Fasting for heart health is not a new concept. Heart diseases, among the most common diseases globally, are due to unhealthy diets, along with some other reasons, says World Health Organization. What we eat becomes us as we transform them into our body cells. And our hearts are directly affected by what we consume.
That’s how a healthy diet and well-organized fasting can help you defend your heart and let it beat healthily.
It is widely believed that intermittent fasting helps to lose weight. However, it’s much more than this. It is a heart-friendly diet.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating habit that requires you to stop eating for a certain period every day or every week. So, basically, you eat intermittently. Based on this information, we can say intermittent fasting is about when you eat rather than what you eat.
For example, if you have breakfast at 8 am and do not eat anything until the next breakfast, it is a 24-hour fast. You can drink coffee, water, and some other drinks without calories while fasting.
The modern world allows you to stay awake until late by keeping you busy. As a result, you may keep eating all night, which is not the best to do for your heart. By just giving yourself regular breaks from eating, you can improve your heart’s health even without changing your lifestyle entirely.
Intermittent Fasting for Heart Health
In 2020, several scientists published detailed research in The American Journal of Medicine about the effect of intermittent fasting on the heart. The results are quite relieving. It states three mechanisms:
- Oxidative Stress Hypothesis says fasting decreases oxidative stress in the body.
- Circadian Rhythm Theory states the synchronization of eating periods and the heart’s circadian rhythm optimizes glucose and fat usage.
- Ketosis State implies intermittent fasting creates ketogenesis, which decreases blood pressure and fatty tissue.
Intermittent fasting reduces risk factors for your heart
Eating intermittently protects your heart by reducing cardiovascular risk factors. Minimizing them means you are less likely to have a heart problem in the future. Obesity is one of the most widespread factors. The research mentions a study during which people tried intermittent fasting and lost 6.5% of their body weight in 12 weeks. That’s how fasting and heart health become interrelated.
Blood pressure is another factor. Researchers have found that it is possible to decrease blood pressure. Also, dyslipidemia is shown to be positively affected.
It is also said that “Intermittent fasting also may improve the body’s response to a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps control blood sugar levels. Better cholesterol and blood sugar levels can lower the risk of weight gain and diabetes — two risk factors for heart disease.”
However, we would recommend a doctor’s advice to start intermittent fasting if you have diabetes.
How to apply intermittent fasting?
There is no single way of applying it. The key thing is how you feel. If you believe there is a plan that will make you feel better, you can try it. If a plan makes you feel uneasy, you can leave it. You can customize your fasting or adopt one of the popular ways below:
- Alternate-day fasting: In this method, you are supposed to eat as you wish one day, and the next day, you should completely fast or eat very little.
- 5:2 fasting: It allows you to normally eat for five days and fast for two days a week.
- Daily time-restricted fasting: In this one, you normally eat only within 8 hours every day.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: You can go without food for 24 hours once or twice per week.
- The Warrior Diet (20/4): You can eat raw fruits and vegetables in small portions during the day and have a large meal at night on this diet.
Or learn more about other options on our blog:
Can everybody do it?
It might cause risks for some people. For example, children and teenagers who are under 18 should not try fasting. If you have diabetes or blood sugar problems or have experienced eating disorders before, it is not suggested that you try without guidance.
If you are pregnant or still breastfeeding, it is risky for you. Since intermittent fasting is likely to reduce sugar rates in your blood, it might cause lightheadedness, fainting, and decreased fetal movement. If you are a breastfeeding mother, you are supposed to eat more than you normally do. Otherwise, you cannot provide your baby with sufficient milk.
To sum up: intermittent fasting and heart health
Intermittent fasting is healthy for the body and the heart specifically. You might find the above-mentioned methods useful or find another way that works for you. If you’re new to the concept, get professional help to discover the best option for intermittent fasting for heart health. Fasting Kompanion can help you find the best suitable intermittent fasting plan.
You can protect both your body by losing weight and your heart by minimizing risk factors. Intermittent fasting seems to be a very viable option. You can make up your mind, stick to your plan and finally be fit and healthy. Love your body, especially your heart, and enjoy the healthiest lifestyle with intermittent fasting!