Intermittent Fasting - What Is It and Why You Need It
Have you been thinking about doing intermittent fasting, but you just don't know if it's right for you? Or maybe you're concerned about getting caught up in the hype of this fad and you don't know if it's really something that works.
You're right to be cautious because intermittent fasting is suitable for many people, but not so much for others. When done correctly, it's a massive benefit to your body.
We do recommend if you've never done intermittent fasting before, you find a nutritionist to help guide you through properly and give you the best chance of success.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
This process of intermittent fasting takes a set number of hours or days to skip consuming food. It is a fast. Some plans are for 18 hours, some are for a full day, and some cover a couple of days. If you're new, we don't recommend doing anything more than 18 hours at first.
Most commonly, intermittent fasting is taking one full day a week not to eat. During this one day, you help your body flush out extra stuff in your intestine and help reset your digestion, hormones, and expectations towards food. Many different people are trying this fast, including athletes, actors, office workers, and students.
Fortunately, you don't need anything special, just stop eating and drink more water.
The people who need to be concerned about intermittent fasting are people with digestive disorders, blood sugar issues, have low blood pressure, or anxiety disorders over food. If you've never done fasting before, we recommend talking to your doctor before attempting this.
What Intermittent Fasting Does For Your Body
Study upon study shows intermittent fasting works well for the body. Let's take a look at what it helps.
Various studies show intermittent fasting helps the body improve its resistance to oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body, and especially in the brain. These two problems are significant for reducing memory function and concentration. It can help with the growth of new nerve cells and the maintenance of current memory cells.
Oxidative stress often causes deterioration of the myelin sheath around nerve cells, leading to pain and memory loss. And during intermittent fasting, a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor increases, helping to reduce depression and anxiety.
Reducing your food intake for a short period can help reduce IBS symptoms, colitis, and reflux. Because fasting helps reduce inflammation for your whole body, it helps reduce the pain and irritation that comes with digestive problems.
And it gives your digestive system a chance to take a little break. Your digestive system is continuously working like your heart, so letting it have a short break helps clear out waste and built-up matter in your intestine. As a bonus, it can help reduce the amount of non-beneficial yeast and bacteria. Sugar-loving yeast and bacteria, like Candida, suffer during intermittent fasting, while beneficial probiotics like acidophilus and lactobacteria not only survive, but can thrive during this time.
All of your hormones benefit from intermittent fasting. In particular is the hormone insulin. The initial studies focused on people with type 2 diabetes and showed that intermittent fasting drastically reduced blood sugar levels during the fast and throughout the following week. That can reduce your A1C levels and help protect against kidney damage.
So then, scientists start branching out and looking if you can help insulin levels for people without diabetes and found the same thing. In fact, intermittent fasting helped reduce the risk for people who are at high risk.
It also helps increase the human growth hormone, which helps facilitate fat metabolism and muscle building.
Some side studies also show it can help improve sex hormone levels, which can help women have more energy and lower PMS symptoms, and reduced menopause symptoms later in life.
Looking to lose a little weight? Just by not eating during intermittent fasting, you're consuming less food, which can automatically help you lose weight. But that's only if you maintain or lessen the amount of food you eat otherwise.
That's not the only thing. Intermittent fasting helps improve the hormones that help keep you at a healthy weight. Between the lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels, and increase norepinephrine, your body increases its metabolic rate somewhere between 3.6 and 14%.
It's probably one of the few things you can do without significantly changing your diet or exercise pattern that will help you lose weight. Plus, it helps reduce belly fat, which is one of the highest predictors of heart disease.
You would think that your energy levels decrease if you're not eating. And that may be true the first or second time you do intermittent fasting. But as your body adjusts to the habit, your body takes these moments of rest and switches to the fat-burning mode, which gives you more energy and better weight loss. And as you feel more energy, you'll get out and do more things, which only accelerates weight loss and your health.
We hope you give intermittent fasting a try it because it's one of the things that can really enhance your health. Just remember, if you're new to this, talk to a nutritionist or a doctor to make sure you're healthy enough for this technique.