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5 Eye-Opening Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

5 Eye-Opening Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

When intermittent fasting, you only eat during specific hours of the day and limit your overall calorie intake. 

Most people use fasting to lose weight since it reduces the number of meals and promotes fat loss.

Specifically, intermittent fasting lets the body burn through the calories from your last meal and begin burning fat.

While this is an excellent way to maintain a healthy weight, many people don’t realize that intermittent fasting has other powerful health benefits

So in this post, I’ll cover 5 eye-opening benefits of intermittent fasting. But before digging in, let’s first discuss two popular fasting principles.  

Popular Ways Of Intermittent Fasting 

There are two popular ways to practice intermittent fasting:

  • 16/8 fasting, where you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. Most people like to stop eating at 8 pm and then have their first meal at noon the next day.
  • 5:2 approach, where you eat regularly 5 days a week, but for the other 2 days, you limit yourself to one 500–600 calorie meal per day. 

These are both excellent fasting methods, and knowing which to choose is a matter of deciding what best fits your lifestyle. 

However, I recommend not to fast for longer than this.

In contrast to limiting your food intake to specific periods, going days without food can negatively impact your health and make your body store more fat in response to starvation.

That said, let’s look at 5 health benefits of intermittent fasting next.

1. Improved Cell Function

When you take breaks from eating for specific periods, several things happen in your body.

For example, your body changes its hormone levels to initiate essential cellular repair processes. 

In other words, intermittent fasting helps to remove waste material from cells and promote optimal cellular health.

And improved cell function ensures that our cells don’t age faster than they have to.

Also, insulin levels will drop significantly, and the human growth hormone (HGH) will increase, which helps your body burn more stored body fat and instead gain muscle mass. 

2. Reduced Stress And Inflammation In The Body

Intermittent fasting is known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, leading to premature aging and many chronic diseases.

These free radicals, also called unstable molecules, can react with our body’s protein and DNA and create damage. 

However, intermittent fasting can enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress and help fight inflammation.

And as we know, inflammation is another key driver of many common diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.

3. Improved Brain Health

Intermittent fasting may improve brain health. Studies have shown that fasting for periods of the day can increase the brain’s growth of new nerve cells.

It can protect the brain from damage and boost brain function.

In addition, intermittent fasting also increases the level of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

And a deficiency in BDNF has been related to depression and other brain problems.

Overall, fasting improves various metabolic features in the body that are important for brain health as well.

4. Better Sleep 

Research shows that intermittent fasting can regulate circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock), determining sleep patterns.

When your circadian rhythm is regulated, you fall asleep easier and wake up well-rested.

Sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system and fighting off disease.

Being sleep deprived for long periods can cause mental health problems, like anxiety and depression.  

So, when you eat your last meal earlier in the evening, you’ve digested the food by the time you go to bed.

On the other hand, going to sleep on a full stomach can lead to acid reflux or heartburn, which can interfere with the circadian rhythm and make it difficult to fall asleep.

5. Extended Life Span

Like we briefly touched upon earlier, studies suggest that intermittent fasting may extend your body’s life span.

Changes in genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease have been recorded.

However, the results are not yet confirmed, and scientists haven’t been able to explain precisely why fasting may help you live longer. 

It may be a result of the added cell and hormonal health benefits, which prevent premature aging and help protect the body from disease.  

The Bottom Line

Intermittent fasting is a popular weight-loss method but has also become recognized as an excellent way to boost your overall health.

Not only can it help you burn stubborn fat, but it can also help you live a longer and healthier life. 

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