Intermittent Fasting As Fountain Of Youth: Weight Loss, Brain Health And Other Benefits

First Posted: Dec 27, 2016 03:10 AM EST

Over the past years, intermittent fasting (IF) has gained immense popularity across the globe. Now, it has been widely used to boost brain power, curb aging and help people lose weight. But, is it really effective?

For years, studies have shown that people who consumed fewer calories seemed to live longer than those who eat more. Today, there are various studies showing how intermittent fasting can help people become healthy by losing weight, improving one's brain health and slowing down the aging process.

Fasting entails limiting one's food intake or not eating at all. For example, by consuming the last meal at 8 p.m. and not eating until noon the next day, it's like fasting for approximately 16 hours. Many individuals perform this fasting about 2 to 3 days per week, hence, the name intermittent fasting. 

However, there are many variations that exist and it can be adapted to each person depending on their lifestyle. Some people reduce the quantity of the food they eat while others stop eating completely. Intermittent fasting usually lasts between 16 and 24 hours in a row.

Major Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

According to Business Insider, mice with feedings restricted to certain hours of the day became thinner than mice who were fed whenever. However, most studies involving intermittent fasting were done on mice and fruit flies, not much on humans and primates.

High50 reports that intermittent fasting helps increase the levels of the human growth hormone, which results in improved muscle mass and bone health. As a result, it slows the aging process. IF also reduces the levels of circulating glucose, improving insulin sensitivity. When the body is insulin sensitive, it reduces insulin resistance. When there is a balance, weight loss happens and it reduces the risk of most chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

IF improves cardiovascular health by reducing the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and prevents high blood pressure. Meanwhile, it reduces inflammation in the body and decreases oxidative stress. Hence, it prevents cell damage by free radicals and increases lifespan. Lastly, intermittent fasting has been linked to gut health. This is because it boosts the health of the microbiome.

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