Timing is everything, and that includes what we eat and when we eat it. A recent research study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology revealed that people who skip breakfast, for example, and eat dinner near bedtime have worse outcomes after a heart attack. The study found that with these two eating habits, people had a four to five times increased risk of dying following a cardiac event.
In order to maximize the nutrients in food and to give our bodies enough time to digest them, you need to eat the right foods at the right time, say experts. According to Bustle, it’s important to create an eating schedule that optimizes that plan.
Certified health coach Isadora Baum says that “knowing when to eat certain nutrients in the day for optimal body performance, brain activity, and a balanced mood will help you be more productive at work, in your workouts, and in social situations.”
Nutritionist Tara Gidus Collingwood, MS, RDN, the official dietitian for the Orlando Magic pro basketball team, tells Newsmax that timing your meals is as important as the foods you eat.
“With the plethora of information at our fingertips, it’s likely you have a general sense of which foods are best for your health and which foods should be minimized or avoided. However, the ‘when’ and ‘how much’ is still an area of confusion. Spreading meals and snacks throughout the day, limiting portions at meals to prevent overconsumption, and choosing specific foods at certain times of the day can make a big impact on your energy levels and your waistline.”
Here are five tips that will help you make the most of your meals:
- Have a protein packed breakfast. Maintaining steady blood sugar levels throughout the day is crucial to prevent energy slumps. Sweet foods such as muffins or sugary cereals will provide a quick energy spike but then cause a drop in blood sugar that can leave you feeling wiped out. According to AARP, a University of Missouri study showed that people with Type 2 diabetes who ate a 500-calorie breakfast with 35 percent protein had fewer glucose spikes than those who relied on carbohydrates. Try a spinach and cheese omelet.
- Eat a protein-carb combo after working out. Research shows that a snack containing both protein and carbohydrates is best for recovery after exercise. Eat a post-workout snack within an hour of exercising that contains the three “R’s—water to rehydrate, carbs to refuel, and protein to repair muscles. Enjoy a protein shake or grilled chicken in a tortilla wrap, says Collingwood.
- Load up at lunchtime for weight loss. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity researchers found that obese adults who ate their biggest meal at lunch burned twice as many calories throughout the day, says AARP. Eat whole grain pasta with freshly chopped tomatoes and grated cheese with a green salad or fruit.
- Snack on a handful of nuts in the afternoon. Not only are nuts good for heart health, a study from the University of Barcelona found that older adults who ate a handful of nuts daily improved their memory. A good choice is 25 pistachios loaded with potassium and protein, suggest the experts at AARP.
- For better sleep, fill up on fiber. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that eating an evening meal high in fiber and low in saturated fat and sugar helped subjects fall asleep sooner and enjoy a more restful sleep than folks who ate more fat and sugar at night. For dinner, enjoy a plate of brown rice, steamed kale, and broiled salmon.
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