If you haven’t heard of intermittent fasting yet, I’m sure you’ll hear about it relatively soon. It is a rapidly growing trend that is only gaining more and more steam.
Intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. They will make you look at this trend and rethink the term fasting.
When you hear the term fasting, what do you usually think of? You probably think of the worst part which is not eating. If you are a food lover it can be hard to think of yourself as not eating anything at all. Before you ride off the fasting trend before trying it, really look into the health benefits that it brings to the table.
Go out and find a friend that has tried some kind of fasting in the past and ask them how they felt after it. More than likely they will tell you how great they felt after doing it. Even then, they may not realize how many benefits the fasting they had on their body.
1. Increases Lifespan
Fasting can have a great effect on autophagy. This is a process by which a cell recycles itself to make sure that it can function the best it can by getting rid of anything that isn’t working properly.
When you have cells that are constantly restoring themselves to have optimal performance, it is going to have anti-aging effects. Cells age just like we do, so when your cells are able to refresh themselves, you are greatly slowing down the aging process both in your physical appearance and internally.
2. Increases Body’s Resistance to Stress
A lot of us suffer from stress at one point or the other. Some way more than others. What causes this stress? There are a lot of different reasons that stress can be linked to.
With fasting, you will be improving your body’s resistance to stress. Stress is partially caused by free radicals in the body (unstable molecules that carry reactive electrons). Long story short, the free radicals react with other molecules in your body and change the dynamics of certain cells, leading your body to have more stress.
Fasting causes your cells to start functioning by getting energy from other sources than it would if you had a normal food supply in your body. When this happens, your body goes into a survival mode and gets rid of the bad cells and starts to replace them with healthier ones. Over a long-term period, less free radicals will be formed and your cells will be able to fight off the free radicals that do form in your body.
This will keep a chemical balance in your cells and your body, thus causing less stress.
3. Improves Brain Function
Sometimes when you eat, your body uses the food and goes into a bit of an overdrive, depending on what you have consumed. Overactivity of the brain can be a bad thing because there is too much firing off. There isn’t one thing that your brain can really focus on to properly function.
Fasting may cause your body to go into survival mode, as mentioned earlier, forcing your brain to have more focus on certain tasks at hand.
The changes that happen in your brain during fasting are the same that happen when you are exercising. In laymen terms, brain power can increase significantly for a certain time period.
4. May Aid in Preventing Cancer
It should be no surprise now that fasting can help rid the body of toxins, but cancer?
Now, fasting may not completely prevent you from getting cancer, but it can help in the spreading of it and tumor growth.
For people going through chemotherapy, intermittent fasting can help suppress many of the side effects. The only thing that’s worrisome is the small amount of lightheadedness and hunger you will be feeling. Many people seem to not have an appetite with some chemotherapy so the hunger really may not be much of a problem at all.
Since fasting gets rid of a ton of toxins that can sneak their way into your body, it makes sense that it may help prevent certain types of cancer. Cancer attacks your cells, but when there are no toxins in your body that can attack any of your cells, then cancer can’t form.
5. Improves Immune System
Fasting can help your body fight off common sicknesses before they even start. This way, when the seasons change, you aren’t going to have to worry much about getting a cold.
Your cells are going to start regenerating when you fast and this can lead to your cells replacing old cells that are a part of your immune system. This leads to a stronger immune system now and later on down the road.
The body works wonders when you start fasting. It triggers your cells to start cleaning up your system. You can say that it’s out with the old, in with the new.
6. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
When your body is more insulin sensitive, you will be able to absorb nutrients better when you eat.
Fasting decreases your level of insulin which helps stimulate lipolysis. This is what helps your body break down fat.
Lowering the amount of insulin in your body not only helps break down fat faster, but it helps keep your insulin levels low when you do start eating again. Your blood sugar will stay regular for a longer time just making your overall health much better.
7. Raises Growth Hormone Levels
If you follow sports closely, you’ve probably heard of a player getting suspended for taking some kind of human growth hormone. Human growth hormones (HGH) is very useful to an athlete because it speeds up recovery time, burns fat faster, and helps build muscle faster.
It’s safe to say that when athletes get caught with an abnormal amount of HGH in their system, it’s not because they have been fasting.
For those of you that do plan on fasting, be prepared for this rise in HGH. Fasting will cause your body to start burning stored fat instead of muscle. This will allow you to keep what muscle you do have and even help you build on them.
Yes, it’s important to eat and have enough energy stored during any competition, but when you are training, your body can really benefit from having nothing but the stored fat to use for energy.
8. Helps in Weight Loss
This one may seem a little obvious. You are more than likely going to be eating less so there’s no way you can gain weight. You will probably be consuming much less than you normally would on a regular day.
On average, you burn about 1750 calories each day. With intermittent fasting, you’ll burn, on average, about 3500 calories a week. That is about 1 pound every week. The great thing about this type of fasting is that even though you aren’t eating throughout the day when you do get your chance to eat, you can consume exactly what you need.
You will probably be eating less than you normally would in the first place. Say you try to consume your 1750 calories while you’re fasting, after some time, your stomach will probably not be able to consume as much as you were hoping it could. Your stomach will shrink a little bit and in the end, you will be losing weight faster.
9. Helps Clear Skin and Prevent Acne
When it comes to fasting and your skin, we are going to refer back to autography. Your cells are going to regenerate and get rid of any waste that it needs to.
Not having any cells that are “slacking” improves everything. You will start to have better-looking skin because you are having new cells formed that are getting rid of the ones that are making your skin not look as good as it could at the moment.
While you are fasting, your body starts focusing on other processes instead of digestion. Since your body needs energy, it takes that energy from anywhere it can find it. This means that energy will come from fat and dead tissues (an example is scar tissue). By doing this, you will be replacing old skin cells with new ones and healing some wounds at a faster rate.
BONUS 10. Lowers Risk of Deadly Diseases
Cardiovascular disease and obesity are two diseases in particular that fasting greatly lowers your risk of.
It has already been discussed how fasting can greatly lower the fat on your body. When you have less fat on your body, it’s almost impossible to be obese. Obesity is being grossly overweight or fat. Fasting prevents you from being grossly overweight if you aren’t there already. If you are already considered to be obese, fasting will slowly help reduce the amount of fat on your body, but there is much more you need to do to get back to a “normal” weight.
Being obese can lead to cardiovascular disease.The link between cardiovascular disease and fasting isn’t exactly known, but there is definitely a correlation. It may be due to fasting decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol in your system which is linked to heart disease. It may also be because your body might metabolize sugar in a much different way when you’re fasting.
BONUS 11. Helps Body Maintain Lean Muscle Tissue
When most people lose weight, they tend to lose muscle along with fat. Sometimes trying to maintain your muscle mass while dropping fat can be difficult.
When you have that lean muscle tissue, you are burning more calories at rest. That is a big part of what fasting is. Most of you probably won’t be doing any kind of intense exercising during fasting periods so your body will be burning fat instead of muscle.
If you are doing exercising and fasting, you will be burning calories faster, thus burning fat at a faster rate, and when your body can’t find anymore fat to burn, it has to look to your muscles and take away from that to give you the necessary energy.
Fasting Can Change Your Life
Fasting is a great way to improve your health. Yes, it will definitely suck at first because your body isn’t used to going such long periods without eating anything. If you are able to push through this struggle, you will be able to sustain the long lasting effects fasting will have on your body.