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'Minimal fasting cut cardiac risk'

It might appear difficult, but fasting once a month can help stave off a heart attack, say British researchers.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 07, 2007 13:58 IST

Foodbuffs, it may appear to be a bit difficult option but fasting once a month pays it can help stave off a heart attack. International researchers have carried out a study and found that skipping meals for one day a month could reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by nearly 40 per cent, the

Daily Mail

reported today.

According to the team, the break from food helps in "re-setting" the body's metabolism which enables it to work more efficiently as a result.

"People who fast seem to receive a heart-protective benefit and this appeared to also hold true in non-LDS (Latter Day Saints) people who fast as part of a health-conscious lifestyle," lead researcher Prof Benjamin Horne said. Prof Horne of the University of Utah and his fellow researchers came to the conclusion after analysing a study of Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which requires followers to fast once a month.

In fact, the team examined the records of patients who had a coronary angiography - an X-ray of the blood vessels of the heart to look for blockages - between 1994 and 2002.

Of 4,629 men and women whose arteries were examined, Mormons were found to be less likely to have coronary artery disease, defined as 70 per cent narrowing or blocking of at least one artery.

"Fasting was the strongest predictor of lower heart disease risk in the people we surveyed. About eight per cent of those who fasted did not express a religious preference and they also had less coronary disease," Prof Horne said. However, the researchers have warned that it might be dangerous for those with diabetes to start fasting without medical supervision. "This study does not provide evidence that diabetics should skip meals," he said.

First Published: Nov 07, 2007 13:44 IST