Intermittent Fasting- From making it easy to lose weight to enhancing your cognitive performances, there are several health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Can you imagine not eating anything for 16 hours straight? I CANNOT! But..some health experts and nutritionists are adopting the trending health fashion- intermittent fasting and its benefits.
We have all the heard the popular sayings like “We are what we eat” or “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And the theory of not having anything, let alone breakfast sounds quite absurd but what I am about to tell you about fasting will definitely shock you.
Fasting is healthier than eating!
Surprisingly, fasting helps you lose fat, gain muscle, lowering the insulin level of the body. Also, it stimulates the human growth hormone that’s responsible for increasing your muscle mass making you look better and live longer!
But wait, before I keep on going about the benefits of intermittent fasting, I want to give you a brief intro about intermittent fasting and how it works.
Intermittent Fasting 101
Intermittent Fasting is a method of eating where you go on fast for a certain period of time before eating. In simple words, it is an eating pattern that cycles between fasting and eating. Generally, intermittent fasting includes 16 hours fasting twice every week. But most even fast for 24 hours depending upon their own will. Fasting began with human evolution as back in those times, humans could not find food to eat and as a result, they slowly adapted themselves without food for extended periods of time.
Nevertheless, now fasting has become a ritual in all religions and although most had the misconception that fasting is not good for health, health experts have come with some surprising facts about fasting. One of the facts is that intermittent fasting is beneficial for your body.
Intermittent Fasting Guide: How To Fast?
Intermittent fasting is simple. All you need to do is split a certain time of your week or your day into eating and fasting. You can start by fixing a time say 1-9 pm as eating time and start fasting for 16 hours in between. Another method can be “eat-stop-eat”. This involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week and eating once the fasting is completed. For example not eating from breakfast one day until you eat breakfast the next day.
Similarly, another fasting method includes 5:2 diet where you only consume 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week and eating normally for other five days.
6 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting That’ll Shock You
Many people are unknown that fast is the great method to burn fat. It naturally reduces calorie. Intermittent Fasting reaches ketosis much faster (fat-burning state) and makes you eat less. It increases hormone levels, decreases insulin level and increases the amount of norepinephrine (noradrenaline). All these help burn fat and giving you a healthy and attractive body.
2. Stimulates Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of protein hormone that is central to many aspects of your health. Several researchers have shown that this key hormone is involved in growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength. A study published on PubMed showed that among 11 healthy adults who fast for 24 hours, their levels of HGH were found to be significantly increased.
Inflammation is one of the vital biological processes. Proper fast helps our immune system to pay attention to certain tissues, decreasing the chronic inflammation in the body. When inflammation due to unhealthy eating increases, your body is immediately at a higher risk of many diseases such as heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Hence, the major health benefit of fasting is, it helps to reduce inflammatory markers and protect your body from different kinds of diseases.
4.Lowers Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar
When you are fasting, your blood sugar levels try to balance themselves. Intermittent fasting can decrease the spiking blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. Blood sugar drops over 30% in the first few days of fasting. To add more, research shows that fasting can also help lower the blood pressure. Once you stop eating, the level of salts in your body goes down, which means your pressure lowers down gradually, reaching a balanced level.
5. Enhance Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting might help enhance your cognitive skills and improve the brain function. One study in mice showed that practicing intermittent fasting for 11 months improved both brain function and brain structure Though the study is only limited to animals, it has proven to improve the brain function, increasing nerve cell synthesis, protecting the animals against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Well, this one gave me a shock as well. You might be thinking, how can fasting even extend our lifespan but studies and research have shown that fasting regularly every week can boost your metabolism, regenerate your cells and tissues, making you less prone to aging. One study in rats found that those rats who went through fasting showed a delayed rate of aging and lived 83% longer than those who didn’t fast.
This, however, has not been studied in humans and further studies are needed to understand how fasting may impact longevity and aging in humans.