Intermittent fasting has become a trend among women and has some benefits, especially after the age of 50. Specifically, the female body begins to slow down its metabolism from the age of 30, when the production of growth hormone (GH) decreases.
Muscle tone is reduced and women become more prone to gain weight. This is when healthy habits need to be reinforced. One possibility is to include intermittent fasting, which we’re going to talk to you about today.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting consists of limiting food intake for a set time and in certain periods. It’s important to indicate that, before starting the methodology, you should consult with your family doctor to identify the pros and cons, as well as the best way to start.
Fasting is not recommended for everyone. It’s also contraindicated in very specific cases.
How does the method work?
According to research, fasting activates various metabolic processes with the aim of keeping the body safe during the time that food isn’t consumed. In this way, it begins to identify sources of reserved energy to preserve the brain and other vital organs.
When this fasting is controlled, as proposed by the intermittent method, the body is able to take the fat reserves to stay active, which contributes to weight loss. We’ll get more benefits if this methodology is accompanied by a healthy diet during the days or windows of feeding.
Benefits of intermittent fasting for women over 50
Research has determined that women are more prone to obesity, compared to men. This is because they have a higher fat percentage on average, as basal lipid oxidation is lower than in males. This predisposition to obesity can cause multiple cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Here is how intermittent fasting helps women to prevent these pathologies.
1. Control weight gain
When you reach middle age, when menopause appears, weight gain is almost inevitable. In premenopause, women are three times more likely to develop obesity, since estrogens decrease.
Studies that have followed up on the effects of intermittent fasting in menopause indicate that it contributes to weight loss, as would a regular diet. Likewise, it was determined that the greatest decrease in body fat occurs in areas such as waist circumference, where fat tends to accumulate after the age of 50.
Other research, which has delved into the effects of intermittent fasting, indicates that it does contribute to weight loss, if there’s a negative energy balance i.e. if more calories are expended than consumed.
2. It could improve diabetes
Although there’s still much more to investigate, studies have identified that patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who perform intermittent fasting show a significant improvement in their insulin resistance. There’s even research that has corroborated the possibility of reducing the dosage of anti-diabetic medications through intermittent fasting.
3. Improves cardiovascular health
Articles report that intermittent fasting improves cardiovascular health. This wellness includes improvements in blood pressure, heart rate, and blood cholesterol levels.
How to apply intermittent fasting in women over 50?
Intermittent fasting, in women and men, should be done under the supervision of a physician. It’s necessary to consider the person’s specific needs, as well as their medical history.
Once you have the endorsement to start, you can follow these recommendations:
- Start with a simple rule: The ideal way to generate adherence to intermittent fasting and not affect your health is to start with a 12-hour fast and to make most of them nocturnal.
- Don’t neglect calories: Depending on the rule you follow, you have to control the calories ingested, but never give them up completely.
- Eat protein: Prioritize the intake of quality proteins, which are well absorbed. Specifically, those derived from foods of animal origin.
- Follow a routine of physical activity: This enhances the results, especially if you’re looking to lose fat. It’s best to include strength exercises for the muscles, since in adulthood it’s normal to lose lean mass.
- Hydrate and consume electrolytes: This compensates for the possible loss of sodium and potassium during fasting, which would cause discomfort such as headaches, cramps, and fatigue.
Choose an intermittent fast that you can stick to
You’ll notice that the different types of intermittent fasting include periods of no or little intake that go beyond 10 hours. You have these options:
- Every other day: This type of fasting is done every other day. For example, today food is consumed normally, and tomorrow sugary drinks are limited. Another way is to eat normally for two days in a row, then fast by reducing calorie intake to about 450 calories per day.
- Daily intermittent: This is one of the most popular methods, daily intermittent fasting is done in different ways: 16/8, 18/6 and 12/12. Healthy foods are consumed regularly for 8, 6 or 12 hours and then you fast for 16, 18 or 12.
- 5:2 fasting: This is a method in which healthy food is consumed normally for 5 days, and then calorie intake is limited to 500 or 600 calories during the following two days.
- 24-hour: This consists of fasting for 24 continuous hours, once or twice a week. For example, from breakfast one day to breakfast the next day.
Some types of fasting, such as 12/12 or 24-hour fasting, can be quite strict and can cause side effects such as headaches, irritability, and fatigue. Therefore, you should always consult your doctor.
Finally, keep in mind that, if you already have professional endorsement, success will depend on your rigorousness in carrying it out. This means that you must make it a habit. Otherwise, you won’t reap the benefits.