• Intermittent fasting is one of the quickest ways to improve your overall health.
  • Consistency, finding the right schedule for you, and being patient are all key to witnessing the effects of intermittent fasting.
  • Overeating slows down your mind and body due to the overwhelming number of calories consumed.
  • Intermittent fasting releases a hormone that tricks your body into thinking you are not hungry during your fast.
  • Intermittent fasting plays a role in mental disease prevention and delays some of the negative effects of the aging process.

Intermittent Fasting, also referred to as IF, is a new health trend that is sweeping the nation.  Intermittent fasting is not a diet, instead it is a change in your eating schedule that is proven to have significant effects on the way your body metabolizes food.  Most people attempt this new eating habit in hopes of dropping a few pounds and maintaining a healthy digestive track. But can intermittent fasting also positively affect your mental health?  Dr. Sal Raichbach, Doctor of Psychology at Ambrosia Treatment Center, believes that intermittent fasting sets your eating habits straight.  “The typical American diet has more calories than the body needs. Intermittent fasting makes it a lot more difficult to overeat, so it prevents yourself from slowing down your body and mind with too many calories.” 

Before we get into how and why intermittent fasting could positively benefit your mental health, be sure to find a schedule that works best for you.  Intermittent fasting has a lot to do with consistency, and because of that, finding what schedule works for you is essential to seeing and feeling results.  As with introducing anything new to your body, it is best to ease into this type of scheduled eating. 

Positive effects of IF on your mental health

The science behind intermittent fasting is intriguing: Fasting supports the release of a hormone called ghrelin that helps your brain perceive hunger.  That’s why, the longer and more consistently you intermittently fast, the more your body gets used to the schedule. Yocheved Golani, a certified Health Information Management professional, explains the effects of intermittent fasting on brain health:  

“Intermittent fasting is good for brain health. A system of going without food for a few specific hours at regular intervals, intermittent fasting lets the body cleanse itself of garbage such as bacteria and viruses, dead and deteriorated cells, damaged organelles (tiny cellular structures which perform specific functions within our bodies), plus damaged proteins. That internal cleanup, called autophagy, enables the body to perform better by leaving you more energetic and clear-headed. It prevents the spread of some diseases, minimizes the problems of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and delays  some of the negative effects of the aging process. 

Cellular renewal improves with intermittent fasting. The new cells and disease-fighting effects are brain boosters which help us to think more clearly, to experience less anxiety and/or depression, and to feel happier than usual. We can even sleep better and learn faster with sensible intermittent fasting practices. Yes, intermittent fasting can keep you in a condition that’s, so to speak, younger, more mentally healthy, and smarter  than your years.”

It takes time…

Deciding to make a modification in the way you live your life has the potential to be daunting—for example deciding to try intermittent fasting.  It’s okay to be hesitant; however, if you stick with it, the effects these changes have on your mind and body could be mesmerizing.  Here are some of the positive effects IF has on your mental health, some of which Golani just went over: 

  • The internal cleanup your body undergoes allows your mind to perform better.
  • While intermittent fasting, you feel more energetic and clear-headed.
  • IF prevents the spread of some diseases while also delays some of the negative effects of aging.
  • Intermittent fasting can improve quality of sleep.
  • Cell renewal gives your body more brain boosters that help us think more clearly.
  • Those who participate in IF tend to experience less anxiety and/or depression.

When you make drastic life changes, they take time to become effective.  It is important to realize that these changes and improvements to your health won’t show immediate transformations.  Focusing on you and your path to a happy, healthy life is a great step in the right direction toward change.