List of 17 benefits of intermittent fasting

17 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting(IF) is one of the most popular health term .This method of fasting is quite famous nowadays .

Many influencers and CEOs have emphasized on intermittent fasting throughout the world.

You may have come here to know the benefits of IF before trying it. Congratulations … You have come to the right place.

Here we will look at the evidence based 17 benefits of intermittent fasting .

But before starting on benefits of intermittent fasting I would suggest you to go through this article:

5 Things You Must Know Before Starting Intermittent Fasting

Now let’s start our discussion on benefits of intermittent fasting :

Longevity

I think this is the most important benefit of intermittent fasting. Any diet plan which increase life span is healthy.

A research on fruit fly showed that intermittent fasting of 20 hour fast followed by 24 hour eating state shows 13% increase in life span of male fruit fly and 18% increase in female fruit fly.

Another research on human fibroblast cells delays aging in the cell in response to intermittent fasting.

A study on mice published on September 6, 2018, in Cell Metabolism showed that life span of mice increase by 11% due to intermittent fasting . Fasting induces autophagy and other repair mechanism which helps to maintain longevity.

Research on human aren’t done yet but there is high prospects of increase in life span by help of intermittent fasting.

Weight loss

2020 umbrella study found that intermittent fasting helps in weight loss and reduce insulin level, glucose level and blood pressure. This study analyzed more than 27 clinical research trails done on humans where more than 900 participants were analyzed. This study showed that Intermittent Fasting results in weight loss and reduce level of glucose and insulin.

Another study of 2014 showed that 3 – 8 % weight can be lost from Intermittent Fasting within 3 -24 weeks.

Also read : Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss: All things you need to know (2022)

The research have also shown that intermittent fasting helps to reduce 4-7 % of belly fat. Belly fat is also called visceral fat which can be harmful to abdominal organs.

Improves muscle mass

A systematic review of clinical trails conducted in 2015 has shown that intermittent fasting causes weight loss without hampering the muscle. IF improves your muscle mass.

Another study from 2020 says that intermittent fasting helps to improve lean body mass but decreases the body fat. So with help of intermittent fasting, you can save your muscle but reduce fat .

Reduces risk of Type -2 Diabetes by lowering insulin resistance

Research has shown that intermittent fasting can be an effective non-medicinal treatment option for type 2 diabetes.

Numerous studies have shown that insulin resistance is lowered by help of intermittent fasting. This will reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. For more, click here.

Better heart health

Intermittent fasting reduces the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the amount of good cholesterol (HDL).

Human studies on intermittent fasting has shown reduction in the both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The average reduction in systolic blood pressure was around 11 mm Hg and in diastolic blood pressure was 10 mm Hg. This reduction in blood pressure helps in the prevention of hypertension and other vascular diseases.

Research has shown that people who fast are 35 % safer from coronary heart disease like angina and heart attack.

Studies have also shown that intermittent fasting protects heart even if you start it after suffering from a cardiovascular events.

Reduces inflammation in body

Intermittent fasting helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation is the cause of many disease like asthma, arthritis and so on.

A study conducted in 2012 showed that during fasting of Ramadan , the level of inflammatory cytokines decreased . This reduction led to lower level of overall inflammation in the body.

Another 2006 study conducted in obese people with asthma showed that intermittent fasting reduces signs and symptoms of asthma and improves the quality of life.

Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation which will improve quality of life of people suffering from asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and much more.

Cellular Repair and Cleansing- Autophagy

Autophagy is the process by which cells consume their own body parts for repair and nutrition . Autophagy starts about 16-24 hour after fasting and it maximizes about 36 hours of fasting .

Autophagy is beneficial to reduce the risks of inflammatory diseases, cancer and neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .

For more on autophagy and intermittent fasting click here.

Helps to prevent cancer

Cancer cells require glucose for energy. They cannot utilize ketone bodies as fuel . So intermittent fasting will lead to reduction in the amount of blood glucose and increase the amount of ketone bodies. This will cause energy scarcity in cancer cells and reduce the chance of cancer .

A 20 year long longitudinal study done on rhesus monkey showed that caloric restriction increase the survival of the monkeys and reduce chances of cancer .

Intermittent fasting even helps to kill tumor cells and protect healthy cells during chemotherapy.(source)

Improves your Immune System

Intermittent fasting improves the immune system. Health problems can arise from immune system due to following reasons:

  • weak immune system which cannot fight against bacteria, virus and other pathogen
  • aggressive immune system which destroys the normal healthy cells

Research has shown that fasting reduces the aggressive immune response . It reduces the various chemicals (cytokines) which may lead to inflammation and destruction of normal cells.

