According to the latest reports, it seems that we can lower our high blood pressure with intermittent fasting. Check out the latest reports about this below.
Intermittent fasting to lower blood pressure
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an effective and low-risk method to reduce cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure. In fact, recent studies have shown that IF can significantly improve heart health. This cost-effective and easy-to-follow approach involves alternating times of eating with times of fasting.
The 5:2 method, which involves two days of severely calorie-restricted eating and five days of non-restricted eating, or time-restricted eating (TRE), where all of the day’s food is consumed within a set timeframe, are common IF techniques. During fasting periods, only water or clear, non-caloric liquids such as coffee or tea are allowed.
Intermittent fasting has gained immense popularity in recent years, thanks to the backing of celebrities and bodybuilders on social media. However, the growing body of research supporting its use for achieving health goals beyond weight loss or muscle building cannot be ignored.
The evidence suggests that intermittent fasting can offer a range of health benefits, including repairing cells and reducing signs of aging, decreasing the production of harmful free radicals, regulating glucose levels, and reducing stress.
In fact, a review published in the December 26, 2019 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine emphasizes the potential cardiovascular benefits of intermittent fasting, such as lowering blood pressure.
Reducing insulin resistance
Research has recently focused on the benefits of intermittent fasting for reducing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a common condition where the pancreas produces too much insulin in an attempt to lower high blood sugar levels. However, over time, the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to the pancreas producing even more insulin. High insulin levels can also inhibit salt excretion by the kidneys, which increases the risk of high blood pressure.
A review published in the American Journal of Physiology in December 2012 found that insulin had a sodium-retaining effect in diabetic subjects across several animal studies. This effect is problematic because excess salt has fluid-attracting properties.
The American Heart Association explains, “Too much sodium in your system promotes water retention in the bloodstream. Over time, the extra volume of blood can stress and stiffen blood vessels, making the heart work harder to maintain blood flow.”
Fasting intermittently is an effective way to lower insulin levels, which in turn reduces insulin resistance and can lead to lower blood pressure. When one goes without food for eight or more hours, the body undergoes “metabolic switching”.
This means that, in the absence of excess glucose to use for energy, the body uses energy stored in fat cells instead.
Cleveland Clinic explained the following:
“When we don’t eat for a period of time, insulin isn’t needed, and our blood insulin levels drop. This signals our fat cells to release sugar to be used as energy. When insulin levels drop far enough, we burn enough fat to lose weight.”
Timing of fasting is vital
If you’re thinking about giving intermittent fasting a try, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, the timing of your meals can make a difference. In a study published in Cell Metabolism in May 2018, it was found that men with prediabetes who limited their food intake to earlier in the day – with dinner before 3pm – experienced significant decreases in blood pressure levels.
This effect was just as good as that of anti-hypertensive medications. However, those who ate later in the day saw no improvement, or even an increase, in blood pressure.
It’s believed that these differences are due to either aligning eating patterns with the body’s natural circadian rhythms by eating earlier in the day, or disrupting them.
Ms. Jones advised the following: “When starting intermittent fasting, it’s advisable to begin gradually and choose an approach that suits your lifestyle. Generally, it’s recommended to start with shorter fasting periods, such as the 16/8 method (16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window) or the 12/12 method (12 hours of fasting and 12 hours of eating). Consume a balanced diet rich in whole foods during eating windows, and stay hydrated. Pay attention to your body’s signals, and if you experience adverse effects like dizziness or extreme hunger, consider adjusting your fasting schedule.”
Stay tuned for more relevant information about your health.