Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary protocol where energy restriction is induced by alternate periods of ad libitum feeding and fasting. Prophylactic intermittent fasting has been shown to extend lifespan and attenuate the progress and severity of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular (e.g. stroke and myocardial infarction), neurodegenerative (e.g. Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease) and cancerous diseases in animal models. Stroke is the second leading cause of death, and lifestyle risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity have been associated with elevated risks of stroke in humans. Recent studies have shown that prophylactic IF may mitigate tissue damage and neurological deficit following ischemic stroke by a mechanism(s) involving suppression of excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, inflammation and cell death pathways in animal stroke models. This review summarizes data supporting the potential hormesis mechanisms of prophylactic IF in animal models, and with a focus on findings from animal studies of prophylactic IF in stroke in our laboratory.