In the world of health and fitness trends, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity as of late, which may be due to its advocacy by known celebrities like Terry Crews, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jennifer Lopez to name a few. Nonetheless the benefits of IF alone are sufficient enough to get why it has been growing as a lifestyle choice.
IF can’t be defined as a dieting plan but rather as an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It does not specify what you should eat but rather when you should eat. There are various methods of following IF, with the 16/8, Eat-Stop-Eat, and the 5:2 methods being popular ones.
Out of the numerous health benefits of IF, slowing down aging so that you live longer is perhaps the most enticing one. A study conducted by making rats fast showed that fasted rats lived 36 to 83% longer. Read on to know how IF can increase your years!
Autophagy is a process by which cells break down damaged molecules and recycle them to make new molecules. It’s basically the cell’s self-cleaning mechanism. When you’re fasting, your insulin levels drop. This decrease in insulin stimulates autophagy in cells. Therefore, IF indirectly promotes cells to clean themselves. Severely damaged cells can be precursors to cancer and such cells are also destroyed by autophagy. By getting rid of weak and damaged cells, autophagy decreases the risk of many disorders like Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow, Parkinson’s, dementia and various cancers.
What does your body do when you do not eat and hence not give it a constant source of energy? It starts using up your reserve energy stores of course which are your fats! By eating less food your calorie intake decreases automatically. The release of various metabolism increasing hormones is also stimulated such as Human Growth Hormone and Norepinephrine. Therefore you eat less and burn more during IF, lowering your risk of life-threatening diseases like type 2 Diabetes, cancers of breast and colon, and stroke.
IF decreases most of the intrinsic risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. These factors include LDL (aka “Bad” cholesterol), blood triglycerides (fats), inflammatory markers, blood sugar, and insulin resistance. The decrease in LDL is of particular importance in decreasing the risk of heart diseases.
BELLY FAT LOSS
Belly fat is the most harmful as it can build up around your organs and cause a number of diseases. As mentioned earlier, fasting lowers insulin levels and increases human growth hormone levels, both of which contribute to reduction of fat. According to a study, participants lost around 4-7% of their belly fat due to IF. Reducing belly fat decreases the risk of many chronic conditions.
Your body is filled with feedback mechanisms. Decreasing a necessary component of any part results in your body responding to make more of that component. IF decreases the number of white blood cells (WBCs) circulating in your blood, thus activating production of new ones by stem cells in your bone marrow, liver and spleen. The generation of these new WBCs makes your body more prepared for future diseases, hence playing a crucial role in longevity!
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