Intermittent fasting is an eating plan, where you cycle between fasting and eating periods. While there are various methods of intermittent fasting, the most common is 16:8. This refers to fasting for 16 hours per day and eating a balanced diet during the other 8 hours. With this eating pattern, many people see positive results both in productivity, overall health, and weight loss. Below are some of the key health benefits of intermittent fasting.
This is perhaps the most well-known benefit of intermittent fasting and the primary reason people opt to try intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss by lowering insulin levels. As the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, this is then used as energy or converted to fat. Insulin is the hormone within our bodies that allows cells to absorb glucose. This contributes to our blood sugar levels. A person's blood sugar levels will drop when a person is fasting, and not consuming calories. Your pancreas during the fasting period will then have a boost in insulin, which allows your body to absorb the stored glucose.
By repeating the fasting process, your body uses up more of the stored glucose, resulting in weight loss. By sticking to an intermittent fasting eating plan, you can also easily maintain your weight.
A major health benefit of intermittent fasting is the improvement of heart health. The process of intermittent fasting often leads to a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. These are the most common health issues that affect the cardiovascular system, especially as you age. Part of these benefits is due to the reduction of stress on the heart, through weight loss. However, during the fasting process, your body as uses this time to repair cells and increases HGH levels. Both of which have an effect on your overall heart health.
One lesser-known health benefit of intermittent fasting involves the brain. This eating plan can help to improve learning and memory. This is due to the reduction of brain inflammation, through the fasting process. Studies into intermittent fasting are also showing the possibility of reducing the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Fasting can also increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) hormones. Higher levels of BDNF can help to improve your mood and lessen anxiety.
Studies in animals show that intermittent fasting can extend lifespans. On average, rats that fasted every other day lived for 83% longer than rats that ate daily. Now, testing on humans is much more difficult. However, studies are being done on overall health benefits and the anti-aging abilities of intermittent fasting. Much of the contribution to a longer lifespan comes from better overall health, which intermittent fasting can help improve. Hence, intermittent fasting is quite popular for those looking to lengthen their lifespan.
Intermittent fasting is a popular health improvement method and by fasting overnight many people find this eating plan much easier to stick with long-term. However, as you can see above there are multiple health benefits of intermittent fasting beyond weight loss. As studies continue, we can expect to learn of even more benefits of this eating plan and its effect on the body. For now, discuss starting a simple intermittent fasting plan with your health professional to see the potential benefits for yourself.