Holistic Health & Living

5 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Your Health

5-Benefits-of-Intermittent-Fasting-for-Your-Health_Intermittent Fasting photo

Intermittent fasting has become a well-known form of weight loss in recent years, involving designated periods of time in the day for eating and fasting with varying hours and patterns available, making it a very accessible routine for all sorts of people.

While its rise in popularity is due mainly to its effectiveness on weight loss, it also carries with it a range of benefits from heart health and mental health to cellular health and more, that can help you live a longer and healthier life.

What are some of the advantages you can expect from an intermittent fasting routine? Here are some of the best scientifically-backed reasons intermittent fasting may be right for you.

It can help you lose and retain weight long term

When it comes to weight loss, many people choose fad diets that ensure quick results. However, many of us should know by now that such diets are near impossible to keep for long periods of time and can have lasting negative effects on your health when the cycle is repeated often. And when your dieting period ends, it can be difficult to retain the weight you’ve lost, and you can even gain it, and some, back.

As we’ve previously mentioned, intermittent fasting is popular among those who want to lose weight, but it’s also much more effective in the long term as it is more of a pattern and lifestyle change than it is a diet.

While most short-term diets are restrictive when it comes to food, intermittent fasting solely restricts your time or ‘eating window,’ which can help you feel more satisfied with the foods and amounts you’re consuming.

If you’re just starting out with your intermittent routine, curbing hunger may be a challenge while your body adjusts. Appetite suppressants such as green tea extract, coffee, and apple cider vinegar are great natural remedies that can help you stay on track with your new eating plan.

It reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation

Aside from weight loss, intermittent fasting can also be greatly beneficial for some of the most common health problems older adults experience that are the causes of heart disease and stroke.

A 2018 study found that a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule significantly lowered high blood pressure among 23 participants. These results showed that an IF schedule when followed consistently, can regulate blood pressure effectively and in the long run.

One study found that cholesterol lowered significantly when alternate-day fasting was combined with endurance exercise, making it an incredibly helpful means to control and prevent coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases, which are also contributing factors to such illnesses, can be improved through fasting as one study showed through analyzing circulating monocytes.

It can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes

Losing weight and eating a healthier, balanced diet are the key factors to diabetes prevention. However, many individuals have difficulty retaining a consistent diet that involves calorie restriction.

A study published in 2014 found that intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting were equally as effective as traditional calorie restriction, and another study found that fasting also improved and lowered insulin resistance.

Given these findings, intermittent fasting may be the answer for many adults looking to reduce their calorie intake without feeling the same restrictions of a typical fad or short-term diet, as well as adults looking to improve their insulin and blood sugar levels.

It’ll help you get better sleep

Diet can affect wakefulness and sleepiness, something anyone who has ever experienced a sugar crash or food coma can attest to. High-carbohydrate foods can make you feel drowsy in the day, while caffeinated or sugary foods can keep you awake in the evenings and lead to insomnia.

Research suggests that intermittent fasting may improve the quality of sleep through the reinforcement of your circadian rhythms. It has also been found that people who regularly practice intermittent fasting have higher levels of human growth hormone, which burns fat, restores muscles, and helps the body repair itself at a cellular level during sleep. As a result, fasting practitioners may feel more rested and energized when they wake up.

It is beneficial for heart health

As intermittent fasting assists with controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes, it, in turn, benefits your cardiovascular health as the lowering and prevention of such factors also lowers the risk of life-threatening events like heart attacks, strokes, and other serious cardiovascular issues.

One study found that given intermittent fasting’s similarities to restricted dieting yet a higher rate of long-term adherence could provide cardiovascular benefits, while a more recent 2021 study showed that an intermittent fasting lifestyle can be used for the prevention, management, and treatment of cardiovascular disorders.

Final Note

Intermittent fasting has quickly become one of the most powerful weight loss tools for millions of people and has become a life-changing habit and lifestyle for so many for even more reasons. Given its different variations that can be adjusted according to your daily routine, making it a lifestyle whose benefits nearly anyone can enjoy is incredibly possible.

If you’re someone looking to prevent and manage various health issues that could negatively impact your life, intermittent fasting may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

References

Middlebrook, Hailey. “Yo-Yo Dieting Dangerous for Women’s Hearts, Study Says.” CNN, 15 Nov. 2016, https://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/15/health/yoyo-dieting-harms-hearts/.

Gabel, Kelsey, et al. “Effects of 8-Hour Time Restricted Feeding on Body Weight and Metabolic Disease Risk Factors in Obese Adults: A Pilot Study.” Nutrition and Healthy Aging, vol. 4, no. 4, 15 June 2018, pp. 345–353.

Klempel, Monica C., et al. “Alternate Day Fasting and Endurance Exercise Combine to Reduce Body Weight and Favorably Alter Plasma Lipids in Obese Humans.” Obesity: A Research Journal, 14 Feb. 2013.

Jordan, Stefan, et al. “Dietary Intake Regulates the Circulating Inflammatory Monocyte Pool.” Cell Press, vol. 178, no. 5, 22 Aug. 2019, pp. 1102–1114.

Barnosky, Adrienne R., et al. “Intermittent Fasting vs Daily Calorie Restriction for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention: a Review of Human Findings.” Translational Research, vol. 164, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 302–311.

Grajower, Martin M., and Benjamin D. Horne. “Clinical Management of Intermittent Fasting in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus.” Nutrients, 18 Apr. 2019.

Almeneessier, Aljohara S., et al. “The Effects of Diurnal Intermittent Fasting on the Wake-Promoting Neurotransmitter Orexin-A.” Annals of Thoracic Medicine, Jan. 2018, pp. 48–54.

Ho, K.Y., et al. “Fasting Enhances Growth Hormone Secretion and Amplifies the Complex Rhythms of Growth Hormone Secretion in Man.” Journal of Clinical Investigation, Apr. 1988, pp. 968–975.

Dong, Tiffany A., et al. “Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern?” The American Journal of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2020, pp. 901–907.

Ahmed, Naseer, et al. “Impact of Intermittent Fasting on Lipid Profile–A Quasi-Randomized Clinical Trial.” Frontiers in Nutrition, Feb. 2021.

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