Fasting, which implies, skipping the meals for a specific period of time, is one of the best activities we must indulge in. There are several benefits of intermittent fasting, and that’s why many people trying to lose weight, gain muscles or flush out toxins from the body practice it.
Many people wonder that is intermittent fasting good for you, as you have to stay without food for about 16 hours a day, but, it indeed is healthy and beneficial provided it is practiced in the right manner. Owing to the health benefits of intermittent fasting, the entire Muslim community observes this type of fasting during the holy month of Ramzan or Ramadan.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting has become one of the most talked about and popular health and fitness trends across the globe. As the name suggests, it requires you to fast for a significant amount of time, and indulge in eating for the rest part of the day.
Most of the intermittent fasting practices require you to fast for 16 hours a day, and all the eating must be done in the rest 8 hours.
While it does not emphasize on what to eat, but, it certainly focuses on when to eat. All you need to do is practice 2/3rd part of your day as the fasting period and 1/3rd part as the eating period. While you cannot eat anything during the period of fasting, but, you can certainly have water, black tea or coffee, or green tea during this time. But, any beverage that you drink should not have sugar in it.
We already fast during the night, and if you want to do intermittent fasting, it’s very simple. Just skip your breakfast, and have your first meal of the day at around 12 noon. Then, you can eat anything (healthy food) until 8 pm. After 8 pm, again fast till 12 noon.
This kind of fasting is known to help in weight loss, protect the body against diseases, improve metabolic health and enable cell regeneration.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are many ways in which you can do intermittent fasting. These include:
- The 16 – 8 Method
In this, fasting is done for 16 hours a day and rest 8 hours are for eating. This is the most popular way of intermittent fasting.
- The 5:2 Diet
In this type of fasting, one should eat only 500 – 600 calories for 2 days of the week.
- Eat Stop Eat Method
For one to three times a week, don’t eat anything for the entire 24 hours. For instance, after dinner one day, don’t eat anything till the next days’ dinner, or you can do it from breakfast to breakfast.
- Warrior Diet
In this, you have to fast for 20 hours a day, and you can eat one large meal at the dinner every night. During the 20 hours of fast, you can have a few servings of low-calorie fruits and raw veggies.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
1. Lose weight and Belly Fat
While fasting, we tend to eat lesser calories, and thus, weight loss happens.
Also, the insulin levels drop during the fasting, the hormone function increases and augmented amounts of noradrenaline or norepinephrine are generated in the body. All these contribute towards the breakdown of the body fat and increase in energy.
The short-term fasting increases the natural metabolic rate by up to 14% and thus, the body starts burning more calories. Consequently, the belly fat starts burning off.
Another diet that you can try to lose weight is the GM diet plan, which is ideal for burning calories and losing weight within a week
2. Lowers The Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes
The intermittent fasting is known to reduce the blood pressure while regulating the triglycerides and the bad cholesterol. Thus, the risk of heart diseases reduces significantly.
It also helps in reducing the insulin resistance and the levels of blood sugar. High insulin resistance leads to Type 2 diabetes, and as the insulin resistance is decreased, the diabetes risk also reduces.
To reduce the blood sugar levels in the diabetic people, you can also try some of the best ways for controlling diabetes.
3. Significant Change in the Function of Hormones, Cells, and Genes
When we stop eating for longer hours, many things start happening in our body. Our body begins the processes for cell repair and the hormone levels get changed to make the stored body fat easily accessible.
The waste material from the cells is removed, and thus, toxins are flushed out. The insulin levels drop significantly, and thus, fat burning is facilitated.
The growth hormone levels in the blood increase considerably and higher levels of these hormones enable muscle gain and a plethora of other benefits.
Many changes in genes get induced, which provide significant protection against diseases.
4. Prevents Cancer
Cancer, a life-threatening disease, involves the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body.
Fasting is known to offer an array of beneficial effects on the body’s metabolism, which result in reduced risk of cancer.
One of the researches even indicates that intermittent fasting helps in reducing the side effects caused by chemotherapy. Another way to reduce the risk of cancer is by using the soursop.
5. Waste Material From Cells Get Removed
As we start fasting, our body cells initiate autophagy, a cellular “waste removal“ process. It involves the breaking down of cells to metabolize the dysfunctional and broken proteins which build up inside the cells over the time.
Enhanced autophagy provides the protection against a number of diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
6. Enhances the Brain Health
Apart from delivering health benefits for the body, the intermittent fasting is also beneficial for the brain.
It improves many metabolic features which are known to boost the brain health. This type of fasting also reduces the oxidative stress and inflammation from the body.
With fasting, the levels of brain hormones, known as the BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) increase. The deficiency of BDNF is often related to depression and many other brain problems.
7. Reverses Aging
The oxidative stress in the body can result in various age-related neurodegenerative conditions and damage to the biomolecules present in the body. These include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, stroke, diabetes, cancer etc.
The long-term inflammation can lead to health problems like asthma, obesity, cancer, arthritis, and Chron’s disease etc.
As intermittent fasting detoxifies the body and produces anti-inflammatory compounds, it helps in reversing the aging.
Also, as the oxidative stress reduces, the appearance of age spots and fine lines on the face also reduces.
8. Enhances the Lifespan
Intermittent fasting increases the lifespan and helps you live longer.
Owing to the various health benefits offered by this type of fasting and its effect on the cells, a lot of diseases get prevented and aging is reversed.
As a result, the lifespan gets extended.
The aforementioned health benefits of fasting exhibiting that how fasting can streamline the functions of the body while enabling you to lose weight in a healthy manner.
The intermittent fasting weight loss results are so impressive that they make you wonder that how simple fasting can accelerate the natural metabolism of the body.
One must certainly try the intermittent fasting to get all the benefits that it offers to health, body, and mind.