There’s a Chinese saying: “Have a full breakfast, a good lunch, and a small dinner.” In the West, we know this wisdom as “Breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper.”
Nowadays, along with the chaos of work and life, everyone’s eating patterns are all over the map, or people graze all day. Bites of breakfast, a little lunch, and a big dinner after leaving work or at the end of a busy day. It is precisely this reversed dining habit that creates a very high health risk.
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1. Eat early
Eating dinner at the proper time will effectively reduce the incidence of cancer. A study by the Institute of Global Health at the University of Barcelona in Spain indicated that the shorter the interval between dining and sleep, the higher the risk of cancer.
According to the study, eating before 9 pm can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women by an average of 18 percent. If dinner and bedtime can be separated by more than two hours, the incidence of the above two types of cancer can be reduced by an average of 20 percent.
If we eat late at night, excess free radicals enter the mitochondria due to a slow digestive process, which can increase inflammation in the body. And because of changes in blood sugar levels, the risk of cancer increases.
Eating dinner too late also increases the risk of gastritis and stomach cancer. According to a study by the University of Tokyo, Japan, eating too late will increase the incidence of various stomach diseases and may even induce gastric cancer.
You should eat dinner approximately four to five hours after eating lunch. If that falls in the 5 to 6 pm window, you hit the last hour of your body’s high metabolic rate before it starts to slow.
2. Do not overeat
Many people eat until they are full. Unfortunately, overeating can quickly increase the burden on the stomach and increase the risk of gastrointestinal diseases.
So, can you avoid these risks by skipping dinner? Big mistake!
Skipping this meal could lead to nutritional deficiency in your body since you need micronutrients like magnesium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D3 for daily functioning. And if you continue this practice for long, you put yourself at the risk of becoming malnourished or developing nutritional deficiencies.
Also, a lack of nutrients causes insufficient sleep and sleeping disorders. Specifically, a lack of vitamin D3 is associated with a higher risk of sleep disorders.
So don’t skip dinner, eat at the proper time, have a balanced meal, eat only until you feel slightly full, and have reasonable nutrition. This is a healthy dinner.
3. Avoid red meat and saturated fats
Eating red meat and foods with high saturated fats is a considerable risk. Instead, people should eat light dishes and dark-colored vegetables to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
According to a research team from the School of Public Health of Harbin Medical University, people who ate too little or did not eat whole grains had a 63 percent higher risk of angina pectoris or chest pain or discomfort and a 47 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease.
On the other hand, a light plant-based dinner reduces the risk of heart disease and certain cancers by about 10 percent.
Consider these five healthy dinner recommendations
1. Dinner should be light, with more vegetables, and less meat
2. Eat until you feel slightly full
3. Pay attention to nutritional values and not just empty calories
4. Don’t have dinner too late — it is important to wait four to five hours after eating lunch
5. Having fewer social dinners will help you control your food intake