6 Health Benefits of Fasting
Intermittent fasting is so commonplace now that you hear the term being thrown around just as much as ‘diet’ and ‘workout’. But how many of us actually know what types of benefits and drawbacks that intermittent fasting might have towards your health?
Here are the benefits:
- Promotes insulin resistance
Fasting can be beneficial for those who have or are at risk of diabetes, as it helps to improve and control blood sugar levels. So if you’re somebody who has a lot of spikes and crashes in blood sugar, listen up.
In various studies, it was found that intermittent or alternate-day fasting can be as effective as limiting calorie intake when it comes to reducing insulin resistance.
Why does that matter? Decreasing insulin resistance is important as it increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin, and it allows your body to transport glucose around to your cells more efficiently.
Without insulin, your body wouldn't be very effective in breaking down sugars in your body - which is what leads to a build-up of sugars in your blood, and greatly increases your chance of diabetes.
- Helps to fight inflammation
While acute inflammation is a normal immune response to help fight off infections, long term inflammation can have serious consequences for your health.
It has been found that fasting can help to decrease levels of inflammation. A study with 50 healthy adults found that fasting for a month significantly decreased inflammation markers.
- Enhancing heart health
Fasting may enhance heart health by lowering blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. With heart disease accounting for up to 31.5% of deaths, the act of fasting can help to reduce this statistic.
A study with 110 obese adults showed that fasting for three weeks under medical supervision saw a significant decrease in blood pressure, bad LDL cholesterol, as well as levels of blood triglycerides.
- Boost brain function & prevent neurodegerative disorders
While many studies have only been conducted on animals, it has been found that fasting can have a powerful effect on the brain.
One study with mice found that the practice of intermittent fasting helped to improve brain function and structure. Because fasting also helps to reduce inflammation, it may also play a key role in preventing neurodegenerative disorders.
- Aids Weight Loss
By limiting calorie intake and boosting metabolism, it's something a lot of dieters do to lose weight.
Some research shows that short term fasting can increase levels of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which could enhance weight loss.
- Benefits for growth, metabolism, weight loss and strength
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a type of protein that is vital to many aspects of your health including growth, metabolism, weight loss and strength - and fasting has been found to naturally increase HGH levels.
One small study conducted with nine men found that fasting for 2 days led to a 5-fold increase in HGH production levels.
While there are many benefits to fasting, it's always important to ensure that you are eating a nutritionally balanced diet every day. Fasting and starving yourself are two very different things!
If you're looking to incorporate fasting into your lifestyle, make sure to do your research and seek medical advice is necessary. Again, we're not medical experts... We're just people who love to snack.