The Effect of Fasting on Your Mental Health
Most busy and mature adults skip meals with regularity without giving it much thought. No time for breakfast before work because they had to get the kids ready for school, so off they go, hustling through their day without eating in the morning.
Lunch comes around but the reports that were due yesterday still are not done, or an emergency work situation demands their attention, and so they forego lunch as well. Then it is a quick snack in the afternoon before heading off to night classes. Perhaps dinner will happen, perhaps it will not, but the busy and chaotic life of a mature adult, especially one who is going back to school, can leave no time for meals.
Eating regularly and healthily, obviously, is vital to a person’s overall wellbeing. That means that even these extremely busy adults who are struggling to cram all of their responsibilities into a short twenty four hour period still need to take the time to eat nutritious and planned meals.
However, recent studies on fasting, or going without food for a period of time, have shown that there are mental and physical benefits to skipping a meal every now and then. Well, more accurately, skipping a couple meals frequently.
Fasting can be done in several ways, all of which limit the food intake of a person. The three most common forms of fasting are alternate day fasting, therapeutic fasting, and calorie reduction fasting.
The first, alternate day fasting, is simply how it sounds—going without food every other day for a period of time. Calorie reduction fasting is choosing to limit daily calorie intake by up to forty percent every day for a length of time.
And therapeutic fasting, the form shown, as its name suggests, to be therapeutic to individuals, relies on restricting the daily intake of food to under five hundred calories per day for a period of a few weeks. This form of fasting, as well as the others, has been shown to increase the mood, mental clarity, and future mental health by altering the chemistry in the brain.
So while some may see missing a meal as a standard but regrettable part of their academic lives at Independence University, healthcare professionals are beginning to promote occasional periods of fasting as a healthy and mind boosting system of operations.
Megan Wickes is a graduate of the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program. She currently works for Independence University, managing its online presence. In addition to her love of marketing, Megan enjoys wakeboarding, boating, and spending time with her husband and new baby boy.