Intermittent fasting is a pattern where you go through specific periods of eating and fasting. There has been numerous studies that show that intermittent fasting can have many benefits for your body and brain. So here are the 8 evidence-based health benefits of intermittent fasting that'll convince you to try this new method of eating!
1. Intermittent Fasting Changes the Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones
When you don’t eat for a while, several things happen in your body. For example, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Here are some of the changes that occur in your body during fasting:
• Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which makes fat burning easier.
• Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have other numerous benefits.
• Cellular repair: The body starts important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
• Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
2. Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight
Many of those who try intermittent fasting are doing it in order to lose weight. Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals. Unless if you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, you will end up taking in fewer calories.
Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss. Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of noradrenaline all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.
For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories. In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate and reduces the amount of food you eat.
3. It Reduces Insulin Resistance, Lowering the Risk of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become incredibly common in recent decades. Its main feature is high blood sugar levels, anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes.
Interestingly, intermittent fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels. In recent studies on intermittent fasting, blood sugar while fasting has been reduced by 3-6%, while insulin when fasting has been reduced by 20-31%.
One study also showed that intermittent fasting protected against kidney damage; one of the most severe complications of diabetes. What this implies, is that intermittent fasting may be highly protective for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. It Can Reduce Stress and Inflammation in the Body
Stress is one of the steps towards aging and many chronic diseases. Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the body’s resistance to stress. Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key component of all sorts of common diseases.
5. Intermittent Fasting May Be Beneficial for Heart Health
Heart disease is currently the world’s biggest killer. It is known that various health issues (risk factors) are associated with heart disease. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. However, further research needs to be done in order to prove whether intermittent fasting truly helps heart disease.
6. Intermittent Fasting Starts Cellular Repair Processes
When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular waste removal process. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time. Increased cell renewal may protect against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
7. IT is Good for Your Brain
What is good for the body is often good for the brain as well. Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health. This includes reduced stress, reduced inflammation and a reduction in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage, and may also reduce the risk of depression.
8. IT Could Extend Your Lifespan
One of the most exciting things about intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan. Although there's still much needed research to be done, studies have shown a correlation between intermittent fasting and extended life expectancy.
Given the known benefits for metabolism, weight loss and all sorts of health issues, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life. I mean who doesn't want to live longer right? Intermittent fasting seems like a great way to achieve a healthy life!
This is something beneficial that should be practiced safely; it's not a means to starvation or developing eating disorders, instead it should help and even prevent such things.