Does intermittent fasting help fight depression?
Among the possible solutions, nutrition is key, and not a day goes by that a miracle diet does not appear, promising benefits beyond its true scope. Should the famous intermittent fasting be placed in that category? It seems not.
THESE ARE YOUR POWERS
Although it is now fashionable, our species has practiced intermittent fasting naturally for thousands of years: Homo sapiens has not always had food available 24/7.
And finally, it improves the functioning of both the immune system and the axis that connects the intestinal microbiota (microorganisms that live in the digestive system) and the brain. Deep down, eating is an invasive act, and done too often causes our body to overexert itself.
TWO WAYS TO FAST
Among the various diet modalities that are grouped under the umbrella of intermittent fasting, two are the most practiced: fasting on alternate days and the restriction of the intake window.
The first consists of drastically reducing food on alternate days (between 2 and 4 a week), a fast that can vary from eating absolutely nothing to eating up to 25% of the energy needs for a day. In both cases, it is allowed to drink water and calorie-free drinks such as tea or coffee without sugar.
For its part, the second method involves spending only a daily period of time eating, usually between 6 and 10 hours. During the rest of the day, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., no food can be consumed, with the usual exception of water, tea, and coffee.
After analyzing the scientific literature and the 14 studies carried out with 562 participants in this area of research, we reach some conclusions. The first is that, at a minimum, doing one type of fast or another does not worsen depression or anxiety, nor does it alter our mood. And more importantly, it appears that it may even help lessen the symptoms of depression.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, people who practice intermittent fasting, especially eating window restriction, show a high degree of acceptance and adherence. Looking and feeling great inside and out makes it easier for us to maintain this eating pattern long-term.
Although the results are promising, one must be cautious: long-term research comparing different fasting modalities and their influence on mental health is lacking. And if you have doubts or suffer from any pathology, it is better to consult your doctor and nutritionist before deciding to practice it.