Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The eating pattern in Intermittent fasting switches between eating and fasting in a day. Intermittent fasting is followed in different ways. Research has shown that weight loss is possible with this type of diet along with other health benefits such as prevention of Type II Diabetes with the help of this diet plan. The most commonly followed method of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 fasting method where fasting is done for 16 hours and eating is done for 8 hours. It works differently for men and women. Results of Intermittent fasting for women in a month can vary between the results of men. Rather than focusing on what you eat, intermittent fasting keeps a check on when you eat. So in the 8-hour eating window, you must provide your body with essential nutrients like high proteins, low carbs and good fat along with vitamins and minerals. Along with better body composition and weight loss, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, longevity and more. There are also other methods of intermittent fasting like the eat-stop-eat method and 5:2 method.
In the eat – stop – eat method you eat for one day and completely fast the following day. This when followed for twice a week is said to yield better results in weight loss for both men and women. The next method is the 5:2 method where you restrict your calorie intake to just 500 in two days of a week of your choice and for the rest of the days, you eat normally. This 5:2 method is popular among many beginners of intermittent fasting. However intermittent fasting works differently for men and women for various biological reasons. For more information on intermittent fasting and to understand how it works differently for women read here.
This article is all about knowing the health benefits of intermittent fasting. Read more to know what other health benefits intermittent fasting provides.
1. Intermittent Fasting helps in reducing belly fat
Yes, you heard it right. Those tough belly fats which are hard to melt can be easily reduced when you follow intermittent fasting. When you follow intermittent fasting you will feel that you consume less food than what you normally eat. This is the best way to reduce weight without feeling the burden of heavy dieting. Intermittent fasting allows you to eat anytime in your 8 hours of eating window. Unless and until you overeat to compensate for your fasting for 16 hours you are unlikely to gain weight.
On the other hand, eating for 8 hours does not mean that you can dump anything into your body believing that the next 16 hours of fasting can take care of it. Intermittent fasting is choosing to eat wisely by supplying the body with all the vital nutrients it needs in the eating window of your choice. It also helps in enhancing the hormonal functions of the body to enable weight loss. Intermittent fasting helps in breaking the body fat by enabling the body to secrete low levels of insulin, high growth hormones and increased secretion of noradrenaline. Fat is broken down and facilitated for use as energy. It is for the same reason that short term fasting or intermittent fasting increases your body’s metabolic rate which helps you to burn more calories.
Simply put, intermittent fasting works to balance your body weight by increasing your metabolic rate and reducing the amount of food you consume daily.
Weight loss enthusiasts often try different strict methods of dieting which they tend to give up soon as they are strict to follow. But intermittent fasting is very convenient to follow and offers you the liberty to choose when you eat. So you can decide to fast conveniently during your inactive phase of the day that is when you go to bed. This is why most of the people with regular working hours prefer the 9 to 5 eating window and fast after that so that half of their fasting window is spent in deep night sleep. Studies have shown that over three weeks to six months, intermittent fasting can help in reducing 3 to 8% of body weight. Whoa, that’s indeed incredible.
Another interesting finding says that people lost around 4 to 7% of belly fat when they followed intermittent fasting. Belly fats are those fats which are harmful to the body which might lead to a lot of diseases. So losing belly fat gives you various health benefits apart from staying in shape. Studies also indicate that intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss than when compared to restricting calories continuously. Intermittent fasting is a powerful weight-loss tool which when followed wisely can create the magic of achieving your desired body shape and also make you stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
2. Intermittent fasting helps in the proper functioning of the cells and secretion of hormones
When you don’t eat for a significant period, so many things happen inside your body. For instance, important cellular repair takes place inside the body. It changes the hormone levels so that the stored fat in the body becomes more accessible for energy conversion. It also initiates important cellular repair functions when the body is in fasting mode. Listed here are the changes that your body undergoes when you are fasting.
- Fat burning is facilitated by a drop in insulin level in the blood which happens during intermittent fasting.
- Growth hormones increase their secretion by five times in intermittent fasting. This in turn facilitates fat burning and muscle gain along with various other benefits.
- Waste materials from the cells are removed and important cellular repair processes happen inside the body when it is in fasting mode.
- Many important beneficial changes take place inside the genes and molecules that help in providing longevity and protection against diseases.
