8 Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting refers a pattern of eating where you may either skip meals or go a certain amount of time without food. The term “intermittent fasting” has been coming up in many discussions lately among dietitians, nutritionist and weight loss professionals as well as those that want to lose weight or plan to control their diet. The main question being are there real benefits of intermittent fasting? In this 21st century, people have become more aware of what they eat and how it may affect their health. This is why intermittent fasting has become a lifestyle to many and the flexible nature of the diet has made it easier for more people to adapt to it compared to other weight loss diets. In addition, the benefits of intermittent fasting is not just limited to weight loss but also benefits those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Before revealing the benefits of intermittent fasting, it is important to know the physiological actions or changes that occur when fasting. A number of studies on both animals and humans have shown that intermittent fasting causes:

  • A reduction in blood lipids (cholesterol)
  • A reduction in blood pressure
  • A reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress
  • A reduction of insulin levels
  • A reduction of insulin resistance
  • An increase turnover of cells and cell repair
  • An increase in fat burning
  • An increase in production of growth hormones
  • Improved control over your appetite

As a result of the above changes in bodily fictions, the following benefits of intermittent fasting are observed:

1. Intermittent fasting speeds up metabolism, promotes weight loss

Studies by the National Institute Of Health have shown that when you are fasting, the insulin levels in your body will drop, growth hormone and norepinephrine levels will both increase and this will your body to breakdown fat and turn it into energy for you to utilize. As a result, intermittent fasting allows your metabolism to perform better.

You will see immediate improvement in bowel movements as your digestive system is active and functioning well.

In addition, while you fast your body is forced to use up all the stored fat to help you perform the tasks at hand. Intermittent fasting helps in regulating the most important fat burning hormones which include human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin. HGH hormone needs to increase whereas insulin levels should be low to keep the fat off the body. The cravings you get will be reduced massively because your fasting pattern will adapt your body to eat lesser amount of food. Overall, intermittent fasting promotes fat and weight loss.

2. Intermittent fasting helps with eating disorder

People often have problems of binge eating which is the biggest source of gaining weight. You either eat when depressed or when you have spare time and nothing to do. When you set a proper time for your meals then your lifestyle is fixated upon it. Your hunger span escalates quickly so the desire to eat eliminates quickly.

3. Intermittent fasting boosts mental health

The benefits of intermittent fasting is not only observed in bodily functions but also in the brain. Through several studies of mice, intermittent fasting showed an increase in the number of new nerve cells being produced and activates other chemicals that aid in the betterment of neural health.

In addition, some research have also shown that fasting enhances brain activity through the production of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that is responsible for learning and protection against neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer and dementia.

4. Intermittent fasting improves your immune system

Your immune system detects abnormalities or diseases that are interfering with your health as it fights against them. In a study (of both mice and humans) by Prof Valer Longo(USC Davis School), it was indicated that intermittent fasting improves the immune system by preserving and recycling a lot of the immune cells in which the body does not need when fasting and then these cells are released and used later when needed.

5. Intermittent fasting prevents of acne and skin problems

You often have to try remedies and medications to eradicate acne on your face but intermittent fasting clears out your skin as it balances regenerative energies. Your body is exposed to a lot of toxins which are to be removed. Your skin starts to glow gradually as your anatomy moves to the verge of improvement.

6. Intermittent fasting helps you build muscle mass

Fasting cuts down fat but it doesn’t affect your muscle mass. This is due to the fact that during fasting your growth hormone production is increases. Growth hormones are responsible for fat burning and muscle gaining processes.

The meals you eat should consist of healthy food this will keep you leaner and your muscles in the state of growing continuously. Building muscle without exercising is easy when you cram all your calories in a 5 hour time window and you focus on eating foods that provide energy.

7. Intermittent fasting improves overall health and well being

  • Diabetes – As mentioned, intermittent fasting reduces insulin levels in your body and thus lowers your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cancer – Although not yet studied through humans, studies through animals have shown that intermittent fasting can help prevent cancer. Fasting also shows improved effectiveness of the treatment of cancer through chemotherapy
  • Heart – Blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and blood sugar levels are risk factors associated with heart diseases. During intermittent fasting, studies have shown a reduction in all these and thus reducing the risk of heart disease

8. Intermittent fasting increases your life span and promotes longevity

Restricting your calories and eliminating the chance of getting obese is a direct route to attaining more number of years to live. If we refer to the logic behind it you will understand that when your body is starving it will combat against the hunger and try to find ways to live longer.

The study of intermittent fasting dates back to 1945 when this method was tried on mice and they were able to have an extended life. Although not proven in humans yet, the increase in lifespan through intermittent fasting can still be observed through the 7 benefits above.

There are numerous benefits of intermittent fasting apart from weight loss hack. Those who are suffering from a health condition should consult their doctor first before deciding to do any form of intermittent fasting. There are a few different methods of intermittent fasting, some schedule their eat/non-eating plan by days such as the 5:2 diet, while others fast for about 16-20 consecutive hours every day such as in the 16:8, where the other 8 hours can be used for eating.

Depending on your method of fasting, intermittent fasting can mean no food for a set period of time or you may be allowed to consume low calorie foods or liquids only. Most of the claims made in accordance to intermittent fasting are true when it becomes a routine. A little deprivation of food can result in providing a lot of benefits. Skipping one or two of the meals will allow you to keep your body healthy and active. People find it hard to adjust to this type of fasting but don’t over burden yourself on the first or second day. Control your meals gradually and you will feel the difference in your body physically and mentally in a short period of time. Rather than implementing hard diets and vigorous exercises choose to eat the smart way for a healthier you and experience the benefits of intermittent fasting.

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