Can Intermittent Fasting Boost Your Mood?

Cutting calories isn’t just good for your waistline — it might also give you a health boost. Research has shown dialing back your calorie intake can help lower heart disease risk, improve insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes and bolster cognitive function. One (fairly simple) way to restrict calories is via intermittent fasting (IF). And there’s a potential bonus to this approach: It just might make you happier, too.

Following an intermittent fasting diet and taking a probiotic supplement improved people’s mental health, according to November 2020 research in ​Nutrients​. Disclaimer: The study was quite small and, unfortunately, those who only did intermittent fasting (no probiotic) didn’t reap the same mental health benefits.

If you recall, intermittent fasting is time-restricted eating, and there are a few different ways to execute it. You can fast on alternate days, for example, or follow a 5:2 eating pattern where you eat normally five days a week and eat very few calories two days a week. You could also eat during a four- to eight-hour window and fast anywhere from 16 to 20 hours a day.

Excerpted from Live Strong

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