Eating at night has been associated with so many discussions these days. Does eating at night make you weight gain? Let’s have a look at this. The main reason for weight gain is accumulating too many calories without physical exercise itself.
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Generally, it does not matter at what time you eat. What matters is how much you eat and how much physical activity you do.
So why do people eat at night?
Recently I was talking with one of my friends and he was saying that when he gets stressed while working night shifts he has something to eat. It seems funny that eating at night has little to do with hunger. Mostly people eat at night to satisfy cravings or cope with boredom. And often what they eat at night would be a bag of chips, or a scoop of ice cream, sitting in front of the television or computer.
Apart from the extra calories, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and may also cause sleeping problems.
Eating at night (and late) can cause acid reflux problems since it’s important to stay upright immediately after food. Lying down immediately after eating food can aggravate acidity and stomach problems.
Another finding is that late night food can cause heart problems and may contribute to a failure to reduce blood pressure. If you are feeling hungry at night, instead of trying to satisfy your sweet tooth with a cake, cookie or a slice of pizza, go for a banana. That is a healthier way of satisfying a craving.
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Now let’s look at the facts on eating at night, according to Ayurveda.
To understand the Ayurveda concepts on right eating, you should know the relationship between the time of day and dosha. What’s a dosha? It’s the guiding principles in Ayurveda that govern our physiology. Ayurveda describes three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and how their influence changes throughout the day.
The Kapha time of the day goes from 6am to 10am. In order to align with your day time Kapha cycle, wake up at sunrise or before. Sleeping more will create stiffness and leave you more tired and lethargic. Do some physical exercise in the morning – yoga, cycling or dance, anything will do. You can even practice sun salutations for 20 minutes. Do not overeat your breakfast. Have a healthy, nutritious breakfast.
The second cycle of the day is between 10am and 2pm. This time is governed by Pitta dosha. The metabolic fire during this time will be powerful enough to digest the largest and heaviest meal of the day.
Next is the Vata cycle, which starts at 2pm and ends at 6pm. This day time Vata cycle is a period to evaluate your day time activities and know oneself with meditation. After this, again the Kapha cycle starts from 6pm to 10pm and the metabolic fire will be low.
This is the reason one should take an early dinner at around 6pm to 7pm. Again from 10pm to 2am, the Pitta cycle starts. This is the time when the body actively detoxifies itself, preparing you for the next day. Though the digestive fire will be there at this time, eating a heavy meal will disturb the system and result in acidity and indigestion. Late meals and late nights disturb this cycle and compromise the body’s ability to detox efficiently.
2am to 6am is again the Vata cycle. After eating an early dinner and sleeping early, your body naturally wakes up at an early hour. Thus the internal clock will be well maintained and can result in a healthier happier you.
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There’s a connection between the body’s natural biorhythm and weight gain. Research that helped discover the clocks running in every cell in our bodies earned three scientists a Nobel Prize in October of 2016. Ayurveda has been highlighting the same for centuries.
For example, if a person is not getting adequate rest at night, the Vata in his body tends to increase, resulting in tiredness. The body then craves for Kapha foods to reestablish balance. This will increase their weight and can cause several health problems.
There’s nothing wrong with eating a light, healthy snack after dinner as long as you plan for it as part of your daily calories. To keep from overeating, pay attention to your food while eating. Avoid eating in front of the TV, and choose portion-controlled snacks.
Try following a proper diet and regimen according to your body constitution and thereby maintain a healthy body and mind.
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