Do you eat at irregular times? Then the risk of developing anxiety, sleep disturbances but also obesity is higher. In fact, it is not only what we eat that supports or damages, based on the food and its quantity, our health, but also the time. So, be careful of skipping breakfast, moving lunchtime too far or having dinner at night, the consequences on physical and mental health may not be negligible. This emerges from a recent review published in the Nutrients journal by a Japanese team (Tahara et al, Nutrients, 2021).
The role of diet
A Western-style diet, rich in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, has been shown to have consequences on body weight, increasing the risk of obesity, but also of depression and anxiety. Conversely, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and antioxidants instead supports mental health, fights inflammation and improves cognitive function. But it's not just what you eat that makes a difference. In fact, it is also important to ensure the regularity of meals and the times at which you eat.
Skipping breakfast has been shown to increase stress, depression and fatigue levels. Not only that, this habit can change the sleep-wake rhythm and may promote obesity. Skipping breakfast has also led, according to scientific studies, to an increased risk of hyperlipidemia.
Eating too late in the evening
Eating late in the evening or at night is linked to an increased risk of depression and a worsening of sleep quality.
Even having lunch after 3pm has been shown to influence the health. In this case, higher postprandial blood glucose levels and a greater likelihood of developing obesity were observed. Not only that, changing the caloric intake of meals consumed on working days and holidays was associated with a higher body mass index.
In short, our body and mind like regularity. Eating at regular times, without skipping meals or moving them too far, and trying to keep a calorie intake as regular as possible is good for the brain, its functionality, fights anxiety, improves sleep and protects heart health and in general that of the whole organism.