This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
A study published in Circulation found skipping breakfast and eating dinner late can markedly increase the risk of heart attacks and coronary heart disease.
The study examined the eating habits of 26,902 men between the ages of 45 and 82 who did not have cardiovascular disease at the onset of the research. Two clear advisories emerged during the survey, which was conducted over a 16-year period.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
It turns out that eating breakfast can be a lifesaver. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found men who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease compared to men who did not skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast can increase the risk of obesity and high blood pressure along with high cholesterol and diabetes, says lead author Leah E Cahill. Any one or combination of these risk factors could lead to a heart attack over time.
Dr. Keith Kantor, leading nutritionist and author of What Matters, notes, that from a biological metabolic perspective, prolonging a fast (skipping breakfast) puts a strain on the body. He concurs with the study’s findings that habitually skipping breakfast can create medical disorders that may eventually culminate in heart disease.
Don’t Eat Dinner Late
Men in the study who ate dinner right before bedtime had a 55 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease compared to men who did not. This eating habit also increased the risk of all the health problems associated with skipping breakfast.
“If a late night dinner or binge becomes a routine, you are increasing your risk for several different health issues. Your body needs time to digest food before retiring for the evening,” Kantor explains. “Going to bed with food that is not digested completely can interfere with sleep patterns and promote weight gain as well as increase heart burn and reflux symptoms. A prolonged state of poor sleep and excessive weight gain from eating late night meals will interfere with proper insulin production, resulting in heart disease and even type-2 diabetes.”
Try to schedule your dinner at least three hours before going to bed. Eat lighter at dinner than you do earlier in the day when you need energy for your activities.