Intermittent Fasting is one of the rapidly growing tools which have multiple benefits associated with it.
If you want to lose weight, reach your fitness goals or just overall improve your health, then intermittent fasting is for you.
So, what exactly is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is simply fasting for a certain period of time and eating after outside that window.
There are various types of intermittent fasting, but 16/8 is the most common method of all.
The people who follow intermittent fasting often break their 24 hours into the time when they eat food versus when they don’t eat anything.
Hence, 16/8 fasting means eating within a window of 8 hours – e.g. 12 pm to 8 pm, and not eating the remaining 1 hours of the day.
You can vary the window according to your needs. Some might only eat within an 8-hour window (20/4) or 6-hour window (18/6).
Here are the 10 benefits of intermittent fasting:
Intermittent Fasting -
- Alter The Functions of Cells, Hormones & Genes.
- Helps To Lose Belly Fat & Weight.
- Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
- Reduces Oxidative Stress & Inflammation in the body.
- Is Important for Heart Health.
- Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes.
- May Also Prevent Cancer
- Helps You To Live Longer
- Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
- Is Good For Your Brain
1. Intermittent Fasting Alter The Functions of Cells, Hormones & Genes.
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Several things happen to your body when you don’t eat for a while. Your body starts a cellular repair process and also changes hormone levels which makes the stored fat more accessible.
Here are some other changes which occur while fasting:
- The insulin level in the blood drops significantly which facilitates fat burning.
- The blood levels of growth hormone increase multiple times which helps in fat burning and muscle gain.
- Your body initiates several cellular repair processes like removing waste material from cells.
- There are other important changes in genes and molecules which help in protection against diseases.
2. Intermittent Fasting Helps To Lose Belly Fat & Weight.
The main purpose of the people who try intermittent fasting is to lose weight.
In intermittent fasting, you eat fewer meals, unless you have to compensate much more for the other meals. It also enhances the hormone function which facilitates weight loss.
The low level of insulin, high growth hormone levels, and the increased norepinephrine, all increase the breakdown of fat which uses more energy.
If you do any type of short-term fasting it automatically increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, which helps to burn even more calories.
Hence, intermittent fasting helps in two ways, it boosts your metabolic rate and simultaneously the amount of food you consume.
In the review of the scientific literature in the year 2014, it was found that intermittent fasting can cause 3-8% loss in body fat over the period of 3-24 weeks.
3. Intermittent Fasting Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has become incredibly common in recent times. Its main symptom is high blood sugar level along with insulin resistance.
Anything which reduces insulin resistance can help against type 2 diabetes.
As a result, intermittent fasting has a huge effect on reducing the insulin resistance which ultimately lowers the blood sugar level in the body.
In recent studies, it was found that intermittent fasting blood sugar reduces by 3-6%, while insulin gets reduced by 20-31%.
In another study which was done on diabetic rats, showed that it protects the kidney from get damaged which is one of the most severe complications of diabetes.
Hence, intermittent fasting protects people who are at risk at developing type diabetes.
4. Intermittent Fasting Reduces Oxidative Stress & Inflammation in the body.
Oxidative Stress is one of the important factors for many chronic diseases.
The unstable molecule which is also known as the free radicals reacts with the other important molecules including the DNA and protein and damages them.
Various studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the resistance of the body to oxidative stress.
Additional studies also state that intermittent fasting helps to fight inflammation which is another important factor for all sorts of common diseases.
5. Intermittent Fasting Is Important for Heart Health.
Heart Disease is currently the world’s leading cause of death.
It is a well-known fact that various heart markers or risk factors are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart diseases.
Intermittent fasting helps in improving those risk factors including blood triglycerides, blood sugar levels, total and LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammatory markers.
However, the most of the studies are done on animals. The effects of heart health need to be studied a lot further on humans before any further recommendations are made.
6. Intermittent Fasting Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes.
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Whenever you fast, the cells in your body start the waste removal process which is known as autophagy.
In this process, the cells begin to break down and metabolizing the dysfunctional proteins that build up inside the cell over time.
Increased autophagy provides protection against several diseases including Alzheimer and cancer.
Hence, it’s better to fast sometime because when you fast all the collected waste inside the cell body get removed which is considered very healthy.
7. Intermittent Fasting May Also Prevent Cancer
Cancer is one of the most terrible and life-threatening diseases which is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.
Intermittent Fasting has several benefits on the metabolism which in turn helps in combating cancer.
There are various studies performed on animals which shows that fasting helps in preventing cancer.
However, there are still many human studies are needed to be performed which will show the exact benefits of intermittent fasting on human species.
There is some evidence on the human cancer patients which shows that fasting reduces the various side effects of chemotherapy.
8. Intermittent Fasting Helps You To Live Longer
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One of the major benefits of intermittent fasting is that it extends your lifespan.
Numerous studies on rats have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in the same way as regular calorie restriction.
In some of the studies, the effect is very dramatic. In one of the study, it was found that rat which fasted every alternate day lived longer than the rat which doesn’t fast by 83%.
However, it is still not proven on humans but IF has become very popular among the anti-aging groups.
Given all the benefits for metabolism and health makers, it actually makes sense that intermittent fasting.
9. Intermittent Fasting Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases.
There is no cure available as for now, hence it is better to prevent it from showing up in the first place itself.
A study on rats showed that intermittent fasting can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or reduce its severity.
In a series of case studies, it was concluded that fasting protects against various neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
However, more studies of humans are still needed to prove that fasting helps in Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Intermittent Fasting is Good For Your Brain
It is a common fact that what is good for your body is also beneficial for your brain.
Fasting improves various metabolic features which are also important for brain health.
Some of them include reduced inflammation, stress, reduction in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
Several reports and studies done on rats states that intermittent fasting increases the growth of nerve cells which is important for brain function.
Intermittent Fasting Also increases the brain hormone known as the neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Intermittent Fasting is very beneficial if you follow it properly.
There is no one way of fasting but almost every healthy person can benefit from it.
If you want to be in ketosis, then it will help you to reach faster by burning the fat stored in the body.
Just make sure to have enough nutritious and whole foods in between the window.
For the best results, it is better to combine intermittent fasting routine with a ketogenic diet to speed up the transition into ketosis.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you!.
Do you know any other benefits of intermittent fasting? If yes, then do let us know in the comments section below.