Many people believe the best way to improve overall health, is to eat healthy. While eating a well balanced diet can help, exercise, laughter, and taking some time for enjoyment are all factors in achieving better health. Intermittent fasting is another way to boost overall health, when incorporated into a plan to make positive lifestyle changes.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a routine where eating regular meals alternates with periods of fasting. The fasting periods can be scheduled daily, a few times a week, or once a week. One popular regiment is fasting for 16 hours a day and only eating during an 8 hour window.
What are the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
- Extended Lifespan – It’s believed that intermittent fasting can benefit the body in many ways, from speeding up metabolism, to improving many functions. Experiencing fewer health problems as we age sets us up for a longer, healthier life.
- Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease – Fasting is thought to help reduce the likelihood of developing several neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies conducted so far show that fasting for a short time on a daily basis can have the most positive effect. Some common health problems associated with Alzheimer’s may also be reduced, by fasting on a regular basis.
- Good for brain function – Fasting can help reduce brain damage from stroke. It can also improve brain function and help the brain regenerate neurons, which are essential for proper brain function. Fasting also helps reduce stress and inflammation, which are both detrimental to brain function. It is thought that fasting may help those who suffer from depression, which is usually caused by too much of a certain chemical release in the brain.
- Encourages cellular repair – The aging process occurs because of cellular damage. When cells everywhere in the body are able to repair themselves, the aging process is slowed. It can help fight cancer and other disease. Fasting itself triggers a metabolic process where wastes are removed from the cells.
- Lose weight and abdominal fat– Losing weight and/or abdominal fat is something many of us would like to do. Fasting was once thought to slow metabolism. That is not the case. It can actually speed up metabolism and help the body break down fat. This is good news for those who tend to skip meals. As long as those fasting don’t consume extra calories during scheduled meals to make up for the loss, fasting on a regular basis can help with weight loss and the loss of belly fat.
- Reduce inflammation in the body – Many people suffer from health problems related to inflammation. Fasting can help reduce inflammation. In turn, many types of health problems can be eliminated or successfully managed, by intermittent fasting.
Fasting on a regular or routine basis won’t hurt most people. In fact, many experience better moods, find it easier to sleep, and easier to manage calorie intake. Fasting isn’t for everyone. But, it can be done with careful planning. This doesn’t mean hydration should be ignored. Even during fasting, water intake is acceptable and even encouraged. Intermittent fasting is a way to improve overall healthy lifestyle, without denying the body nutrients it needs for important processes.