The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Seniors

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If you’re like most seniors, chances are you’re experiencing some of the more unpleasant effects of aging. If so, you may be wondering if there are steps you can take to lessen the impact of the more troublesome changes. Fortunately, there are some scientifically proven anti-aging strategies.

Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) isn’t a diet. It’s an approach to eating that offers numerous anti-aging benefits. Rather than dictating what you can and can’t eat, intermittent fasting makes adjustments to when you eat. 

So, if you’re a senior looking to overhaul your lifestyle, lose weight, or generally improve your health and wellness, time-restricted eating may help you reach your goals. There is a whole slew of benefits of intermittent fasting for seniors – here are a few: `

Get a Brain Boost

Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases can be devastating. There are many lifestyle choices scientists believe may help prevent Alzheimer’s, including intermittent fasting. A recent 2017 study published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience says intermittent fasting may help protect against Alzheimer’s by restoring the polarity of aquaporin-4 in the brain. Aquaporin-4 plays a crucial role in removing amyloid-β, a peptide believed to lead to Alzheimer’s. The research is ongoing, but along with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise, intermittent fasting could be one way to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Enhance Your Cognitive Function

IF can potentially protect your brain in the long run, and it may also help your cognitive function. A study of intermittent fasting in overweight older adults showed a slight improvement in cognition, including memory, calculations, conceptual thinking, and more. If you’re looking to sharpen up your mind and feel more alert, intermittent fasting may be an option.

Develop a Healthy Gut Microbiome

There’s been a lot of buzz about how your gut flora can play a role in every aspect of your health and wellness. A diverse microbiome is vital to the function of your more robust immune system and it plays a role in your mental health. It also clears skin conditions and reduces your risk of cancer. While the foods you eat have an enormous impact on your gut health, intermittent fasting may be another way to support beneficial bacteria in your digestive system.

Sugar and processed foods upset the balance between the beneficial and harmful microbiota in your digestive system. If you want to give time-restricted eating a try, be sure to avoid processed foods full of refined carbs, sugars, and unhealthy fats to get the maximum result. Instead, stick to whole foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and high-quality protein.

Manage Your Weight

Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight. Are you struggling to shift a few extra pounds? IF may be able to help. When you fast, your blood sugar levels drop, and your body enters a ketosis state. Ketosis is when your body switches to burning fat stores rather than relying on glucose as an energy source, as we see in the popular ketogenic diet. Over time, this can help you lose potentially harmful visceral fat. You’ll see weight loss and reap the added benefits of reducing your risk for various health problems, which can trouble you as you get older such as diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. 

May Increase Your Lifespan

Follow an intermittent fasting regimen may be your key to a longer lifespan. Short-term fasting increased the lifespan of mice compared to the non-fasting control group. However, it’s essential to emphasize this study used mice as test subjects. More research is needed to determine the possibilities of intermittent fasting to increase lifespan in humans, but scientists think that IF could lead to better, healthier aging.

While IF is considered safe for most, if you have lighter bodyweight or take medications, you should check in with your doctor before changing your eating plan. If you do it mildly and always listen to your body clues, intermittent fasting may be a great choice for you to increase the quality of your life.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: Is It Worth the Weight?

If you’ve tried different diets for weight loss without success, intermittent fasting (IF) may be the eating approach that can help you see results. IF isn’t a diet, rather it’s a lifestyle change that encourages you to eat your day’s nutrients within a specific time window and then has you fast for the remainder of the day. Does intermittent fasting work for weight loss? Absolutely! Here’s what you need to know:

How IF Works for Weight Loss 

Fasting allows your body to enter a state of ketosis. When in ketosis, your body switches from burning glucose to using your fat stores as an energy source, which is an efficient way to lose weight. 

Also, IF boosts your metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories overall. Fasting also lowers your insulin levels and reduces insulin resistance, which can get you into ketosis more quickly. Since insulin is one of the main hormones active in fat metabolism, reducing insulin resistance makes your body prone to converting fat into energy instead of storing it.

How to Use Intermittent Fasting To Lose Weight

There are several different protocols for IF. Based on your individual needs and lifestyle, you can decide which works best for you.

  • 16/8 method: Each day, fast 16-hours, then eat within an 8-hour window.
  • 5:2 plan: Eat typically five days a week, restrict your calorie intake two days a week. On fasting days, shoot for 500 calories if you’re female, and 600 if you’re male. 
  • Alternate day fasting: Fast every other day. On fasting days, you can either fast for 24 hours or restrict your calorie intake to a few hundred calories.
  • Warrior diet: On this protocol, you fast for 20 hours then enjoy a four-hour eating window. 

What to Pay Attention To When Starting IF

As a fasting beginner, you might find yourself struggling with hunger pangs. Don’t worry; these will disappear as your body gets used to IF. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day – especially during your fasting window. Water will help keep headaches at bay and help you feel full longer. Other beverages you can sip on include tea, coffee, and bone broth. Try not to add sugar or milk to your coffee and tea or you’ll break your fast.

Don’t be tempted to overeat once you’ve completed your fast. Instead of binging on everything in sight, prepare in advance: Fill your plate with fresh, nutrient-dense foods full of high-quality proteins, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutritious foods will keep you satiated and less likely to overeat once your fast is done. 

Is IF Right for You?

Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. So, if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight, or have present or past issues with eating disorders, check with your doctor before you make any significant changes to your diet.

Average Weight Loss Results

Your weight, activity level, and your food choices will determine your weight loss. The amount and quality of your sleep, plus your age, sex, and unique family history also play a role. 

A 2020 study saw participants lose 0.8% to 13% of their initial weight over 2-12 weeks. Another study found participants who followed the alternate day fasting method lost about 1.65 lb/week. 

A steady, gradual weight loss should be your goal. Doctors consider 1 to 2 pounds per week safe. Rapid weight loss could lead to health problems and weight regain.

Intermittent fasting is a fantastic way to lose weight, and fat loss can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. You may feel hungry initially, but once your body adapts to your new routine, you’ll find intermittent fasting to be effortless. Be patient, and you will see results!

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