The timing of our daily meals, especially breakfast and dinner, can affect our risk of heart attack and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, with 18.6 million annual deaths in 2019, of which around 7.9 million can be attributed to diet.
To study the impact of food intake patterns and cardiovascular disease risk, European researchers used data from 1,03,389 participants with an average age of 42, and 79 per cent women. During an average follow-up of 7.2 years, there were 2,036 cases of cardiovascular disease.
Those who skipped breakfast or ate their first meal later in the day had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, with a six per cent increase in risk per hour delay. For instance, a person who ate breakfast at 9am was six per cent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than someone who ate at 8am.
Eating dinner after 9pm was associated with a 28 per cent increase in the risk of cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke compared with eating before 8pm, especially in women. A longer duration of night-time fasting was also associated with a lower risk of cerebrovascular disease, suggesting that an early dinner is ideal.
The findings published in the journal Nature Communications suggest that adopting the habit of eating your breakfast before 8am and dinner before 9pm with a longer period of night-time fasting could help prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease.