May Enhance Heart Health By Improving Blood Pressure Triglycerides And Cholesterol Levels
Heart disease is considered the leading cause of death around the world, accounting for an estimated 31.5% of deaths globally .
Switching up your diet and lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Some research has found that incorporating fasting into your routine may be especially beneficial when it comes to heart health.
Another study in 110 obese adults showed that fasting for three weeks under medical supervision significantly decreased blood pressure, as well as levels of blood triglycerides, total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol .
In addition, one study in 4,629 people associated fasting with a lower risk of coronary artery disease, as well as a significantly lower risk of diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease (
However, more studies are needed to evaluate the effects of fasting on brain function in humans.
Summary Animal studies show that fasting could improve brain function, increase nerve cell synthesis and protect against neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons.
Youll Save Money On Food
Being able to skip breakfast, for example, will not only save you calories but itll also help curb your appetite all day long.
This means that when you do eat your main meals in the evening time, theres a good chance they wont include as much food as if you were eating more often throughout the day.
If this is something that appeals to you and helps keep things under control , then intermittent fasting could be worth considering!
Its been seen with people who have tried IF before that their total caloric intake has gone down from what they had previously eaten on average per daymeaning they had no need for snacks or anything else between meals.
Benefit #: Intermittent Fasting Might Improve Heart Health
IF may protect the heart in several different ways.
C-reactive protein may decline.
The serum level of C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation and risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Some research shows that CRP goes down when people fast.7,8
Cholesterol and lipid profiles may improve.
Generally, IF seems to improve our cholesterol and lipid profile by:
- Lowering total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides.
- Increasing high-density lipoprotein .
The effect, however, seems to be tied to body weight. In people who are already healthy or lean, IF seems to offer little benefit.
Heart rate and blood pressure may decrease.
IF seems to lower resting heart rate and improve heart rate variability , a marker of stress. It also may lower blood pressure, possibly by activating the release of brain chemicals that turn on the calming parasympathetic rest and digest branch of our nervous system.9
You May Like: How To Do Fasting To Lose Weight
Why You Should Care About Intermittent Fasting
What Is Intermittent Fasting ?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.
It doesnt specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.
In this respect, its not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern.
Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers didnt have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round. Sometimes they couldnt find anything to eat.
As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.
In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 34 meals per day.
Fasting is also often done for religious or spiritual reasons, including in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism
There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.
Fasting For 16 Hours Is Enough
Be it alkaline, juice or therapeutic fasting it is important to avoid solid food for a certain period of time. The most common is the therapeutic fasting , in which one does not eat anything for at least one to two weeks. This works best under medical supervision in a fasting clinic.
But even shorter periods of abstinence have a positive effect on health. Intermittent fasting or intermittent fasting according to the 16: 8 method can easily be implemented at home. Here you eat nothing for 16 hours and eat two to three regular meals during the remaining eight hours, preferably three to four hours apart.
Example: dinner at 6:00 p.m., breakfast at 10:00 a.m. Then the metabolism is already in the cleansing mode.
You can start immediately and continue doing this every day, says Riedl. You can feel the first effects quickly when your mood rises after a few days and you feel fitter.
Don’t Miss: Is Fasting Required For Thyroid Test
Intermittent Fasting & Exercising
When you practice intermittent fasting correctly, it enables your body to exercise while fasting. This is because it will learn to tap into stored energy. How so? Food is the fuel needed to energize the body. A nutritious diet aids stamina and helps perform optimally.
It is possible and safe to perform exercise on an empty stomach as long as you have prepared your body for a fasted workout. Several people are already indirectly fasting, especially those who often skip breakfast. Nevertheless, this doesnt necessarily mean their body can handle intense workouts on an empty stomach.
If you want to exercise with fasting, its important to learn the most suitable plan for yourself. For instance, engaging in high-intensity cardio or weight routine demands higher energy sources. In this case, its advisable to save your workout till the end of your eating period. At this period, the blood sugar level will be high, and the muscles can absorb sugar from the blood for energy. In such a state, feel free to take a simple snack such as a handful of nuts or apples, especially if your body feels hungry.
Intermittent Fasting And Exercise: A Conclusion
Finally, you are encouraged to do whats right for your health. Keep in mind that there is no quick fix for eating healthily and living a healthy lifestyle. Instead, you need to make small and impactful changes to achieve your goals. Physical activities and healthy food will help nourish your body and mind. To integrate both with intermittent fasting, you need to be intentional about the effort. Also, ensure you seek the necessary guidance.
Its also noteworthy to be gentle with yourself. Keep an open mind about reassessing your routine, especially alongside a dietician or health coach. This helps determine a fasting schedule that would fit you and your bodys needs in the short and long term. If you notice dizziness, weakness, or obsession with food, there is a good chance that you are not making the best decision for your body.
Also Check: What Can I Drink During Fasting
Fasting And Gut Health
Our gut bacteria seem to like short periods of fasting. Most of the research is animal-based, but some recent human trials show fasting can decrease the bacteria associated with inflammation and increase bacterial diversity two important features when improving gut health.
Time-restricted feeding has a lot do with changes to gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are affected by day-night body patterns or circadian rhythms.
If your body has periods without food overnight, this can help re-establish disrupted circadian rhythms and improve gut health.
Having a decent overnight fast may therefore be a great way to start giving your gut bacteria a helping hand. A 10 to 12-hour overnight period, say 7pm to 7am, where no food is consumed is actually a traditional way of eating. After all, thats the meaning behind the word breakfast: to break the fast.
Can I Exercise During Fasting
However, for long-duration aerobic exercise, eating before exercise may increase performance.39 Its also important to drink fluids and replenish sodium around exercise when fasting. This is good to know if youre competing. Learn more
Recommended Reading: What Is Allowed On Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting Plans That You Can Propose:
If you are starting intermittent fasting for the first time, its advisable to stay away from 5:2 and OMAD fasting methods as they are more suitable for experienced individuals concerning fasting. Instead, consider starting overnighting fasting plan, which is most likely to be similar to your existing meal time.
What The Science Says
Over the last 15 years, fasting research has mainly focused on what happens when food is restricted for a few hours or days a week intermittent fasting rather than sustained periods of prolonged fasting.
While the scientific evidence is still in its infancy, intermittent fasting has been associated with a range of health benefits, including promoting weight loss, reducing inflammation, improving diabetes management and extending your life.
Also Check: What Is The Best Fasting Way To Lose Weight
Fasting Reduces Inflammation In Your Body Which Is Known As A Root Cause Of Many Diseases
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a root cause of many diseases.
This may sound like an oxymoron since you are not eating anything for periods at a time, but its true!
Studies show that intermittent fasting can actually be beneficial when trying to fight disease because your immune system works better and stronger while it heals any damaged cells from being deprived of food all those hours.
Cell repair also promotes longevity and reduces the chances of cancer some cancers start as a result of damaged DNA.
Your brainproduces more ketones during this period, making sure theres no interruption with anything necessary for survival: production of hormones, digestion, or even waste removal.
Do We All Experience The Same Benefits
No regime will be right for everyone all the time, says Collins. So much depends on what you eat, and to some extent when you eat it, he adds. It also depends on whether youre going to follow eating with activity or inactivity, and whether youve accumulated lots of calories throughout the day. Every persons body reacts differently to eating and fasting.
Another contributing factor is your circadian rhythm natural cycles of sleep and activity. Many digestive, metabolic and cellular processes follow a daily rhythm based on cycles of light and dark, just like your sleep patterns. Nutrition scientists are now investigating whether eating out of kilter with our circadian rhythm having a large meal at night when your body is signalling for you to sleep is not optimal for health.
Other Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Weight loss is one of the most recognizable benefits of intermittent fasting, but its just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to promoting wellbeing. Intermittent fasting can help decrease harmful inflammation, enhance brain function and prevent type 2 diabetes. And researchers are still studying the long-term effects of IF and how it impacts the human body.
The metabolic switch triggered by IF is the key to countless healthy effects on our body. Introducing a transition from glucose to ketones as an energy source leads us to preventing metabolic syndrome, a group of detrimental health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome exposes us to a much greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, so fasting can be a major way to lower the possibility of all sorts of chronic illnesses.
Image by Gregory Pappas via Unsplash
It can also help us sleep better with the 16:8 method, researchers found that fasters woke up feeling more refreshed because they shifted their usual circadian rhythm and ate earlier.
And most importantly, intermittent fasting can lengthen our lives. Longevity was the inspiration for the hit documentary that kickstarted the modern IF movement and researchers are working to further understand what role fasting plays.
/ Intermittent Fasting Might Be Good For Your Heart
Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death worldwide. Various health markers have been linked to an increased or decreased risk of heart disease. Intermittent fasting has been proven to improve blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory indicators, and blood sugar levels, among other risk factors.
Studies show that it can lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory indicators, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
You May Like: What Can I Eat During Fasting In Intermittent Fasting
History Of Diabetes And Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been around for some time, particularly if you consider the historical role of fasting as part of many types of spiritual rituals. More recently, intermittent fasting has been used as part of a healthy diet for weight loss, as part of “detoxifying” the body, and more. But there has been much controversy surrounding the topic of fasting for those with diabetes.
Today, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that specific types of intermittent fasting diets may be beneficial for people with diabetes. In addition, scientists are beginning to speculate that when a person fasts may be just as important as the diet itself.
Boost In Testosterone And Human Growth Hormone
It is now known that insulin inhibits the production of testosterone and human growth hormone when it is released. Not only this, but healthy natural fats are essential for hormonal balance and testosterone production in both men and women. For this reason, when one undergoes prolonged fasting and the body is functioning primarily on fats, testosterone levels are significantly increased. In fact, every time we eat, for 3-5 hours afterwards out testosterone levels are significantly reduced.
The European Journal of Endocrinology released a study that proved the effectiveness of fasting in boosting testosterone and HGH levels. The research found that fasting increased the levels of Luteinizing Hormone in the brain which signals to the sex organs to produce more testosterone. The study also found that Lutenizing Hormone increased by 20% in obese individuals and a massive 67% in non-obese individuals when fasting. This is a significant increase which can have many positive effects on your life.
The most common benefits of elevated testosterone levels are
- Increased muscle mass
And Many more
Read Also: What Can I Drink On Intermittent Fasting
Recommended Foods And Tips
While the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan does not specify which foods to eat and avoid, it is beneficial to focus on healthful eating and to limit or avoid junk foods. The consumption of too much unhealthful food may cause weight gain and contribute to disease.
A balanced diet focuses primarily on:
- fruits and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned
- whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
- lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low fat cottage cheese, and eggs
- healthful fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help keep a person feeling full and satisfied. Healthful fats and proteins can also contribute to satiety.
Beverages can play a role in satiety for those following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help reduce calorie intake because people often mistake thirst for hunger.
The 16:8 diet plan permits the consumption of calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea and coffee during the 16-hour fasting window. It is important to consume fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
History Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is assumed to be a new dieting technique. Although its health benefits have only recently been discovered, fasting has been around for centuries. Fasting dates back to as early as to the Middle Ages.
Throughout its early years, it was solely used for religious practice. Then, throughout war times and pandemics it was used to help with rationing and plagues. It was used to help people limit food and ensure supplies did not run out.
Now, it is still used for religious purposes. But, it is also used as a dieting technique by millions across the world. Once people saw real results from studies, the demand for information and guides increased rapidly.
Non-religious people that use intermittent fasting for its health benefits use it for weight loss, to improve gut health, reduce heart conditions and much more.
Although intermittent fasting is essentially nothing new, it is now used more than ever. Lets find out more about the health benefits of intermittent fasting:
Recommended Reading: Does Intermittent Fasting Help With Belly Fat