Updated: Aug 29, 2020
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular health trends around promising a loss of weight and improved health. Besides this, through intermittent fasting people are experiencing a long list of other health benefits which we will dive into in this article.
In simple terms, intermittent fasting is the motion of eating and fasting between certain timed periods. Fasting is one of the oldest dietary interventions, is part of everyday life, yet somehow, we missed its power and potential. Many of us eat breakfast each morning but this simply refers to the meal that breaks our fast and is done each day.
With Intermittent fasting, there are a handful of proven approaches but the 2 most popular are 16:8 and 5:2. The 16:8 is the cycle where you eat all your meals for the day within a 8-hour window, followed by a 16-hour fast period. The 5:2 approach is where you eat normally for 5 days, followed by 2 days of fasting. The 16:8 is the most popular fasting approach and a good place to start as its easier to maintain.
By choosing an intermittent fasting diet, studies have shown that this can be powerful for both your body and brain with a lost list of added health benefits.
Read on to find out the top 5 health benefits of intermittent fasting and why you should consider fasting!
Top 5 Health Benefits:
#1 Lose Weight & Belly Fat
A big reason why many opt to try intermittent fasting is to lose weight. When fasting, you will eat fewer meals during the day and through intermittent fasting, this will improve your hormone function to facilitate weight loss.
Intermittent fasting diets increase your hormone function, lower insulin which increases your breakdown of body fat. Your metabolic rate will also improve during intermittent fasting which in turn will help you to burn more calories.
Intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool to lose weight and belly fat.
#2 Reduced Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar
Intermittent fasting and the 16:8 fasting approach mentioned above has shown to significantly decrease blood pressure. Studies have shown that fasting with defined eating times reduces blood pressure to greater levels when compared to other diets without the defined eating times. Reducing blood pressure is important as high levels can cause heart disease and strokes.
By intermittent fasting, this can help people to fight off diabetes with the main driver of diabetes being high blood sugar levels. Intermittent fasting helps to reduce insulin resistance, which in turn helps to lower blood sugar and protect against diabetes.
#3 Reduced Inflammation
Many studies have shown that through intermittent fasting there is a reduction in inflammation in the body. This is an important marker as inflammation can be the key driver of most chronic diseases.
Intermittent fasting can also help the body to resist oxidative stress which causes aging. This is one of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting and its ability to extend lifespan. Who doesn’t want to slow down aging and live longer?
With the known health benefits for metabolism and other markers, there is a good argument to suggest that intermittent fasting will help you to live longer.
#4 Improves Brain Health
Intermittent fasting helps to improve brain health by improving various metabolic features. With fasting, this increases the brain’s hormone levels which aid the growth of new nerve cells protecting against diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help the brain from damage and may also help against the decline in memory loss as we get older. It is shown that through fasting where the body has a break from eating and digesting this gives the body a chance to heal and remove junk inside the cells that can increase aging.
Many people report an improvement in their brain function, memory, and clearer mind once they begin fasting. I’m sure we would all like to improve our brain health, right?
#5 Helps Prevent Cancer
An interesting benefit of Intermittent fasting is that it has shown to help reduce the risk of cancer.
Obesity is a risk factor for cancer so the weight loss experienced with intermittent fasting as we mentioned above can be responsible for the reduced risk of all cancers. Fasting can also decrease many biological factors with cancer links such as insulin and inflammation levels. Studies have also shown that fasting can even help to reduce the side effects caused on the body by chemotherapy.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting has many health benefits on both your body and brain. Fasting offers unique advantages over typical diets that can be complicated. Intermittent fasting is simple, free, and were diets take time fasting saves time.
In the long term, there is strong evidence to suggest fasting can improve your lifespan and will be easier to stick to than traditional weight loss methods.
Happy fasting folks!
By Mark Ollerton - Freelance Writer