Here comes the New Year, with hordes of folks looking for ways to become healthier.
Some of us will resolve to exercise more. Others will go on diets. Or we’ll cut out guilty pleasures like fast food.
Most of us will fail miserably.
One study found that 80% of New Year’s resolutions die by mid-February.
New research shows there’s a better way. The single most effective strategy in improving health may also be easiest.
You don’t have to exercise more. And you don’t have to change what you’re eating or eat less of it.
The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists analyzed studies involving intermittent fasting. That’s a practice in which you restrict your eating to a certain time period on a daily or weekly basis.
The researchers found that intermittent fasting can:
- Improve memory
- Reduce blood pressure
- Cut cholesterol
- Relieve inflammation
- Strengthen the heart
- Decrease stress
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Lower cancer risk
- Increase lifespan
The reason for all these benefits? It’s something called “metabolic switching.”
This happened to our ancestors in ancient times when food was scarce. Their bodies would switch from using sugar for energy to burning fat. Intermittent fasting triggers the same process.
How to Practice Intermittent Fasting
Dr. Mark Mattson was senior author of the study. He said it can take a few weeks to get accustomed to intermittent fasting. You may feel hunger pangs at first. But practitioners find it easier the longer they do it.
There are two basic methods. Both are simple. There are no complicated recipes. No expensive frozen meals. No banned foods.
- The 5:2 Diet. On two days of the week, you restrict your calories to 25% of your normal intake. These are called “fast days.”
On the other five days, you eat your normal diet. You can choose any two days as fast days, either consecutive or spaced out during the week.
You can eat whatever you like—so long as you limit your calorie intake to 25% of your normal daily intake on fasting days. That is usually about 600 calories for men and 500 calories for women.
- Daily Fast. In this plan, you fast for 16 hours a day. You do all your eating within an eight-hour window. And you can eat anything you want in any amount during that time.
For example, if you eat breakfast at 9 a.m., you finish your dinner by 5 p.m.
On either plan, choosing filling foods without too many calories is best. These include:
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens.
- Meats, fish, or eggs. Bake, roast, or grill rather than fry.
- Plenty of water. You can also drink black coffee or tea.
Avoid processed carbohydrates like white bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice. Cut out sugary foods. Berries or other fruit are your best bet if you want something sweet.
Intermittent fasting may be the best way to get healthier in the New Year.
Editor’s Note: There’s a town in Italy where a huge percentage of the population lives to 100. And despite their advanced age, the residents still are able to work, have fun, and even have satisfying sex lives.
Scientists recently did a detailed study to discover the town’s secret. Yes, the Mediterranean diet is one of them. But the residents did something else that gave them extraordinary longevity and vigor.
Find out what it is by reading our monthly journal, Independent Healing…your best source for science-based health advice.