I bet you don’t think about not eating. You are either hungry or not hungry. It’s crazy if you imagine not eating anything! Fasting is defined as “voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time.”
I wrote about fasting before in this blog. I dig in deeper than I did on this post.
Fasting dates back thousands and thousands of years. Usually, you are not eating when you sleep for six to nine hours every day. Typically, we have “break fast” when we have a meal after our fast. Some people will do longer. The longest fast is 382 days. Whew, that would be a long time until breakfast!
In today’s fast-paced world, health concerns are more prevalent than ever. One such concern that has been gaining attention is the risk of strokes. The good news is that there are preventive measures we can take to mitigate this risk. One such approach that has garnered significant interest is intermittent fasting. In this article, we will explore the relationship between intermittent fasting and strokes and how this dietary practice may hold promise in reducing the risk of this life-altering condition.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet in the traditional sense but rather an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Common methods include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window) or alternate-day fasting. This approach has gained popularity due to its potential benefits for weight loss, metabolic health, and even longevity. However, recent research suggests that it also has a positive impact on stroke prevention.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve several key risk factors associated with strokes. One of the primary factors is blood pressure. Hypertension is a significant risk factor for strokes, and research indicates that intermittent fasting can help regulate blood pressure levels, reducing the likelihood of a stroke. Additionally, intermittent fasting has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, which are also critical factors in stroke prevention.
The precise mechanisms behind the protective effects of intermittent fasting on strokes are still being studied. The practice may stimulate autophagy, a cellular process that removes damaged cells and promotes the regeneration of healthy ones. This process could play a crucial role in reducing the risk of strokes by eliminating harmful substances and optimizing brain health.
Another review was done by the National Institute on Aging titled “Research on intermittent fasting shows health benefits,” published on February 27, 20201. The review summarized the evidence from decades of animal and human research on intermittent fasting, which is an eating pattern that includes hours or days of no or minimal food consumption without deprivation of essential nutrients. The review found that intermittent fasting can lead to improvements in health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurological disorders.
While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between intermittent fasting and stroke prevention, the existing evidence is promising. Incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, may offer additional benefits beyond weight loss and metabolic health. By taking proactive steps to reduce stroke risk, such as practicing intermittent fasting, we can enhance our overall well-being and work towards a healthier future.