Patients with heart problems who fail to eat regularly are five times more likely to suffer another attack.
Research on people who had a serious STEMI heart condition showed 58% missed breakfast while 51% ate a late-night dinner with 41% doing both.
These irregular eaters were more likely to have new issues within 30 days of being discharged from hospital.
Study author Dr Marcos Minicucci, of Sao Paolo State University in Brazil, said: “One in 10 patients with STEMI dies within a year.
“But nutrition is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to improve prognosis.”
Late eating is having dinner less than two hours before bedtime three nights a week.
Skipping breakfast is having nothing before lunch, excluding beverages.
Dr Minicucci added: “A good breakfast is composed of dairy products – such as fat-free or low fat milk, yogurt, cheese, wheat bread, bagels or cereals, and fruit.
“This meal should have 15% to 35% of our total daily calorie intake.”
Scientists believe late eating may trigger inflammation within the blood system.
There are many myths surrounding the health of your heart . Read on to see if you’ve got your finger on the pulse…
Coronary heart disease is the country’s leading killer
FALSE Dementia’s overtaken coronary heart disease (CHD) as Britain’s biggest killer but cardiovascular disease (CVD), the umbrella term for heart and circulatory diseases, still causes an average of 435 deaths every day.
CHD is the most common type of cardiovascular disease
TRUE In the UK, around 2.3 million people are living with CHD (when coronary arteries narrow due to a fatty build-up).
It’s responsible for nearly 70,000 deaths each year and although 60% living with CHD are male, it kills more than twice as many women in Britain as breast cancer.
Most deaths from CHD are caused by a heart attack
TRUE Each year, around 200,000 hospital visits in Britain are due to heart attacks but statistics are improving.
Back in the 1960s, more than seven out of 10 heart attacks were fatal, now at least seven out of 10 people survive.
There’s no difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest
FALSE A heart attack happens when there’s a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of the heart muscle.
A cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. Although a heart attack can result in cardiac arrest, they are two different things.
You’d know if you were having a heart attack
FALSE Most people associate a heart attack with severe chest pain, “but there are lots of symptoms, such as pain that travels down your arms or to your jaw,” says Philippa Hobson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation .
“You may feel light-headed, breathless and sick. If you suspect a heart attack, ring 999. The longer the delay, the more the damage.”
You shouldn’t exercise after a heart attack
FALSE The heart’s a muscle that benefits from exercise so it’s important to start exercising as soon as you can, but pace yourself and take medical advice, advises Hobson.
“For most people, walking is fine to start with. Aim to do a total of 150 minutes a week at moderate intensity.”
Cold weather can be detrimental to heart health
TRUE British Heart Foundation-funded research has revealed during cold spells of three days or more, heart attacks and strokes are almost twice as likely.
“A drop in temperature causes arteries to constrict, which could raise blood pressure and pulse rate – putting additional strain on the heart,” says Hobson.
Visit bhf.org.uk for more information.