Research seems to suggest that what you eat is not only important, but also When you eat. Eating late at night has been linked to higher obesity rates, even when all other factors are controlled.
Nina Vujović, a researcher in the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, helped lead one such study on the topic. “We found that eating four hours later made a significant difference to our hunger levels, how we burn calories after eating, and how we store fat,” she explained. Harvard Health Publications in 2022.
So what if you’re hungry at the end of a long day? Janine Bowring, ND, naturopathic doctor and content creator, recently shared on TikTok that there are only three foods you should eat in the evening that will not negatively impact your weight or health. In fact, they have some major benefits that you probably don’t want to miss. Read on to discover her favorite late-night snacks.
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Vujovic’s study found that eating later in the evening can have significant effects on hunger due to its impact on the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. Notably, his team learned that levels of the hormone leptin, which signals satiety after eating, decreased within 24 hours of late-night meals.
In her recent TikTok post, Bowring agrees that eating late in the day can “disrupt leptin signaling” and adds that “it can also impair thyroid hormone secretion.” She notes that this “can lead to weight gain and affect your sleep, because you can’t secrete your own melatonin if your blood sugar is too high.”
That’s why, in general, she says it’s best to avoid snacking after hours: “We know that eating late at night is not what I recommend.”
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If you TO DO plan to snack late at night, it is important to choose this snack carefully. Bowring recommends eating a small handful of nuts, especially almonds, macadamia nuts, or hazelnuts. These are “all great because they also give you a little protein and satiating fat so you’re not hungry before bed,” she explains.
According to the Mayo Clinic, incorporating nuts into a healthy diet can improve your heart health and overall health in several ways. “Research has shown that frequent nut consumption reduces levels of inflammation linked to heart disease and diabetes,” their experts explain.
Specifically, nuts may improve artery health, reduce inflammation linked to heart disease, reduce the risk of blood clots, reduce the risk of hypertension, and lower your “bad cholesterol” levels.
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Next, Bowring recommends eating seeds if you feel the need to snack before bed. These are similar to nuts in their nutritional profile: high in fiber, healthy fats, protein, vitamins and more.
The naturopathic doctor notes that tahini or sunflower seeds can be particularly beneficial, as they are “loaded with minerals and can help with sleep.”
Being mindful of portion sizes can help you enjoy these calorie- and nutrient-dense foods without exceeding a healthy daily calorie intake.
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Finally, Bowring says drinking “golden milk” in the evening can be beneficial before bed. It is usually a homemade blend of plant-based milk, turmeric and other spices.
“I love my golden milk, with turmeric, cinnamon, and my nut milk,” she says, noting that she usually uses almond milk for her own recipe.
“Warm it up and drink it just before bed. It’s fantastic for a good night’s sleep, it has the beauty benefits of the antioxidants in turmeric (which I also love) and it’s a powerful anti -inflammatory,” she says.
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