You’ve heard the benefits of fasting, but can it also help improve heart health?
Those who chose to fast may be trying to do so to for health reasons, others may do so to lose weight. The consensus is out, fasting benefits are plenty and finding the correct pattern in which to do so is up to each individual. Fasting it’s self can be done in various ways, weather it is intermittent fasting, scheduled eating or regular fasting. Most fasting schedules fall between 6 hours and 72 hours. Continue reading to learn about fasting and heart disease and does fasting lower cholesterol?
Does Fasting Lower Cholesterol?
Having too much cholesterol in the blood can mean blockage of the arteries, lessening the blood flow to the heart. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and studies have shown that when fasting, levels of bad cholesterol go down. This means that changing eating habits can help cholesterol levels which ultimately leads to lowering the risk of heart disease.
Fasting and Heart Disease
As stated above, one of the fasting benefits studies shows that fasting can lower cholesterol but the exact effects that fasting has on the heart may vary. There are other factors that come into play when talking about fasting and each individual’s lifestyle. Many people who are health conscious and fast are possibly also people who don’t smoke. This factor alone decreases the risk of heart disease greatly.
When fasting regularly, the body may begin to metabolize cholesterol and sugar in a new way, decreasing the bad cholesterol build up. Not to mention that fasting’s effect on sugar is another positive. It can not only reduce the risk of gaining weight but also developing diabetes, which are both proven factors that can promote heart disease.
Fasting and heart disease don’t always go hand in hand, there are a few individuals who may want to stay away from fasting due to certain health risks.
- Individuals who have eating disorders – This could lead to binge eating after the fasting period ends.
- Individuals who exercise frequently – Those who exercise frequently may want to avoid fasting, especially when exercising because it can lead to low blood sugar levels which can cause problems such as dizziness and being light headed.
- Individuals who take diabetes medications – This can lead to low blood sugar levels which can have serious side effects for those with diabetes.
How to Fast Safely:
As mentioned above, there are many different types of fasting, and they may or may not be the right plan for you. Here are a few tips related to fasting safely:
Begin with short fasting periods: Here are a few different types of fasting periods:
- 5:2 where you restrict calorie intake for two days a week
- 6:1 where you reduce calorie intake one day a week
- Eat Stop Eat: Which is where you go for 24 hours without food 1-2 days a week
- 16:8 is where you allow yourself to consume food an 8 hour window, fasting 16 hours a day roughly
Important Considerations When Fasting
If you decide to try fasting to help with heart health, don’t forget to take the following considerations into account to stay as healthy as you can:
- Eat Small Amounts of Food on Fasting Days
- Drink a lot of liquids – WATER!
- Get out and go for walks or meditation – distraction is key to curbing hunger
- Don’t interrupt fasts with a large meal, try easing back into eating after fasting with something small
- Make sure to stop fasting if you begin to feel sick and go to see your doctor
Although there are fasting benefits that can improve all over health, and possibly related to overall heart health, there are more studies that need to be done to confirm exact benefits and what fasting can do for each individual’s heart. If you are considering fasting, speak to your doctor about whether they believe that fasting is the right decision for you.