Study: Reasonable intermittent fasting can be good for heart health

Celem Allred of Orem found that a plan of regular and sensible fasting improved her overall health. (Heather Simonsen, KSL-TV)

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OREM – Have you ever wondered how effective intermittent fasting is? According to researchers, the trend of hot diets can have far-reaching health benefits beyond weight loss.

Until recent changes in her eating habits, including intermittent fasting, Celeste Allred said she felt she lacked energy and concentration. “I had such a bad brain fog. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I couldn’t think,” said Allred, a mother of nine who lives in Orem. “Even simple phone calls were too much.”

She said that adopting an intermittent fasting plan improved her concentration and cognition.

This is not surprising, said Dr. Benjamin Horne of the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute.

“It’s a kind of recovery and rejuvenation,” said Horne, the institute’s chief researcher and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology.

In a study submitted by the American Heart Association last November, Horne and his team found that intermittent fasting, which once a week for 24 hours with water alone, reduced inflammation in the body.

It is believed to control galectin-3, a protein bound to the inflammatory response, reducing the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease and heart failure.

“Lack of food signals cells throughout the body that their function needs to be optimized,” Horne said. “They do their job better when you get away from fasting.”

Over time, regular periods of fasting can restore baseline blood sugar levels to normal, according to Horne. However, it must be a sustainable routine that you can stick to.

Horne and a colleague tried it for themselves. “We both lost about six pounds,” he said.

They found that after four months of fasting once a week, they were less tempted to eat between meals, another benefit he hears from patients. “They feel they are better able to control their eating habits than they are controlled by the desire to eat,” he said.

Intermittent fasting can have different schedules. Horne said even a 12-hour fast from dinner to morning could be beneficial. In general, however, the longer you stretch these hours safely, the better.

Allred said she felt better when she fasted. “I like it when I can think,” she said. “I like energy. I like being able to move. I like being able to take care of my family.”

He includes regular menstruation without food in his healthy routine. As with any diet, consult your doctor first.

Experts warn that young children and adults with any number of health problems should not fast.

They also always fear that fasting could lead to an unhealthy relationship with eating and eating disorders.

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