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There are some major health benefits to intermittent fasting. But what exactly does this mean? Well, fasting has been around for thousands of years. Some people do it to lose weight. Some do it to cleanse the body of toxins. And others do it to achieve spiritual enlightenment or religious reasons. But not all fasting is the same. With intermittent fasting, you are to go a certain period of time during the day without eating. In fact, some people already do it and don’t even know that it has a name. Most people get around 6-8 hours of fasting in their day due to sleep, and others may go longer. Say for instance you eat dinner at 7pm and then don’t eat again until breakfast at 7 am. You have just intermittently fasted for 12 hours. There are many ways of doing this fasting, such as what I’ve already mentioned but this is a great way to start out on a fasting protocol.
But what is the point of fasting? Each person who fasts may have a different goal. Intermittent fasting can help with weight loss, which is a big goal for many who try it. But interestingly enough, there are many other amazing health benefits that get overlooked. One benefit is that intermittent fasting can help reduce insulin resistance of the body by balancing blood sugar levels. With normal blood sugar and insulin levels in the body, there is a decrease in inflammation of the body. This allows the body to function and work much better, as a result.
Other hormones in the body can be balanced due to this fasting as well, such as leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that regulates fat cell storage and leptin and ghrelin both regulate hunger signals to the brain. By fasting intermittently, these hormones balance out, which helps to control hunger signals.
Intermittent fasting can be really good for your brain and nervous system. There are many studies out there that show it can help to grow new nerve cells. This helps improve brain function and can also help repair damage caused to the brain. There are some new studies currently being conducted on how this can help people with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s. There needs to be more studies done on humans in this area but it’s a great start and there’s great potential for more findings in the future.
Intermittent fasting does help with weight loss and I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about that, too. While, that should not be the main focus, it really is a great side affect to this lifestyle adoption. After you finish your last meal and all the nutrients have been broken down, your body then begins to use glycogen stores as energy. Glycogen stores are built up from excess sugar and are to be used during a fast (most times it is used while a person sleeps). When you go 6-8 hours without food, your body will go through all the glycogen stores and then has to break down fat cells for energy. So by increasing the fasting time to 12 hours, you are ensuring that 6 hours or more will be burning fat for energy. And breaking down fat cells does help with weight loss.
If you are interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, feel free to reach out to me. It is important that you speak to your health provider before embarking on a new fasting routine, as it may not be the right fit for everyone.