You know that what you eat is the most important aspect of a healthy diet, but when you eat might be just as important! When you eat and how frequently influences your heart health.

Why When You Eat is Important

The American Heart Association published a statement on eating patterns and heart health. The study said that certain factors like skipping breakfast, intermittent fasting, meal frequency, and meal timing are important in determining overall wellness and heart health.

Later on in that statement, it says, “Intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management.”

Late-Night Eating

Eating dinner or snacking late at night can have a detrimental effect on weight and heart health. When you eat determines how your body uses those nutrients. If you eat late at night, your body doesn’t have time to use those calories that you just ate! They’ll most likely go unused and turn to fat. The more you do this, the more excess weight you’ll gain, and the more stress you’ll have on your heart.

The AHA explained it best: “This may be due to how late-night eating affects the body’s internal clock, which responds to circadian rhythms when metabolizing food and absorbing nutrients, according to the statement. Circadian rhythms also guide sleep and wake cycles. Emerging evidence shows that the liver and other organs have their own clocks that also affect metabolism, which may also explain why late-night snacks and meals are detrimental.”

Now, that’s not to say that an occasional late-night taco run is a no-go. You can definitely still enjoy late-night treats on occasion!

Heart Healthy Foods

Though the time that you eat is important, the bottom line to healthy eating is calories in vs calories out. Strive to eat lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid foods that are high in cholesterol, and saturated and trans fats. Sorry, donut lovers, we don’t make the rules!

Conclusion

The time, frequency, and amount that you eat are all factors to your heart health just as much as what you eat. Try eating healthy meals when you feel hungry! And make only the occasional midnight taco run. Your heart will thank you!