Can intermittent fasting improve heart health? Let’s find out

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Well, the world has given in to this new fad of losing pounds and calories – intermittent fasting! People find it easier to stick to this way of fasting than the traditional one. One can follow this type of diet and still not end up feeling deprived. However, the rising cases of death through heart attack reveal that no matter how much you exercise or eat properly, heart diseases are still one of the leading causes of death among people. What if we tell you that a healthy heart has a lot to do with your eating window in comparison to your calorie count? Intermittent fasting can help improve the way our body responds to a hormone called insulin. It is this insulin that balances blood sugar levels in the body. Controlled cholesterol and blood sugar levels can curb the risk of weight gain and diabetes- two major factors causing heart disease.

Health Shots got in touch with nutritionist Avni Kaul to understand the role of intermittent fasting for heart health.

Do you practice intermittent fasting for boosted heart health? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is intermittent fasting?

“Intermittent fasting is simply time-restricted eating. Eating hours may vary between 10 am and 7 pm, 11 am and 8 pm, and 8 am and 8 pm. It is mostly a 12-hour fast for beginners,” says Kaul.

Normally, intermittent fasting shows the best results when the sun is setting – between 6 to 8 pm, and allows the body to recover while being in rest mode. Know the best ways to practice intermittent fasting.

As per science, intermittent fasting has mostly been followed as a diet trend, but this type of eating procedure has been shown to enhance cardiovascular wellness. In the current scenario, there is still dearth of a lot of large, randomized studies that show a positive relationship between intermittent fasting and heart attacks, strokes, or coronary artery disease. However, there are studies that suggest that the markers that cause heart attacks and further the risk of cardiovascular disease are decreased with intermittent fasting. This manner of eating has been known to reduce blood pressure, and cholesterol and improve diabetes and inflammation.

Also read: Intermittent fasting: Avoid these drinks if you’re on this weight loss diet

Intermittent fasting is one of the great ways to boost your cardiovascular health and keep it healthy! Image courtesy: Adobe

If you are someone who wishes to give intermittent fasting a try, then you may follow it like this.

* Start slowly with a 12-hour fast.
* Break your day by having protein, fat, and fibre.
* Keep yourself hydrated by drinking ample water.
* For those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight, or have diabetes and are below the age of 18 should refrain from trying it.

Any method that is viable and allows one to let in healthy nutrients and food choices is useful. Studies have also suggested that in comparison to eating all day and restricting calories, intermittent fasting is more sustainable and could be beneficial in long-term.

Having said that, still not much study or research has been conducted, so it is advised to consult a dietician before you decide to embark on an intermittent fasting diet plan.

Other benefits of intermittent fasting

Some of the other benefits of intermittent fasting include aiding in weight loss, lowered risk of type-2 diabetes, improved heart and brain health and less risk of cancer. It also helps improve physical performance and helps improve endurance during running. However, you should still start it under supervision weighing all its pros and cons for your body.

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