Nowadays, intermittent fasting is everywhere in the news. From athletes to nutritionists, millions of people are praising its benefits. This dietary pattern has been shown to increase growth hormone levels, boosts sports performance, and increase lifespan. Moreover, it kick-starts your metabolism and “resets” your appetite.
Could these claims be true? What makes intermittent fasting so great for health? Let’s find out!
Boosts Growth Hormone Levels
Alternating between periods of fasting and feeding helps balance your hormone levels. Research shows that it can actually increase GH hormone levels as much as five-fold. This facilitates fat burning and muscle growth, slows down aging, and improves athletic performance.
Regulates Insulin Levels
Insulin resistance is a major contributing factor to diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease. With intermittent fasting, your risk of chronic disease will significantly drop.
This eating pattern lowers insulin levels and improves body composition. This leads to fat loss, increased fat oxidation, and better overall health. Basically, you’ll lose weight without having to give up dessert or follow restrictive diets.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Intermittent fasting keeps your heart healthy and helps prevent cardiovascular problems, no matter your age.
First of all, it helps decrease bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol levels. Secondly, it improves fat and glucose metabolism, leading ti an increase in adiponectin levels. These factors combined help reduce heart disease risk.
In a clinical trial, mice that fasted every other day had 66 percent higher chances to survive a heart attack compared to those on a traditional diet.
Supports Brain Function
This dietary pattern reduces inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain. At the same time, it promotes the growth of new nerve cells, which helps improve mental function.
In the long run, intermittent fasting increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels, leading to a lower risk of mental diseases. Furthermore, it helps your brain recover faster from stress and boosts cognition. Plus, you’ll experience improved mental focus, alertness, and concentration.
Slows Down Aging
Researchers agree that caloric restriction is the only proven way to slow down aging. That’s what intermittent fasting is all about.
This eating plan restricts your daily calorie intake, helping your cells recover and heal themselves. When you’re fasting, your body initiates a cellular “waste removal” process and repairs damaged tissues. This leads to a youthful appearance, better health, and reduced disease risk.
Cancer, for instance, is caused by unchecked cell growth. The cells in your body grow excessively and develop into tumors, attacking other tissues.
Intermittent fasting promotes cellular repair and rids your body of abnormal cells. At the same time, it triggers positive changes in your DNA and boosts immune function.
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
As you see, intermittent fasting has a myriad of benefits. On top of that, it’s flexible and can be adjusted to your needs.
Most people are already fasting without even realizing it. If you have dinner at 9 PM and take breakfast around 11 AM the next day, you’re already 13 hours into your fast.
Plus, there are various intermittent fasting protocols available. The Warrior Diet, the 5:2 Diet, and Alternate-Day Fasting are just a few examples. Choosing one comes down to your preferences. You can fast for as little as eight hours a day or as long as 24 hours.