Learn more about the real fasting health benefits and how you should engage in the practice without jeopardizing your health
We’ve seen so many fitness trends come and go that, not without reason, we become hesitant or even doubtful when a new one arises. But, are the fasting health benefits real? Is it safe? Should you do it? We’ve got the deets on this so you too can be in the know.
An intermittent fasting definition is as simple as abstaining from drinking or eating for a specific period of time. Sounds simple, right?
This should not be confused with starving yourself, which is what many people actually think of when they hear the phrase intermittent fasting, but rather be seen as a change in your eating habits and one that can promote a healthy pattern.
As we understand the intermittent fasting definition, we must know that it refers to a range of hours where we will not drink or eat anything at all – typically between 14 to 18 hours – followed by a period of time were we are allowed to eat whatever we want; obviously it is suggested and preferred that sticking to healthy foods.
While there are different fasting methods, it is always recommended to engage in the practice with the guidance and support of your Doctor, and after having a general check-up just to see if this methodology is right for you and your current health state.
Among the most common fasting methods you can find:
- Time Restricted Eating (defined above as intermittent fasting)
- Alternate Day Fasting
- 5:2 Diet: where you eat normally for 5 days, and cut back your calories to 500-600 the last 2 days)
- Warrior Diet: eating just fruits and veggies during the day, one larger balanced meal during the evening
- Daniel Fast: a full 21 days of avoiding meat, dairy, grains, coffee, alcohol and juices
Now, the physical benefits of fasting are the real goal that those who engage in this practice seek. It is well known that the fasting health benefits are many and, another good side is that they can be seen after just a few short days.
It is safe to say that within the physical benefits of fasting, the most common (and desired ones!) include:
- Weight Loss: fasting that is controlled within a determined number of hours forces the body to burn fat cells more effectively than regular dieting.
- Improves Body Composition: by affecting the fat tissues, it modifies the body’s composition and the way we metabolize our fat intake.
- Boosts Your Metabolism: because it affects the way certain hormones act, it improves leptin sensitivity which increases the speed of our metabolic rate.
- Improves Insulin Sensitivity: it allows for a better tolerant of carbs (sugar) and it helps insulin become more effective in the way it communicates with our cells to absorb glucose from blood.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health: this is probably one of the best benefits of the method, since it enhances cardiovascular function, blood composition and blood pressure.
- Promotes Hearth Health: intermittent fasting improves heart muscle performance, increases the growth of blood vessels within the heart and reduces free radical damage.
- Improves Brain Function: medical research has shown that fasting improves the growth of new nerve cells in the brain.
- Promotes a Stronger Immune System: by reducing inflammation within our system, the body becomes more resistant to viruses and illnesses.
- Modifies Eating Habits: with fasting you can readjust your natural desire to binge-eat or establish a healthier schedule of eating, where you actually pay attention to the calories you put in your body.
- Improved Skin: because out bodies are freed from having to process digestion, it takes a new focus on regenerating other systems; plus we eliminate the toxins that can promote the appearance of acne and skin irregularities.
- Promotes Healthy Stress Response: fasting challenges your body and brain, in a small yet healthy scale, which creates a wave of responses that protect neurons from damage and even death.
These fasting health benefits are indeed outstanding and can be just what you want or need to feel better, the important thing is to take the necessary precautions before you start with the method.
As with any new technique, is better to have the proper guidance than having to deal with unwanted side effects.