The Importance of Intermittent Fasting
People try all sorts of things to stay healthy. Fad diets, juicing, and things like cupping are all around us. However, people tend to overlook one of the simplest and easiest to implement practices for their health; intermittent fasting.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits that intermittent fasting can have on both the body and mind. If you’ve ever considered this powerful, natural solution to good health, then take a look at these evidence-based benefits.
Cells, Genes, and Hormones
Shortly after starting the cycle of not eating, your body cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels that make fat more accessible and easily burnt. This process drops insulin levels, repairs cells by removing waste from them, and even alters your body’s genes in a way that promotes longevity while protecting against disease.
This process also increases the human growth hormone, which is responsible for things like burning fat and muscle gain. Off the bat, intermittent fasting immediately offers several molecular benefits.
Sure, it seems like common sense that period of not eating would cause you to lose weight. While a lower caloric intake will most certainly help you lose weight, there’s more to it than just that.
Lower insulin levels and higher growth hormones are both capable of breaking down body fat and using it for energy. By losing weight from eating less calories and burning more fat, intermittent fasting tackles the problem of weight from both ends. This process has helped thousands slim down and even get rid of that stubborn belly fat.
Fasting works to help prevent a variety of deadly disease. For starters, by lowering and effectively regulating insulin levels, intermittent fasting protects against type 2 diabetes by creating healthy blood sugar levels.
More surprisingly, the effects fasting has on metabolism have may lead to a reduced risk of cancer. While more studies are needed, the evidence is promising. It has also been shown to reduce the many side effects of chemotherapy.
Brain Food (or a lack thereof)
Intermittent fasting improves a variety of metabolic features known to be important for brain health, such as reduced oxidative stress and lessening inflammation. Some animal studies suggest that it may even increase the growth of new nerve cells, aiding brain function even further.
Other studies show that fasting might delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly reduce its severity. Some have even provided evidence that fasting intermittently can help prevent other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
Even more, fasting has been shown to increase a hormone called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). A deficiency of BDNF can cause depression and other problems with cognitive brain function.
It isn’t just the fact that you stop eating for periods of time that benefits your body, it is also what you choose to eat afterwards. Eating the right portions of nutrient rich foods can increase the benefits you experienced during fasting, as well as provide some of their own.
Because your body has been craving sustenance, it rapidly takes in the nutrients that healthier foods offer and applies them to your system faster. This allows your body to make better use of vitamins and minerals.
This also means that health supplements are absorbed more quickly. So, protein powders and compounds like nicotinamide (vitamin B3) can have twice the impact they normally would.
Fasting Makes a Difference
Choosing to fast intermittently is an excellent way to boost your health, prevent disease, and provide your body with the nutrients it needs by eating healthy after. The facts are all there. So, let the fasting begin!