It’s the most commonly overlooked habit that can do wonders for your health, and it requires nothing more than planning and time management.
Eating the correct foods is essential to a good diet – we all know this. But equally as important, which many people don’t realize, is when to eat.
Simply eating your final meal of the day at 7pm can provide tremendous benefits to your health. Nutritionists have always hyped that it’s important to eat a light dinner, as well as making it an early one.
Here are some of the ways eating early can boost your body’s vitality and image.
Experts say that keeping meals between 6am – 7pm will reduce a person’s overall intake immensely. You’re less likely to consume extra calories thanks to the reduced eating window, plus it lengthens the ‘overnight fast’, which helps with fat loss.
The body enters a state of ketosis, which is a natural state where the body is almost entirely powered by fat. Therefore the body is not only utilizing fat for a good purpose, but is burning it off for energy, too.
Consultant nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta says: “An early dinner is good for digestion, and anything that is good for digestion aids weight loss. It is said that the body is wired to the movement of the sun. The later we eat, more are the chances of the food lying in the intestines, affecting the digestion. On the other hand, if you have your dinner early, you reach the satiety value earlier, the body is able to utilize the food better. The body uses everything we eat. If the calories produced are not put to use, it is stored as fat.”
Bedtime munchies or the infamous ‘midnight snack’ are no-no’s too; eating that late leaves the body in a ‘high alert’ state, which interferes with the circadian rhythms of the body. That means your internal functions get out of whack.
Plus, eating late impedes the body from powering down, again interfering with good sleep. Eating early, in comparison, will help you sleep well, and wake up feeling energized.
Better Heart Health
Nutritionist Meher Rajput says the most important advantage to eating earlier is the improved heart health, which is a catalyst for many of the body’s functions.
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“For people suffering disorders like diabetes, thyroid, PCOD and cardiovascular diseases, it is advisable not only to have a light dinner but also an early one. If we happen to take these [salty] foods late at night, it will lead to water retention and bloating, but most significantly a looming risk of high blood pressure.
“As we go on hogging more carbs and sodium in our dinners, we put our heart and blood vessels to a greater risk of overnight blood pressure. For people suffering from hypertension, it is advisable to eat more complex carbs, oats, brown rice and bran chapatis that can work as healthier alternatives.”
People who eat dinner late are more susceptible to “non-dipper hypertension” as well, which is a state where the pressure fails to drop properly overnight. Blood pressure should drop by at least 10% at nighttime – it’s essential for the body to get good rest. So if that pressure remains high, it increases the chances of heart disease, or even stroke.
If your days end with hunger pangs, perhaps look into your daily diet first. You shouldn’t be starving in the evening, after the 7pm ‘cutoff’. If you are, try spreading your meals throughout the 6am-7pm window, maybe dividing them into 4-6 sittings.
Sticking to the window, and eating at roughly the same time will help your body adapt quickly. And the faster that happens, the faster your body can enjoy the benefits of eating early.
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