Research: Sensible intermittent fasting can be good for heart health

Celeste Allred from Oremista finds a regular, sensible fasting schedule to improve her overall health. (Heather Simonsen, KSL-TV)

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OREM – Have you ever wondered how effective periodic fasting is? According to researchers, the hot weight loss trend can have many health benefits in addition to weight loss.

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

He said the adoption of a periodic fasting schedule improved his ability to concentrate and cognition.

That’s 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 presented to the American Heart Association last November, Horne and his team observed an intermittent fast that runs once a week for 24 hours with water alone, which reduced inflammation in the body.

They believe it controls galectin-3, a protein bound to the inflammatory response, which reduces the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease and heart failure.

“The lack of food signals to cells throughout the body that their function needs to be optimized,” Horne said. “They do their job better when you go fast.”

Over time, regular fasting periods can return blood sugar to normal levels, according to Horne. However, it has to be a durable, routine you can stick to.

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

After four months of fasting, they found out once a week that they didn’t want to eat a snack between meals, which is an added benefit he hears from patients. “They feel they are better able to control their eating habits instead of their appetite controlling them,” he said.

Periodic fasting can take different schedules. Horne said up to 12 hours of fasting from dinner to morning can be helpful. But in general, the longer you stretch safely these hours, the better.

Allred said fasting that he is better. “I like that I can think,” he said. “I like that I have energy. I like that I can move. I like that I can take care of my family.”

She makes regular menstruation without food a part of her healthy routine. As with any diet, talk to your doctor first.

Experts warn that young children and adults with multiple health problems should not be fasted.

They are also always concerned that fasting can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and eating disorders.

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