We’ve all heard about the importance of eating 3 meals a day, as well as a few healthy snacks. Research is showing, though, that simply eating on a regular schedule is not enough to maintain good health.
While eating regularly is good, scientists are discovering that eating on a schedule that coincides with our body’s natural circadian rhythms is a whole lot better.
In fact, eating according to your body’s natural rhythms can give you renewed health and vitality.
What are the benefits of eating according to our circadian rhythms?
Our circadian rhythms are controlled by our hypothalamus and repeat themselves every 24 hours. These rhythms play an important part in triggering and regulating all the physical, mental, emotional and behavioral changes that we experience throughout a day and night.
Eating healthy meals and snacks that follow our body’s natural rhythms can give us a variety of benefits, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- More stable blood sugar
- Fewer cravings
- Healthier metabolism
- Improved digestion
- Easier weight loss
All of this translates into a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and digestive problems, as well as increased quality of life and overall health.
Why is it important to sync our eating with our circadian rhythms?
Our circadian rhythms can be divided into nighttime rhythms and daytime rhythms.
Nighttime circadian rhythms focus on giving our bodies rest and renewal, while our daytime circadian rhythms take care of pretty much everything else, including digestion, nutrient absorption and metabolism.
Our daytime rhythms regulate these processes by influencing the production of:
- Insulin – This hormone regulates the level of sugar or glucose in our bloodstream and plays a big part in metabolism.
- Digestive enzymes – These enzymes are produced in our saliva glands, the pancreas, stomach and small intestines and they are responsible for breaking down proteins, starches, carbohydrates, oils and fats into compounds that our bodies can use.
- Ghrelin – A hormone that senses when our body is needing nutrition and triggers appetite.
- Leptin – A hormone that tells our brain that we have eaten enough and are satisfied.
- Cortisol – We often think of cortisol as being a stress hormone and it is linked to stress, but under normal circumstances, it also plays a part in metabolism, water and salt balance and blood pressure.
Since these hormones and enzymes are regulated by our daytime circadian rhythms, they all reach their highest levels in the early part of the day and then gradually decrease as evening approaches and nighttime rhythms set in.
This means that we can optimize our digestion, nutrient absorption and metabolism by eating during the day, especially the first part of the day when our insulin and digestive enzymes are at their peak.
What does a circadian rhythm meal schedule look like?
A meal schedule that is built around natural circadian rhythms will usually have a nutrient-dense breakfast and lunch, a lighter dinner early in the evening and two or three healthy snacks between these meals.
Keep in mind, though, that each one of us is unique. We have individual nutritional requirements, different rates of metabolism and even significant differences in our circadian rhythms.
One great way to set up a circadian rhythm meal schedule that will meet your individual needs and give you the most benefits is to do a 28 Day Cleanse.
During this cleanse, we teach you the best times of the day to eat, show you how to build a plate of nutrients that will truly satisfy your appetite, and help you get on a consistent eating and lifestyle pattern.
We currently have online classes available. You can learn more and sign up for them here