Eating to a Beat: Nutrition for a Healthy Circadian Rhythm
My first contribution to Vibrant Wellness Journal appeared almost exactly a year ago, which, almost ironically, serves as the perfect introduction to what we are going to be discussing today.
In Living to a Beat: Minding the Natural Rhythms of Life, we learned a little about circadian rhythms and how certain eating habits can alter its ability to cue metabolic activities that help the body efficiently and effectively convert food to energy. For example, eating in the absence of hunger, maintaining a restricted eating schedule, or observing variable eating patterns can shift our circadian rhythm to promote fat accumulation, insulin resistance and impair waste elimination.
To help the body maintain a positive rhythm, we discussed healthy habits to help the body reestablish a healthy beat to better meet our biological needs. This includes scheduling consistent meal times, prioritizing sleep, and exercising daily.
In addition to implementing these healthy lifestyle habits, recent research out of the University of California – Irvine has found that certain foods can also influence circadian rhythm and may promote metabolic disorders. According to Paolo Sassone-Corsi, the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Chemistry and one of the world’s leading researchers on the genetics of circadian rhythms, a high-fat diet affects the molecular mechanism controlling circadian rhythm, which regulates metabolic function in the liver and may contribute to metabolic distress ailments, such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Also, Sassone-Corsi notes that circadian disturbance, as it pertains to the maintenance of a high-fat diet, takes place independent of the state of obesity and that it is solely dependent upon caloric intake.
I interpret this to mean that dietary diversity and moderation, in addition to healthy eating habits like consistent meal times, getting enough sleep, and exercising daily, are essential in maintaining a circadian rhythm that promotes metabolic function and health. Incorporating more healthy fruits and vegetables may be the easiest and quickest way to obtain a healthy circadian rhythm. At the same time, greatly reducing or completely eliminating highly processed and refined foods will only enhance your efforts.
Eating and living to improve biological synchronicity with the natural rhythm of life is a great to take your health and wellbeing to the next level.
Alarm clock image from Shutterstock