How many times have you skipped a meal because you were late for work? Ordered food from out because you did not want to cook? Eating late at night or grabbing a bite while traveling to work? This might seem like an everyday routine until we are bombarded with health issues. Acidity and constipation have become common illnesses just like a headache or cough. Did you know that 90% of Americans suffer from everyday digestion problems such as bloating, acid reflux, stomach pain, constipation, and heartburn, right after eating?
Most of us eat 3 meals a day – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. There are certain times of the day assigned to each meal that varies with your schedule. For example, some of you eat lunch at 1 pm or on another day at 4 pm because of an extended meeting at work. Sometimes lunch with friends also happens at an odd time. For those sleeping in late, tend to skip breakfast and those looking to lose weight skip dinner.
Does the Right Time to Eat – really matter?
According to Ayurveda, eating at the right time helps you get the maximum health benefits from your diet. This is necessary for an overall body performance, brain activity, and a balanced mood to help you be more productive at work and in social surroundings.
So as per Ayurveda eating time, the correct time to eat is when you are hungry. This does not mean that you eat all the time without thinking. One should eat when the body gives you signals of being hungry. Binge eating, late-night snacking or emotional eating does not count.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore
Ayurveda Meal Timings
According to Ayurveda, the day is divided into day parts of 4-hours each. Each Dosha influences each day part. Each of these day parts is connected to the slow-moving, climax point and falling of a particular Dosha in our body.
The 3 Doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are energies that govern our body and mind physically and mentally.
How is this related to eating?
Well, these Doshas are in play at different times of the day. They govern what time is right for you to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like the old saying goes “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”.
Read ahead to know which is the most important meal of the day and what is the right to eat your 3 meals.
“Breakfast is a spiritual meal. Lunch is a joyful meal. Dinner is the gentle meal”
What is the right time to eat Breakfast?
As per Ayurveda eating time, breakfast should be consumed by 8 a.m. As per your routine, many of you skip breakfast or eat on your way to work or college. Ayurveda recommends not to skip breakfast as this interferes with your doshas. When your doshas are not in balance, it results in irritability and unsettled emotions. You should try to wake up before sunrise (traditionally 5:30 a.m. or 6 am according to your time zone). In the mornings your body is in a state of relaxation and ready to rumble for the day. Waking up early will instill high energy, mental clarity, and freshness throughout the day. It is ideal to start your day with yoga and meditation to ease any kind of negative feelings.
Over a period of time, it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I hate to burst your bubble but the answer is wrong. That does not mean you skip this meal. If you are in a hurry, try to eat a fruit or a glass of milk or juice to kickstart your day. Do not leave the house without eating something. According to Ayurveda, eating fruits in the morning is like gold. It is the best time of the day to get maximum nourishment.
As per Ayurveda, the rising sun is in rhythm with our body. Hence to stimulate your digestive juices it is best to have warm breakfast and tea before dumping it with pancakes and eggs. It is best to avoid a heavy breakfast as it may slow down your day.
What is the Right Time to eat Lunch?
The sun is highest in the sky during mid-day. Thus, Lunch is the most important meal of the day when Agni is strongest. Agni in Ayurveda is solely responsible for all digestive and metabolic processes in human beings. As per Ayurveda eating time, Lunch is ideally eaten between noon and 2 p.m. as the Pitta in our bodies is at its peak.
Eat a satisfying yet healthy lunch but not too heavy. Because Agni uses all your energy to digest the food which will leave you feeling sleepy and tired. Opt for a salad or sandwich or whole-wheat pasta. My advice to you is to get home-cooked food as it is healthier and tastier.
Eating later than 2 p.m. will disrupt the digestive process of your meal causing gastric problems such as acid reflux in particular. There have been many cases of eating outside the time frame causing severe gastric disorders. Researchers in Norway studied a group of 30,000 Norwegians from 1995 until 2009, tracking their responses to a national health survey. They found 31% of people reporting symptoms of acid reflux at least once a week that increased up to 40% by the end of the research. There was an increase in reporting severe acid reflux by 24 % from 5 % in 1995 to nearly 7 % in 2000.
I have been a victim of severe acid reflux not understanding why this was happening. For the longest time, I thought I was allergic to gluten. So, I worked my diet around it. However, this brought no relief and could not diagnose the cause. Thus, reading articles on mindful eating, I came across an article on right Ayurveda eating time. This was an eye-opener. I was eating my meals at the wrong time, skipping a few and keeping a huge time gap between my meals. This disrupted my digestion and immunity. Fixing my eating time cured the symptoms of acid reflux completely.
What is the Right Time to eat Dinner?
Finally, around 3 p.m., your body will feel tired after a day’s work. The sun starts to set and so does the Agni. As per Ayurveda eating time, dinner should be light and consumed between 6 p.m and 8 p.m.
The mistake we most of us choose to make is to keep our dinner meals on the heavier side. Either we have not eaten well during the day or have a social gathering to attend. These situations disrupt Ayurveda eating time. It is not great for our digestive process as it leads to the building up of toxins in the body. Keep your menu simple like a soup or grilled fish or vegetables or a simple salad.
Avoid eating after 10 p.m because your body is busy digesting your food and burning off all the toxins in your body from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is in the process of repairing and renewing your body. Any meal later than 10 p.m. like binge eating in front of the television or eating after a late-night party will interfere with your sleep. Eating late will accumulate all the toxins in the body leaving you groggy and tired the next day.
Not able to wake up fresh and clear every morning? Then, you need to analyze the quantity of food you are eating and the right time to eat dinner.
Why is it important to eat on time?
Setting the right time to eat and sleep benefits the body and allows it to function in its rhythmic flow. For example, if you have chalked out your meal timings and stick to it every day, then the body automatically gets used to it and works on the necessary processes accordingly. Your body will let out hunger signals at the same time every day. The body tends to set specific times for specific functions of the body. For example, you will have a fixed time every single day to empty your bowels.
Nonetheless, when you’re eating time goes off track, your body gets confused and messes up the processes associated with eating. This leads to health disorders such as constipation, acidity, and indigestion.
“First we eat, then we do everything else.” – M.F.K. Fisher
Ayurveda eating principles suggest that eating the right kind of food at a regular fixed time every day can ward off diseases keeping your metabolism active. If you follow the right Ayurveda eating time with the right quantity of food, you can avoid weight gain, as the food converts into energy and not fat. Incorporating Ayurvedic superfoods into your diet according to your dosha can change your immunity health for the better. For example, have a glass of turmeric milk before going to bed. This will fight infections in your body and help you sleep better.
“Every time you Eat or Drink, you are either Feeding Disease or Fighting it.” – Heather Morgan
Ayurveda is literally translated as “the Science of Life” or “Life Knowledge”. It emphasizes the importance of rhythm and awareness of food that keeps the Agni or digestive fire burning.
Eating meals as per the Ayurveda eating time each day (preferably 8 a.m., 12 noon, and 6 p.m.) can lead to a big pay-off. It might seem difficult to abide by the Ayurvedic clock due to our busy schedules and lifestyles. But making even a little effort will bring positive changes to your physical and mental well-being.
Most of the health problems such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, gastric disorders are linked to the balance in your body. Thus, coordinating your eating time, sleep cycle and everyday activities to your dosha that will help restore inner balance and good health. Your eating habits should be according to your dosha body type.
Eat right and eat on time!
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