Nowadays the average person in the US consumes about 20% more calories than their ancestors did in the last century, according to research. And although people are getting more conscious about their diet, it’s not always easy to get all the healthy eating rules right. For example, eating apples at the wrong time can actually cause bowel problems instead of improving your digestion. Luckily, it’s not rocket science and the basic rules are pretty easy to follow.
Bright Side is ready to debunk some myths concerning healthy eating habits and share some advice on how to choose the right time to eat your favorite foods in order to get the maximum benefit.
Although bananas may seem like a good option to start your morning, if they’re consumed on an empty stomach, they can actually decrease your energy levels. At first, you will probably feel an energy boost thanks to their high sugar content, but after a couple of hours, you’re likely to feel tired and hungry again. Eating bananas may also pose a threat for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, causing diarrhea.
If you aren’t ready to give up having bananas for breakfast, combine them with some other foods, preferably with ones that contain healthy fats like peanut butter.
For many people, having a cup of coffee right after waking up feels like the most natural thing to do, but it’s actually pretty useless. Research has shown that drinking coffee before a meal improves our tolerance to caffeine. In the first hour after waking up, your body produces cortisol and it’s essential to not disrupt this process and our natural biological rhythms.
So just wait for a bit and enjoy your cup of coffee. But keep in mind that it’s better to stick to the recommended daily caffeine intake and don’t drink coffee closer to the evening, to prevent insomnia.
As much as we love having some sushi or Indian food after a long day of work, it may not be the best option. Rice contains a lot of complex carbohydrates that take a long time to digest. It’s a good thing, since it keeps us energetic for a long time. But it makes rice high in calories that can potentially cause weight gain if you eat it at night.
Lunchtime is the best time to incorporate rice into your diet. Your metabolism works fast during these hours and it’ll be easier for your body to digest this product. Plus, you’ll need an energy boost to have a productive day and complex carbohydrates can help with that!
It’s better to stay away from processed sugar if you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet, but sometimes it’s impossible not to fall into the temptation. The crucial mistake we make is when we eat sweets as a snack. This way your blood sugar levels go up, causing sugar spikes and crashes, leaving you tired and nervous.
If you can’t resist the temptation, treat yourself with some dessert right after the main meal. This way your blood sugar levels won’t rise so dramatically.
Some people have gotten used to starting their day with a glass of milk since childhood, but this habit doesn’t work well for adults. Milk is difficult to digest, so drinking it in the morning and combining it with other foods can cause heartburn and stomach aches.
The evening is the best time to have a glass of warm milk. It helps calm down the body and promotes a good night’s sleep.
Meat is a great source of protein and B vitamins, but it may put an excessive load on the digestive system. That’s why it’s better to avoid eating steak right before going to bed. Choosing lean meat and eating at least 3 hours before bed is actually a good option since it provides satiety and doesn’t contain an excessive amount of calories that could cause weight gain.
You can eat meat throughout the day to get enough protein. But be careful with eating it in the morning, since having a heavy meal like this may be too difficult for your body to digest.
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and calories, but having them as a nighttime snack isn’t the best option. It’s actually healthy to eat some, but if you have too much, they can take a long time to digest causing problems with falling asleep.
Choose nuts for breakfast or as a healthy snack between your meals to get all the benefits: to promote heart health, normalize cholesterol levels, and to contribute to weight loss and the beauty of your skin and hair.
8. High-fat cheese
Having toast with cheese before bed can be tempting, but it’s better to stay away from this product. High-fat cheese can be difficult to digest which means it can cause discomfort and disrupt your sleep if you eat it in the evening close to bedtime.
On the other hand, having some cheese for breakfast provides your body with much-needed calcium that promotes muscle growth and bone health.
9. Citrus fruits
Staring your day with a freshly squeezed glass of citrus juice may seem healthy, but it’s not. Citrus fruits are very acidic and having them with or right after the main meal increases acid formation that may cause some unpleasant digestive problems like heartburn, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and a slowdown in the absorption of nutrients. Just wait for a little while after your meal to enjoy your fruit juice.
Beans are high in fiber, so eating them at night can cause bloating and decrease the quality of sleep among some people. It’s better to be careful with this product. Beans are the perfect food for lunch or an early dinner: this way all the useful ingredients will get digested, but you’re less likely to feel bloated and too full.
Apples are high in fiber and contain natural acids that improve digestion and colon function. But if you eat apples in the evening, the acid from them can build up in the stomach causing some discomfort. Eating apples at night can also lead to excessive gas formation and problems with bowel movements. It happens because digestion slows down at night and it takes much longer for any food to digest.
The best time for eating apples is in the morning. This way you can stimulate a bowel movement after a long sleep. It’ll be especially beneficial if you had a late dinner or ate too much unhealthy food.
It’s better to avoid eating yogurt on an empty stomach or before any meal. Yogurt contains lactic acid that may decrease the acidity of the stomach. It’ll slow down digestion while you’re having your main meal.
Have a yogurt about 1-2 hours after the main meal to get all the benefits of the lactic acid for your digestion. Having a small portion of yogurt before going to bed seems like a good option since it’ll fill your body with protein, contributing to muscle development.
Which of these rules do you find the hardest to follow? Do you have your own methods for how stick to healthy eating habits? Share your experience with us!
Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for Bright Side