This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
A research team from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston published impressive results from a 16-year study in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation. The report explains that men who reported that they skipped breakfast had a higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary artery disease. The scientists determined that timing of meals, ranging from missing a meal in the morning to eating a meal very late at night, may cause adverse metabolic effects that lead to heart disease.
To perform this study, researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaire data on 26,902 male health professionals, aged 45 to 82 years over a period of 16 years. Lead study author, Dr. Leah Cahill commented, “Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time.” The team accounted for modest differences in diet, physical activity, smoking and other lifestyle factors and found the association between skipping breakfast and eating very late at night did not diminish the strong correlation with coronary heart disease.
During the study period, 1,572 of the men had a first-time cardiac event. The study revealed that men who reported they skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than those who reported they didn’t. Additionally, men who reported eating late at night after going to bed had a 55 percent higher coronary heart disease risk than those who ate nothing after their dinner meal.
Dr. Cahill concluded, “Don’t skip breakfast… eating breakfast is associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks. Incorporating many types of healthy foods into your breakfast is an easy way to ensure your meal provides adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.” Prior studies have shown that eating late at night alters metabolic repair processes that increase the risk of developing multiple chronic conditions. The bottom line is simple. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning within the first hour after rising, and stop eating after dinner to dramatically lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The past decade has seen a continual rise in the number of new cardiovascular disease diagnosis, overtaking cancer as the primary cause of mortality in the U.S. each year. Researchers have provided a vast number of studies detailing a host of natural foods, supplements and lifestyle modifications that are demonstrated to prevent and even cure this number one killer of men and women. A healthy diet eliminating sugars and hydrogenated fats, coupled with proper vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can slash your risk of succumbing to this disease by up to 75 percent. But if you can’t do everything, at the very least, eat some breakfast.