Benefits of Intermittent Fasting You Must Know
Intermittent fasting can help many people achieve their personal health goals; such as weight loss, diabetes control, and better sleep.
Today I’ll explain very simply the 10 biggest benefits of intermittent fasting and share practical tips to help you get started.
The purpose of this article is to explain the benefits of intermittent fasting; it is not to provide any medical/professional advice.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Fasting is when you abstain from eating, so intermittent fasting is the practice of alternating when you eat and when you don’t eat.
The hours that you fast (not eat) are known as your “fasting period,” and the period of time (hours) that you can eat is called your “eating window.”
With intermittent fasting, you are not restricted to eating certain foods, although most people greatly benefit from eating a variety of healthy foods while intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet . It is simply a schedule that you set yourself when you will eat your daily meals.
HOW DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING WORK?
Intermittent fasting works by allowing your body to focus on doing its vital functions during a period of time when no food is consumed.
Digestion requires quite a few bodily processes to be involved, so when you abstain from eating (fasting), you allow your body to focus on other important functions that produce benefits.
Without having to digest, the body can focus on burning fat, making hormones, regulating insulin, sleep cycles (sleeping better), and more. I explain these issues below.
Getting started is easy as all you have to do is choose the fasting schedule that works best for you and then move your meals to the eating window. The best part is that you don’t have to skip meals , just eat meals in a smaller hour period.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING?
It doesn’t matter if you choose a 12-hour fasting schedule or the popular 16:8 fasting method . Within a few days, you will start to notice some of the benefits.
Below I will explain the top 10 benefits that have been most researched and noticed by people who practice short and long term intermittent fasting.
1. WEIGHT LOSS
The number 1 reason many people decide to start intermittent fasting is its role in aiding weight loss.
During the fasting (not eating) period, your body first burns its sugar stores for energy; and once finished, it begins to burn fat. This is where the metabolism switches from burning sugar for energy to burning fat.
This means that during the fast, the body can use stored fat and, over time, help you lose weight and burn body fat.
2. ELIMINATE FOOD RESTRICTION “DIETING”
Although not technically a medical benefit, many people find it very helpful to have an eating window where they can enjoy their meals without worrying about going on a “diet” with a list of “allowed” foods .
The best part of intermittent fasting is that you don’t have to limit any particular food , as long as you make sure you’re getting the adequate calories your body needs for the day.
This gives many people a sense of freedom without feeling restricted by the types of food they can eat. This can be especially helpful for people who have tried and failed many diets when they feel deprived of their favorite foods or end up bingeing.
3. LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Studies on whether or not intermittent fasting lowers cholesterol are mixed*. Some studies show that it can reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL) when a person eats a healthy and varied diet.
Unfortunately, many of the people who don’t benefit from this are those on a keto diet, which consumes a lot of animal fat and protein, and which raises their cholesterol levels.
If you have heard that the best way to fast is by following a ketogenic diet and you suffer from high cholesterol, I invite you to read the following article, where I explain how to practice intermittent fasting without doing Keto .
Learn how to incorporate intermittent fasting the easy way with this comprehensive eBook!
4. REDUCED INFLAMMATION
For people struggling with chronic pain, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases, incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle can help reduce symptoms*.
Intermittent fasting reduces the body’s inflammatory response by decreasing the number of “monocytes” (inflammatory cells) that are released into the bloodstream. With fewer monocytes circulating, many people have been able to improve their quality of life simply by reducing their chronic pain.
And since inflammation goes hand in hand with many autoimmune diseases, many people successfully use intermittent fasting to manage their symptoms and reduce their chronic pain. If you are being treated for an autoimmune disease, see your doctor.
5. IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY
Some people report improved sleep quality and being able to sleep better when intermittent fasting. At the same time, people have reported increased insomnia, the latter believed to be due to caloric restriction, not intermittent fasting itself.
People who improve sleep quality also follow an intermittent fasting meal plan that includes a variety of healthy foods and does not restrict their bodies’ nutrition.
For example, if your last meal of the day is at 7 pm (7 pm), you have a couple of hours to digest the meal before going to bed. Once you fall asleep, your body can focus on hormone production, sleep more comfortably, and begin to heal and repair itself on a cellular level.
6. HELPS IN BRAIN FUNCTION
Because of the prolonged cellular repair that occurs overnight without having to focus on digestion, many people report feeling more alert while fasting in the morning.
This increase in cognitive function is because the body has been able to repair itself while you were sleeping, and because of this, you wake up more alert. Therefore, fasting can be beneficial to better focus on mental tasks. People often report that they are most productive in the morning before breaking their fast.
7. BLOOD PRESSURE BENEFITS
For some people, intermittent fasting can improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure*, especially in those who are not considered obese and are healthy or slightly overweight.
For others, the improvement in blood pressure levels is due to weight loss; but ultimately, improved cardiovascular health is considered a benefit of intermittent fasting.
8. INSULIN RESISTANCE
For people seeking help with managing diabetes, prediabetes, and other insulin-related conditions, following a 16-hour fasting schedule has been shown to reduce insulin resistance.
While insulin resistance can be caused by a number of factors, improving how your body (specifically the pancreas) responds to food through insulin responses (how much insulin it produces), can help prevent diabetes in people who are prediabetic or at risk of developing diabetes.
If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor about the pros and cons of intermittent fasting .
9. CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Intermittent fasting, when incorporated as part of a healthy lifestyle, can improve a person’s cardiovascular (heart) health. This includes cardiac functions and regulatory processes (such as blood pressure), as well as the circulatory system.
Over time, an improvement in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar (insulin) levels, and weight loss can dramatically help with long-term cardiovascular and heart (as an organ) health.
10. CELLULAR REPAIR
Our bodies are in a constant state of cellular repair due to lifestyle factors such as activity and stress, and due to health conditions.
Intermittent fasting can help with the cellular repair process, especially at night, by allowing the body to repair itself on a cellular level without being interrupted by the digestion process.
During periods of fasting, the body is able to repair pathways and improve the way it responds to oxidative stress (the breakdown of cells) especially during specific phases of fasting .
Fasting can promote long-term health across a variety of systems, including organ health, disease prevention, hormone regulation, and performance enhancement.
IS IT GOOD TO DO INTERMITTENT FASTING EVERY DAY?
Ideally, intermittent fasting is something that becomes a part of your lifestyle and you can incorporate it into your daily routine without feeling deprived or disrupting your lifestyle.
With as little as 12 hours of fasting, you will be able to experience many of the benefits listed above and improve your health in the long run. Both daily and alternate day fasting can be very beneficial for your health.
Intermittent fasting can be simple and easy to incorporate into your life when you understand how to do it correctly.
You can learn more about it in the intermittent fasting eBook that comes with a simple meal plan to help you get started.