How Intermittent Fasting Helps the Body

May 7, 2022 | Be Well

How Intermittent Fasting Helps the Body

Food is vital to our body, and we must eat it at least three times a day.  But what happens when you go through fasting? What benefits can you get from it? Intermittent fasting helps the body in many ways, and if you are interested in trying fasting, here’s what you need to know. 

What is Intermittent Fasting? 

When we talk about intermittent fasting, it means you do not eat for some time each day. It is also known as an eating pattern where you cycle between fasting and eating. There are different kinds of intermittent fasting that you can try. The most common method used is the 16/8 and the 5/2. According to studies, when you practice fasting, your brain and body can benefit from them tremendously. 

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting 

Many scientists have explored the possibility of intermittent fasting and its benefits. Over time, they have uncovered that fasting is beneficial to the body, particularly the immune system, neurological responses, metabolism, and muscular development. But among these benefits, here are five of the best reasons why intermittent fasting helps your body. 

#1. Decreases the risk of developing illnesses

There are plenty of diseases affecting both men and women. Among these illnesses include heart disease which is the number one killer for both genders to date. Arthritic conditions, as well as obesity, are also among the contributors that affect men and women. 

Intermittent fasting helps by reducing any inflammation in the body and the risks of developing these types of diseases. It also helps lower blood pressure, sugar levels, triglycerides,  LDL or bad cholesterol, and inflammatory markers. Although these studies were conducted on animals, scientists may need to dive deeper into this to prove that intermittent fasting is indeed good for the heart. 

#2. Aids your weight loss

Intermittent fasting was proven to be effective in weight loss if done for a shorter period. According to studies, an 8-week trial on intermittent fasting has proven effective if you plan to lose weight. However, it is inconclusive if done for more extended periods since the test was only eight weeks.

The diet you eat also plays a part in gaining or losing weight during fasting. Plus, the amount of weight you lose is not far from what you would expect from a calorie-restricted diet, and depending on the number of calories you eat each day may contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. However, if done correctly, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight in the long run. 

#3. Reduces cholesterol levels

One of the top killers among men and women is obesity. Practicing intermittent fasting helps reduce the levels of your cholesterol, especially the LDL or harmful cholesterol levels. When you pair exercises with fasting, you help your body reduce triglycerides or fats found in the blood. Intermittent fasting can lessen the likelihood of getting a stroke, heart attack, and other types of heart disease. 

#4. Improves brain function

Another benefit of intermittent fasting is that it boosts your mental concentration and acuity. Research also showed that you help reduce the risk of memory decline that comes with age when you fast. IF or intermittent fasting also improves the connection of the brain’s hippocampus and protects it against amyloid plaques. These plaques are often found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

#5. Intermittent fasting improves sleep

Your diet impacts your sleeping patterns, but according to studies, IF can help improve your sleeping habits. The theory is that intermittent fasting helps regulate the circadian rhythm, which is responsible for our sleeping patterns. When the circadian rhythm is regulated, you can fall asleep quickly and feel refreshed the next day. Another theory centers on the fact that having your last meal earlier in the evening could mean that you’ll have digested the food by the time you hit the pillow. Going to sleep with a full stomach could lead to heartburn or reflux, making it harder to sleep. 

Should You Try Intermittent Fasting?

Before trying this method, it would be best to understand the pros and cons of fasting. Remember that IF is not for everyone; it takes patience and discipline not to give in to food cravings during the first hour of fasting. It is also wise to talk to your physician first, so you can see if it is something that you like or if you can try other alternatives without depriving yourself of food. 

Intermittent fasting helps the body in many ways, and with a proper meal plan and exercise, you can lose weight, improve sleep, optimize brain function, and prevent heart disease. Make sure to weigh all the options first.