Intermittent fasting is a type of time-restricted fasting that promotes eating within a specific period and fasting for the remainder of the day. Although people all over the world have practiced intermittent fasting for various reasons, the practice is increasingly becoming a fad diet plan these days due to several acclaimed health benefits.
Scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that when done right, intermittent fasting has a ton of health benefits. Here are six top health benefits of doing intermittent fasting.
- Promote Weight and Belly Fat Loss
This is the most obvious health benefit of intermittent fasting. Today, most people are engaged in this type of fasting because they want to lose weight. By eating at a specific window, you can control the number of calories you take and also increase your metabolism.
Besides, intermittent fasting increases the body’s hormone functions to trigger weight loss. Higher growth hormone levels and low-level insulin levels encourage the breakdown of body fats to be used for energy. This is why intermittent fasting increases metabolic rate and encourages the body to burn more fat.
A study done in 2017 shows that intermittent fasting promoted a better weight loss than just restricting calorie intake. Another scientific review shows that people who participated in the study lost about four to seven percent of their waistline and belly fat. The results also suggest that intermittent fasting can boost metabolism and trigger a weight loss of up to 3-7% between 3 to 24 weeks.
- Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is a silent killer and can induce aging faster and lead to severe health conditions. Fortunately, some studies suggest that intermittent fasting can boost the body’s resistance to oxidative stress and inflammation.
According to another study, men who were restricted to a 6-hour eating period for five weeks developed more resistance to oxidative stress, which prevents unstable molecules – known as free radicals – from damaging the body’s DNA and protein.
Intermittent fasting also helps reduce inflammation. Although inflammation is your body’s natural defense mechanism, severe inflammation can trigger diseases, like diabetes, and heart conditions. Research shows that engaging in intermittent fasting can release an anti-inflammatory effect that protects the body from inflammation-triggered diseases.
- May Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Heart Diseases
According to a study, intermittent fasting may reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and other metabolic diseases. The study targeted people with metabolic conditions and results after a twelve-week of intermittent fasting show that all participants in the study experienced an improvement in the common symptoms of metabolic conditions.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting has been known to offer a tremendous benefit of improving insulin resistance. This causes a reduction in sugar blood levels and ultimately reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Intermittent Fasting May Extend Your Life Span
The possibility of intermittent fasting helping you live a longer life is probably one of the most exciting benefits of this meal pattern. It has become so popular among the anti-aging crowd to the point that it’s now practiced by beauty fads in recent times.
There are few scientific that support this theory. The results of an intermittent fasting study done on rats show that they lived more than 83% than those who didn’t.
However, human studies are yet to be done to confirm this in humans. Nonetheless, it’s not impossible to see how this might work, considering the increased metabolism benefit of intermittent fasting.
- Intermittent Fast May Trigger Cell Repair
Fasting helps the cells induce a waste removal process known as autophagy. This process involves breaking down of broken and damaged proteins that have been stored in the cells over time. Besides, cell health may also increase protection and reduce the risks of several diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
More so, studies done on animals have also revealed that intermittent fasting may help prevent cancer and reduce the effects of chemotherapy. However, more human and clinical studies are needed in this area to confirm claims.
- Improves Brain Function
Intermittent fasting shows a lot of promise in improving brain function because it promotes the production of a protein known as BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic function). This protein helps the brain to do many chemical processes that are necessary for neural health.
Besides, it also triggers the brain stem cells to change into neurons and protects the brain from radicals associated with debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Doing something as simple as intermittent fasting can have tremendous positive effects on your health. Intermittent fasting may lower blood pressure, improve insulin resistance, reduce the risks of developing several diseases, encourage weight loss, and improve brain function.
If you’re yet to try this diet pattern, now may be the time to, especially if you want to experience the many health benefits attached to it. However, it’s advisable to first consult your doctor before engaging in intermittent fasting.