As we age, it becomes more important than ever to take care of our bodies and promote our health. One of the most powerful tools we can use to boost our wellbeing long-term is intermittent fasting. Fasting has been used for thousands of years in various cultures as a way to cleanse the body, improve health, and promote longevity. In this guide, we will explore the benefits of fasting for seniors and provide some guidelines for safe and effective fasting.
Why especially people over 65 benefit from intermittent fasting
As we age, our bodies change. E.g. we lose muscle mass, immune, lung and cardiovascular function deteriorate, cognitive functions decline and our metabolism slows down.
Long story short: When we get older our bodies require more attention and care. One of the easiest and most effective ways to counteract age related degradation processes is intermittent fasting – an approach that involves restricting the calorie intake for certain periods of time.
There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting has powerful effects on the body and mind. Regular eating breaks reduce the strain on the body, making it more resistant against diseases. Regular cycles of fasting and eating also help reset the circadian rhythm. While fasting the body gets a break from digesting and saves energy, that it can use to reset the internal body clock.
Here’s a list of the greatest fasting advantages for seniors:
1. Improved weight management
As people age, their metabolism slows down, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Intermittent fasting can help seniors control their weight by reducing calorie intake and increasing fat burning.
2. Improved brain function and cognitive performance
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve cognitive function in older adults. It may also reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and mental diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control
Intermittent fasting can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is particularly important for seniors who may be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. Reduced inflammation
Research has shown, that regular eating breaks reduce inflammation in the body, which is especially beneficial for seniors who are at higher risk of dealing with chronic pain or inflammation-related conditions.
5. Improved heart health
Intermittent fasting has the potential to strengthen heart health by reducing blood pressure, (“bad”) LDL cholesterol levels, and triglycerides (a type of fat that is found in your blood).
6. Improved gut health and digestive function
Fasting can help stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract, leading to increased gut motility and more efficient elimination of waste. Additionally, it has been shown to improve the diversity and balance of the gut microbiome, which can improve digestion and reduce the risk of digestive disorders.
7. Increased energy, vitality and longevity
Regular eating breaks have been shown to increase the production of growth hormones, which are important for maintaining muscle mass, bone density and longevity. Furthermore, fasting supports autophagy (our body’s cellular repair process), which is crucial for our energy level and vitality.
The best fasting strategy for seniors
As the list of advantages shows, fasting can be a powerful tool for promoting health and longevity in elderly people, but it is important to choose a fasting strategy that is safe and adapted to your needs.
Here are some of the best intermittent fasting tips for people over 65:
1. Consult with a healthcare professional first
Before starting your fasting routine, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on the best approach based on your specific health needs and medical history. Apart from this, it is important to note that intermittent fasting is not suitable for seniors with certain pre-existing conditions, e.g. underweight or chronic diseases. Therefore, please talk to your doctor first.
2. Start slowly and be patient
When starting an intermittent fasting routine, it’s important to start slowly and give your body time to adjust. Therefore, easier fasting plans (with short fasting periods) such as 14-10 are most suitable. If you notice that your body cannot cope with this yet, you can also start with 12-12 and then slowly increase the length of your fasting times. Or you continue 14-10 but only do it every second day instead of daily.
It’s also important not to expect immediate results overnight when you start practicing IF, especially if it’s your goal to lose weight. As mentioned before aging has a negative effect on our metabolism. So, it may take some time to see first results, but being patient and persistent will pay off in the end.
3. Find your fasting rhythm
There are many different types of intermittent fasting methods to choose from in the BodyFast app, ranging from 12 to 72 h fasts, allowing you to choose the one that works best for you. You can also adjust your plan if needed to accommodate your day schedule. As an alternative you can let the Coach create the perfect plan for you, based on your goals and lifestyle or you choose one of the effective multi-week programs available for Coach users.
4. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important for our overall health, and it’s especially important for seniors, who are practicing intermittent fasting. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. The BodyFast app supports you in completing your daily water goal by sending you reminders and letting you track your intake.
5. Keep busy during your fasting periods
Fasting periods can be challenging in the beginning, especially if you’re new to IF and used to snacking throughout the day. To avoid feeling hungry or to distract yourself from hunger, keep yourself busy with activities such as reading, walking, or socializing with friends.
6. Eat nutrient-dense foods in your eating periods
When breaking your fast, it’s important to eat nutrient-dense foods that provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs. Focus on refilling your nutrient stores by choosing whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats and pay special attention to your micro nutrient intake. The best strategy for breaking your fast can be found here.
In individual cases, supplements might also be an option, since it becomes increasingly difficult for our bodies to absorb nutrients from food as we get older. However, in order to be able to make a well-founded decision in this regard, a medical blood test is necessary.
7. Listen to your body
If you feel unwell or experience any negative side effects while practicing intermittent fasting, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your routine accordingly. Don’t push yourself too hard, and make sure to prioritize your health and well-being.
Intermittent fasting: Your secret for long-lasting health
Intermittent fasting can be an effective means for elderly people to improve their overall wellbeing and stay fit longterm. Fasting boosts our daily energy level, has a mood lifting effect and thus takes our vitality and overall quality of life to a whole new level – day after day up to high age!
Ready to give intermittent fasting a try? The BodyFast app supports you in your first steps!
It’s easy to use and offers…
- beginner-friendly fasting programs,
- personalized plans tailored to your goals and progress,
- motivating challenges to build new, healthy habits,
- daily coachings with helpful fasting tips and
- access to a competent support team that’s always at reach to help you in case of questions.
And to help you quickly refill your nutrient stores in your eating periods, our nutrition experts have developed more than 100 delicious recipes, that cover any dietary preferences and are perfectly suitable for a life with fasting.
Start your journey now and become part of the BodyFast family. We are looking forward to having you on board!