On the other hand, fasting increases the capacity of immune system to fight diseases. A study conducted in mice showed that intermittent fasting helps to fight infection against bacteria Salmonella. Salmonella causes typhoid fever.

Another study done on people doing intermittent fasting during Ramadan showed that fasting helps to increase the number of macrophages. Macrophages are police of our body. They are essential for protection against virus, bacteria and cancer cells.

Study have also shown that fasting increases the hematopoietic stem cells( HSC). HSC forms RBC, WBC and platelets. This increase in HSC will be beneficial for the immune system and entire body.

Better skin

Intermittent fasting can be your secret cream for youthful skin. Aging of skin is caused by glycation. Glycation is promoted by insulin. Decreased insulin level during intermittent fasting will reduce glycation. This will help to make your skin more youthful.

Intermittent Fasting reduces wrinkles.

Fasting even helps to remove acne. Acne are caused due to increased production of sebum. Fasting can reduce sebum production up to 40%. This decrease in sebum production reduces the chances and complications of acne.

Better brain health

Let’s go back to evolution. When we were hunters and gatherers, foods wasn’t easily available at all times.

Human body and brain had to go through periods of fasting and feeding stage. The brain had to come up with solutions to find food. This task of brain was done mostly in fasting state. So, our human brain is designed to work efficiently on both fasting and fed state.

Many scientist believe that brain cells and other body cells undergo repair and maintenance in fasting state. These cells undergo growth in fed state.

Research has shown that fasting helps to reduce anxiety , depression and increase social functioning. You can find numerous examples of people in various forum talking about the benefits of fasting in their mood, cognitive ability and life.

There is a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin increases hunger but it also marks better brain development . A study on mice found that intermittent fasting brought increase in ghrelin compared to the one who ate throughout the day. This suggests that intermittent fasting helps in brain development.

Thus, we can say that intermittent fasting improves brain development , cognitive function , mood and other psychological aspects.

Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

There are plentiful research that shows the benefits of fasting in reducing risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Let’s understand their cause first.

The exact pathology isn’t known but in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s improper proteins accumulate in the neurons. These proteins increase in amount and finally lead to death of the neurons. This loss of neurons leads to the symptoms of these disease.

Intermittent fasting reduce risk of these disease. Intermittent fasting can induce autophagy. By help of autophagy, neurons can digest the improper proteins within themselves.

Research has shown that fasting can reduce the cognitive problems that we face as we age. Ketone bodies improves cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patient. Intermittent fasting leads to ketosis which will improve cognitive ability of the patients.

Improves Digestion

Intermittent fasting is helpful for your digestive system. It gives the necessary break to your digestion.

Studies suggest intermittent fasting increase helpful gut bacteria and increases the biodiversity .

Research has shown that excessive eating will produce obesity microbiome in your gut. Studies also suggest that short term fasting they provide long term beneficial effect to digestion.

Helps In Fatty Liver

Let’s first understand how fatty liver occurs. As name suggest, fatty liver is caused by deposition of fat in the liver.

Fat is deposited in liver when excessive fat are produced in it. High level of insulin and glucose influences the liver to produce fat. This excessive fat leads to fatty liver.

During intermittent fasting , level of insulin and glucose decrease. Body moves from state of fat formation to fat utilization. So, the liver burn its fat itself and helps to reduce fatty liver .

A total of six studies involving 417 patients were analyzed in 2021 research. This research showed that intermittent fasting is beneficial for liver enzymes and fatty liver.

Saves money

Intermittent fasting(IF) will help in your financial aspects as well. It saves you money.

IF makes you buy food that you need and avoid food that you want. You will understand that craving for food is unhealthy and unnatural. You will feel the difference between real hunger and unhealthy cravings.

Intermittent fasting will cut your snacks. Your body don’t need snack. IF will reduce expense of at least one meal.

By cutting on snacks and other unnecessary food items , you will save a lot of money from intermittent fasting. It will roughly be around $500 monthly.

Saves time

Choosing and preparing food takes a lot of our time. We spend at least 30 minute in each meal. It will also save time from preparing meals to cleaning dishes.

By shortening our eating window, we will save a lot of time for more productive items.

Improves Discipline

Following intermittent fasting will be hard in initial days. It needs a lot of discipline and self-esteem to follow intermittent fasting regularly.

Intermittent fasting will entangle you in rules of eating and fasting. When you follow these rules, you will sub-consciously improve your discipline.

Also read : Is fasting natural ?

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