It’s a weird time in life. Just getting through the day without a major meltdown is probably your top priority right now and not whether you should go on a diet or not. However, Quarantine 15 is becoming a real thing as some people are finding it harder to work out (even though there are countless online resources) and stress eating becomes your default. So even though it seems daunting, now may be the time to consider intermittent fasting.
Fasting helps your immune system
It goes back to that classic old advice of “Feed a fever, starve a cold.” Jaime Schehr N.D., R.D., an expert in integrative medicine and nutrition, told Mind Body Green of that instruction, “While that’s not scientific, it’s this idea that when we’re fighting a cold or a virus, decreasing our intake of foods and increasing our fluids actually works to support the immune system.”
“Fasting leads to lower levels of glucose [blood sugar]. In response, the body uses fat instead of glucose as a source of energy, after turning the fat into ketones,” registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said. One study found that this diet may reduce body weight by up to 8% and decrease body fat by up to 16% over 3–12 weeks.
Other benefits of intermittent fasting include less inflammation, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, reduced insulin resistance, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, and higher “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
In one study on fasting’s relationship to aging that used rodents, the rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than those that did not. “Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life,” adds nutrition and wellness reporter Kris Gunnars, BSc.
There are different approaches to intermittent fasting such as the 16:8 plan where you fast 16 hours in a row and then eat normally within an eight-hour period. Or the 5:2 approach, in which you eat normally for five days in a row; then for two days in a row, you eat just 400 to 500 calories per day.
Intermittent fasting can also help you focus more as you have to pay a bit more attention to what you are eating instead of mindlessly stuffing your face.
However, do note that there is no research finding that intermittent fasting boosts your immune system short-term so it should not be labeled as a way to prevent Coronavirus but it could help you in the long run.