You know that regretful feeling you get when you are in a ‘food coma’ after a big dinner? Perhaps there is a reason why most traditional cultures always had a lighter supper!
Here are a couple of reasons why its more ideal to digest before bed:
- As your body digests your meal, your food is mixed with gastric acid to help break it down. Your stomach is built to cope with the acid, but your esophagus (the tube that transports your food from your throat to your stomach) is not. If you lie down after eating a large meal, this partly digested acidic material can re-enter the esophagus which can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.
- Your digestive system slows down when you are sleeping. This can cause you to feel bloated, uncomfortable, or even full the next morning.
If you simply can’t eat any earlier, then eating lighter foods that are quicker and easier to digest is the way to go. In general, high-fat foods (eg. fried food and ice-cream) and high-protein foods (eg. red meat), all take longer to digest. Soup, simple stir-fry, or some fruit are great alternatives.