3. Intermittent fasting reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes has become a common disease in this decade. Unhealthy food habits and poor knowledge of nutrients essential for the body are major reasons for this. Intermittent fasting helps in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes by reducing insulin resistance and helping in lower blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that blood sugar has reduced by 3% to 6% and insulin has reduced between 20% to 30% in intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is also said to protect our kidneys which is one of the organs to get affected due to the severe complications of diabetes. So it can be clearly understood that intermittent fasting is highly beneficial for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the change in insulin level varies between men and women. The significant changes in low blood sugar seem to work better for men compared to women. To understand how intermittent fasting works for women read here.
4. Intermittent fasting is beneficial to our heart health
Heart diseases are also common next to diabetes and they are also the world’s biggest killer diseases. There are so many risk factors associated with heart diseases based on food intake and intermittent fasting is known to have improved heart health by improving inflammatory markers, maintaining the blood pressure, and amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. The bottom line is that intermittent fasting can improve various risk factors for heart diseases and maintain blood pressure.
5. Intermittent Fasting can reduce ageing and inflammation in the body
The main reason for ageing is because of oxidative stress that leads to many chronic diseases. This process involves free radicals which damage vital proteins and DNA and cause them damage. Intermittent fasting has proved to improve our body’s resistance to oxidative stress. Intermittent fasting also helps in fighting inflammation which is a key factor for many diseases. So intermittent fasting can help in preventing ageing and development of numerous diseases.
6. Intermittent fasting induces various cellular repair processes
The cells in the body practice autophagy which is waste removal. When we follow intermittent fasting, the body initiates this cellular waste removal process. This process involves the act of repairing broken cells and proteins that build up inside the cell over time. When autophagy is done at regular intervals it can help in protecting the body against various diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. This removal of waste materials from the body is a crucial process in maintaining the physical and mental health of the body.
7. Intermittent fasting can help in preventing cancer
Cancer is a disease caused when cells divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues. It is one of the deadliest diseases in the world which has also become quite common nowadays. Intermittent fasting is said to have several beneficial effects on the body that may eventually lead to a reduced risk of cancer.
9. Intermittent fasting is friendly to your brain
The mind and body go hand in hand in diet and when the body is happy the mind is also happy. A good body is essential for a good mind. Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features which are good and vital for brain health. It performs functions like reducing the oxidative stress, reducing inflammation of the body, reduction in blood sugar level and insulin resistance. It is proven through research studies on animals that intermittent fasting can increase the growth of new nerve cells which are beneficial for the functioning of the brain.
Intermittent fasting also increases the secretion of a brain hormone called BDNF which is a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Deficiency of this hormone has resulted in depression and various other problems related to the brain. Studies conducted on animals have also shown that intermittent fasting protects the body against brain damage due to stroke. So intermittent fasting is said to have numerous health benefits for the brain.
- Intermittent fasting can help in preventing Alzheimer’s disease:
The most common neurodegenerative disease in the world is Alzheimer’s disease. The fact that it has no cure for this disease makes it more fearful. Since there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease-preventing it from manifesting seems to be the first most crucial thing. So far studies conducted on animals have shown that Alzheimer’s disease can be delayed or its severity can be reduced in intermittent fasting. Symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease were seen to reduce in humans when intermittent fasting was followed for a short period like 30 days. Though no studies on humans were conducted so far, studies on animals indicate that intermittent fasting can help us against other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Intermittent fasting can provide longevity:
Living long and living strong is what intermittent fasting can provide you. Following a good diet is a way of living and it can make you live longer. Intermittent fasting is said to improve your lifespan and help you live longer. Though no proven studies have been done in humans so far, studies in rats have shown to increase its lifespan when the calories were restricted to rats continuously. The results of the experiments conducted showed that rats which fasted lived 83% longer than rats that did not fast. Though this is not proven with human beings, still intermittent fasting is viewed as an excellent way to keep the body in shape and also to improve anti-ageing. After reading the entire health benefits of intermittent fasting, it is left without doubt that it is for sure the best way to reduce weight without much strain and also to stay young for a long time.
Having understood how intermittent fasting works and the various health benefits it provides to our body it is quite clear that this is one of the best ways to stay in tune with mind and body. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting works differently for men and women and it is also important to keep in mind that diet plans are different for individuals based on their needs and medical history. For more information on women health and intermittent fasting read here. So make use of this easy way to stay healthy for long.