Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
If you’re a fan of diet and fitness, you’ve undoubtedly heard of intermittent fasting. This is an eating plan that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. You already do this, even though you may not be aware that you do. You most likely sleep through the night without getting up for a snack. Conscious intermittent fasting plans prolong the period without food to promote improved health and wellness, and this includes weight loss.
There are different variations as far the timing involved is concerned. Many people begin with a conscious commitment to a 12 hour fast and a 12 hour feast. Then they move hour by hour until they get to the schedule that is their goal. Many people opt for the eventual 8 hour feast and 16 hour fast.
You can actually tailor the schedule as you wish.
In the beginning, before I understood the best way to practice intermittent fasting, I would fast on Sunday. Getting up and having breakfast, I would then only have water, tea or vegetable broth until breakfast the following morning. I did this for quite a while, and sometimes was more successful with it than others. Some weeks I think I enjoyed it as it was a break for cooking for me for a whole day!
The feast/fast schedule during each day on a consistent basis is more sustainable and, in my opinion, easier to maintain. Here are some of the health benefits intermittent fasting (IF) provides:
- Reduce oxidative damage. Normal cellular metabolism produces free radicals. These highly reactive molecules cause damage in your body. Antioxidants are one class of nutrients that counteract these effects. Intermittent fasting reduces the presence of free radicals, resulting in less oxidative damage.
- Oxidative damage is also a suspect in the aging process. The damage done by oxidative stress eventually adds up.
- Reduce inflammation. Inflammation is in the news on a daily basis. Systemic inflammation is caused by your immune system. This low-grade inflammation is rarely noticed, but it’s implicated in many chronic diseases. Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and even depression are several examples of chronic disease. In fact, ongoing research is supporting the theory that chronic inflammation is the root cause of disease and premature aging.
- The foods we eat are major contributors to inflammation. By sustaining a longer fasting period, you can reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. Of course, this reduction in inflammation is amplified by making smart choices when you do eat.
- Reduces obesity and hypertension. If you only eat for a few hours per day, you will eat less. When you eat less, you weigh less. Hypertension is also reduced by intermittent fasting, most likely due to a combination of weight loss and reduced inflammation.
- Obesity is implicated as a contributing factor in many diseases. Getting your weight under control is an important goal.
- IF has been found to improve, or even reverse, Type-2 diabetes. Reducing the number of times you eat each day will reduce the amount of insulin released by your pancreas. This helps to improve insulin sensitivity. Again, losing weight is also believed to be a factor in improving any Type-2 diabetes challenges.
By reducing hypertension, inflammation, and blood sugar issues, the likelihood of developing heart disease is much lower. Intermittent fasting can be that powerful. I have a friend who has lost more than thirty-five pounds and is still losing. In addition, she has been successful in backing herself off from being diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Now that’s powerful!
Intermittent fasting has been shown to provide you with numerous health benefits. Again, as mentioned previously, it’s still necessary to choose your foods wisely. The quality of your diet is still important. No diet will turn doughnuts and chips into health foods. It is still up to you to make healthy choices to support your long term health and wellness!
I found a wonderful book on Intermittent Fasting for beginners written by Lori Shemek that I want to share. It’s available on Kindle (you do not need a Kindle to read it…just download the Kindle app to your computer). Here is a link so you can check it out: http://cherylloves.me/lorishemekIF
Intermittent fasting can be an effective way to combat aging and many diseases. Of course, it’s still necessary to follow the advice of your physician. Start slowly. Try committing to twelve hours of fasting and twelve of feasting. You’ll be an intermittent faster before you know it!
I invite you to subscribe to my new podcast “Major Health Tips in Digestible Bites”. I just dropped a new episode, so check out the great information that’s free for you to listen to anytime, anywhere!
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
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I don’t just teach this; I live it!