Gut issues are prevalent in many who work 24/7 due to a myriad of reasons including dehydration, insufficient dietary fibre and especially … mistimed eating.
Mistimed eating is when we eat out of sync to our natural sleep/wake cycle.
If causes gut issues because the stomach, along with all of the ancillary organs involved in digestion such as the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, small and large intestine, do not break down and process foods at night in the same capacity as they do during daylight hours.
And when do most shift workers eat?
All over the place!
Anywhere from 8am, 3pm, 10pm, 2am, 4am … whenever they have a designated break or find the time to squeeze one in if they’re super busy and under the pump.
No doubt you can relate :-).
Have you been told health practitioners to “flip your meals” when working the night shift?
As in have a big meal around midnight?
I remember having to bite my tongue when one of my lecturers at University recommended to do this because instinctively I knew this was not the right thing to do.
And that’s waaaaaaaayyyyyy before I spent years diving down the rabbit hole learning all about chronobiology and circadian nutrition.
Why is it an issue?
Well, when we do this, it confuses the clocks in our gut, liver and kidneys that its daytime.
This can lead to gut pain, bloating, constipation, nausea, acid reflux and a whole host of other fun things that we’d much rather avoid!
It’s no wonder so many shift workers are prone to gut and digestive complaints, that actually have nothing to do with allergies or food intolerances.We need to get back to the basics.
Eat your main meal no later than 9pm (preferably earlier if you can), as this will help to minimise further disruption to your biological clock.
At the end of the day, just because we’re awake on shift during the night, doesn’t mean we’re supposed to eat.
P.S: Want to learn more about this topic?
Check out my ‘21-Day Healthy Shift Worker Kickstart Program’ by CLICKING HERE.
It was brekky on the deck this morning to soak up the winter warming rays of sunshine, before heading off to my local organic farmers markets.
These little chia pots are great for breakfast (or anytime really), as chia seeds are loaded with fibre, protein, healthy omega-3 fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
They also contain high amounts of antioxidants plus certain micronutrients including zinc, potassium, vitamins B1, B2 and B3.
From a shift work nutrition perspective, what I absolutely love about these tiny little black seeds is they help to provide sustained energy which is super important when you’re faced with ongoing tiredness as a result of working 24/7.