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The time we eat can affect our mental health

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The deepening of research regarding the relationship between food and the body’s circadian rhythm (the 24-hour cycle of biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes belonging to humans, animals and plants – no) shows how chaotic eating, including during the body’s resting phase, at night, it can affect our mood or exacerbate the symptoms of mood disorders.

According to researchers Elisa Brietzke, professor of psychiatry at Queen’s University School of Medicine in Kingston, Ontario, and Elena Koning, PhD student at Queen’s University Center for Neuroscience Studies, whose conclusions are also based on previous studies, meals taken at different times each day contributes to weight gain and triggering depressive episodes.

“Our bodies have a circadian rhythm to ensure that all bodily functions and processes occur at the optimal time. At the same time, this circadian rhythm alerts us when contradictory processes, such as sleeping and eating, take place simultaneously. It is influenced by external factors, such as sunlight, but also by our eating habits. Eating at night, when our body “clock” tells us to sleep, leads to circadian desynchronization and a disruption in the level of energy needed by the brain, which influences mood”, said Elena Koning for The Wall Street Journal.

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12 hours food break

“Irregular meals from day to day or those that occur at the incorrect phase disrupt the rhythm, which has a negative impact on mood. A meal taken during the day has a different impact than a meal taken at night. Food is like an alarm clock for the human body and affects the quality of sleep, if we eat right before going to bed. Levels of melatonin (sleep hormone – no) begin to increase three hours before bedtime, and the metabolic process following food consumption is negatively influenced when the level of melatonin increases. Basically, the body needs at least 12 hours of intermittent fasting (food break) at night. However, most people only have a nine-hour meal break”, she added.

Professor Brietzke said that the anti-depressant effects of intermittent fasting had been shown in previous clinical trials and that this is probably why it is popular in many religions: “We think that intermittent fasting might help with depression, but we have to tell them people to consult a doctor first. In our bipolar patients, disordered eating is an early sign of relapse. When some people start feeling depressed, they may start eating only once a day. We can monitor this and implement strategies to prevent depression. However, these are changes from their norm rather than an irregular eating pattern. The way a mood disorder manifests itself is different from person to person,” she added.

“There’s no one way to eat regularly, but once we get a schedule that works for us, we have to stick to it, even on the weekends. Also, we must have a fixed schedule for sleep: to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Even exercising or taking a shower at the same time of the day can help,” added Dr. Elisa Brietzke.

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