health as it happens

Food you eat at a certain time of the day may affect your heart health: Study - Times of India

It is said that if you want to live a long and disease-free life, eat healthily. A plate full of healthy and nutritious foods will provide you energy to sail through the day and cut down the risk of chronic diseases. But when it comes to heart health, you need to do a little more than just eating healthy. Studies suggest that what you eat and when you eat both affect your heart health. What can harm your heart health? A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that eating starchy snacks after your meal can increase the risk of early death by 50 per cent and of developing cardiovascular disease by 45 per cent. The study indicated that eating healthy and nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy at certain times of the day may benefit more and cut down the risk of health-related complications.

What kind of food to eat and when For the study, the team of researchers examined the health report of about 21,503 participants collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 to 2014. They categorised the eating habits of the participant's to study their effect on their health. Breakfast categories -Western breakfast, starchy breakfast, and fruit breakfast. Lunch categories -Western lunch, vegetable lunch, and fruit lunch. Dinner categories -Western dinner, vegetable dinner, and fruit dinner. Snack categories - grain snack, starchy snack, fruit snack, and dairy snack.

Overall it was found that the people belonging to the western lunch group consumed the most servings of refined grain, solid fats, cheese, added sugars, and meat. The researchers concluded that people belonging to this group were 44 per cent more likely to die from heart and vascular disease.

Those who belonged to the second group and had fruit in lunch had a 34 per cent reduced risk of death from heart-related complications. People of this group consumed the most amount of whole grain, fruits, yogurt, and nuts.

While the participants who had vegetables based dinner and consumed the most servings of vegetables and legumes, their risk of cardiovascular death were reduced by 23 per cent.

Why timing is important

Based on the findings the researchers concluded that those who had a starch meal had a 50 to 52 per cent increased risk of death all around. However, researchers suggest that snacking might not only be the issue. They pressed on the need to eat according to our circadian rhythm for health benefits.

How to eat according to circadian rhythm? If you plan to eat according to your circadian rhythm, have fruit after breakfast. You can have all kinds of fruit like berries or stone fruits. In lunch, try to cut down the intake of processed foods like meat, refined grains, and added sugars. Instead, focus on fruits and whole grains.

For the evening snacks, a handful of walnuts, a cup of yoghurt, and fresh berries can be great options. Try choosing snacks that aren't starchy. When it comes to dinner, add more veggies and legumes.