It’s common knowledge that eating a healthy, balanced diet is key to having good overall health. The timing of when you eat could help your heart health as well, according to recent studies.

When You Eat Could Help Your Heart Health

The American Heart Association recently came out with a statement that said eating the majority of your calories earlier on in the day could help keep your heart healthy.

There have been many studies done to see if eating too many calories later in the day makes a difference or no in your heart health. Some studies say that eating a lighter dinner is best, some fitness trainers argue that eating smaller meals throughout the day and ending with a big dinner is best, and other say that as long as you stay within your calorie limit, that’s all that matters.

Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center and author of the AHA statement, said, “People who consume breakfast on a regular basis have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.”

She focused more on findings from studies that showed that people who eat earlier in the day can metabolize their food better and have a tendency to have a lower risk for high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.

CBS News medical contributor and cardiologist at Northwell Health, Dr. Tara Narula, said, “A calorie in the morning may not be the same as a calorie, in terms of how your body processes it, in the evening. We’re learning that it’s because of the body’s internal clocks. We have a central clock in our brain that’s really dictated by light and dark, and that controls our sleep-wake cycles, our body temperature. But what’s more fascinating is that each of our individual tissues and organs have their own clocks, and those are turned on or off by feeding or fasting. And those genes essentially control how we process blood sugar, cholesterol, how our immune system functions, our digestive system.”

Only about 44% of Americans eat breakfast each morning, despite 93% of the population believing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When people eat a full breakfast, such as eggs, fruit, and whole wheat toast, they’re more likely to be less hungry throughout the day.

Some people have the habit of eating too late and their metabolism isn’t as fast and efficient as it is right when they wake up or during the day.

Another factor that could make eating later in the day less healthy is that you’re less active. By the evening, most people are done with their errands, work, etc. and sit down to watch tv. Therefore, your body goes into a more relaxed state and the food doesn’t get burned off.

Also, eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day can help you stay heart healthier. These researchers believe that when you eat could help your heart health and that eating breakfast can help you to stave off late-night cravings.