It’s 2 am in the mid night and you are awake watching your favourite web series. Gazing at the episodes you feel like hopping on to some chips with cream or some chocolates. Even if you are not hungry, your cravings for these food items seems more powerful. If this routine is continued for long you start feeling uneasy, discomfort, bloated and acidic. You take these symptoms lightly initially but little do you realise that these late-night munching can rewire your body’s rhythms. Yes, the rhythms concept of which is prevalent from thousand years. Just as the process of food chains, food cycle and season cycle exist, similarly your body experiences different kind of alertness and sleepiness throughout the day which is balanced by the body’s existing natural cycle known as three eight- hour cycle.
This cycle consists of 3 processes:
Appropriation cycle (Digestion of food) – 12pm to 8 pm
Assimilation cycle (absorption and use) – 8 pm to 4 am
Elimination cycle (excretion of waste) – 4 am to 12 pm
- Appropriation cycle – This cycle begins around noon and continues till late evening. This is the where intake and digestion of food takes place. The body at this time efficiently handles digestion and dealing with food. Prior to this stage the body is in elimination phase. The appropriation cycle is the phase where you have most of your meals such as lunch and dinner. Your metabolism is at its peak during this time.
What to eat during Appropriation – One should eat less and frequent meals to be high on energy. Complex carbs such as whole grains and legumes, protein rich foods and fruits and vegetables should be consumed during this phase.
- Assimilation cycle – During this time your body begins to unwind, relax and start preparing for sleep. It occurs during night when your body is at rest. At this stage your metabolism drops and intestine competes for extraction of all the nutrients from food that you have eaten from the days diet. At this time your body replaces and repairs damaged cells and allows the blood to collect the waste material so that it can be excreted in the early morning.
What to eat during Assimilation- You should avoid consuming heavy meals at this time and should count on food items such as healthy carbs, light protein, milk, nuts and fruits. One should keep a difference of two to three hours between your last meal and going to sleep.
- Elimination cycle – This cycle begins around 4 am and kicks in by removing all the garbage from our system. In the previous cycle i.e. assimilation, the body has separated out the useful nutrients from the waste and has rejected the food which can not be absorbed for further use. Therefore, elimination removes the waste matter generated by the body. Amongst these three cycles, elimination cycle is most abused. This happens because of the consumption of unhealthy or processed food items. Long term consumption of these food items prevents elimination process leading to building of toxins and waste in the intestine. You must also include a healthy breakfast during the elimination cycle.
What to eat during Elimination- You should include foods which require minimal digestion as intake of heavy foods might halt the process of cleaning. Opt for foods such as soups, fruits, vegetable juices and smoothies
These three cycles play an important role for the normal functioning of our body. However, there are following factors that alters these rhythms or cycles:
- Waking up at different time every morning
- Jet lag
- Exposure to artificial lights
- Screen sleeping
- Stress, anxiety and depression
Hence there is a need to minimize the exposure to these factors so that these cycles are regulated in a balanced way.
Over to you:
An understanding of these three stages is imperative for maintaining optimal health and well-being.