whole foods and ditching overly processed refined foods. Meals that are loaded with vegetables, lean meats and wholegrains are a great place to start.
- Stay active. Your heart is a powerful muscle, so we need to work to keep it fit. If you are sitting for large parts of the day, find reasons to move regularly to increase your heart rate.
- Enjoy healthy fats. Oily fish like salmon, avocado and nuts and seeds are not only delicious, they are great for a healthy heart and for slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Enough said!
- Snack smart. Step away from the charity chocolate box at work and opt for some nourishing snacks like veggie sticks with hummus, yoghurt and berries, or nuts with a piece of fruit. Keep it simple, keep it clean.
And if you’re after consistent help, join us here at Voome! All our recipes are designed by Accredited Practising Dietitians and are intended to keep your heart and the whole body healthy, long-term.