It’s common knowledge that what we eat plays an important role in health, but a new report finds that when we eat is also significant.
A new statement from the American Heart Association suggests that eating more of your calories earlier in the day may help keep the heart healthy.
“People who consume breakfast on a regular basis have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, the author of the statement and a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center, told CBS News.
Like many Americans, Elena Alonzo used to constantly skip breakfast. Now, she makes sure to make time for it every day.
“I always thought I was not hungry and now I realize how much energy this actually gives me,” she said, making time for a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and a smoothie at her desk.
St-Onge points to studies that show eating earlier in the day – when your body can better metabolize food – may lower heart disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Spreading out your day’s calories across smaller, more frequent meals also seems to benefit the heart.
“Consume a balanced diet, obviously, but if this can be done in the context of more frequent meals during the waking hours – not so close to bedtime, and earlier in the day – that would be the ideal,” St-Onge said.
She also recommends planning your meals, and avoiding eating due with stress, boredom, or fatigue.
For Alonzo, sticking to a breakfast routine is also important.
“If we don’t ritualize something it’s really easy for it to fall away,” she said.
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