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Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting – What Makes This Trending Mode Of Fasting So Special?

Your topmost favorite celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth are right now obtaining the maximum health benefits of intermittent fasting. Fasting and benefits? Yes! It has a huge impact on our health.

Intermittent Fasting

Because intermittent fasting is nothing like any other fasting where you starve yourselves for an entire day. Here is everything about this trending method of fasting with a much more emphasis on intermittent fasting benefits.

Table of Contents

What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?
10 Quick Facts – Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Different Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan – What To Eat?
Intermittent Fasting Side Effects

What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?

How do you usually fast? Not eat or drink anything for an entire day and only rely on tea and coffee at regular intervals? Take a look at how intermittent fasting is different from this get to know about various health benefits of intermittent fasting.

You can eat the foods of your own choice (healthy ones) but be selective about the timings! For example, the 16/8 method of fasting is one of the intermittent fasting methods that is more commonly followed wherein you eat all the healthy foods only between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

So basically, your stomach remains empty after 8 in the night till 12 noon in the next day (16 hours). You are eating regularly and also fasting regularly which is why the type of fasting is called intermittent fasting, intermittent meaning “at regular intervals.”

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Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?

Intermittent fasting has become a buzzword in today’s fitness world and the reason why most of the celebrities are adapting themselves to this method of fasting is that this method of fasting keeps both your mind and stomach away from all the unnecessary junk foods.

So when you are setting particular timings to have your food and plan the rest of the time to stay away from all the junk, doesn’t this set a biological clock and improve your metabolism?

If you are still unclear on how this method of fasting is implemented, Don’t worry, there are some effective types of intermittent fasting explained in detail at the end of the article.

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10 Quick Facts – Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

You technically say you are fasting. But what is happening inside your stomach all the time you keep it empty is so wonderful!

Let us understand how much of a positive change, intermittent fasting brings into our lives. Here are some amazing health benefits of intermittent fasting.

1. How Intermittent Fasting Improves Your Digestion?

Improves Your Digestion

When you follow the 16/8 method of fasting, you do not eat anything after 8:00 pm. So, you allow your stomach to absorb the foods properly and give enough time for the foods to get digested.

Sleeping immediately after having your meals can bring in many digestive disorders some of which like acid reflux can become permanent which is why intermittent fasting benefits you in the best possible way to keep your digestive system healthy.

Nutritionists and health professionals always recommend you to have your dinner before 8:00 pm and this is because, the more time you give your stomach to get the digestive process done, the better is the digestion.

2. Intermittent Fasting To Shed The Unnecessary Fat

To Shed The Unnecessary Fat

Norepinephrine(1) is one of the hormones that get released when you go on a fast and this hormone is responsible for burning the excess fat. However, you must be careful about not letting your stomach remain empty for prolonged hours which may otherwise lower your metabolism.

Also, you will restrict yourself from the habit of binge eating when you fast, which prevents the building up of all the unnecessary fats which may otherwise get accumulated.

3. Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Detoxification

Detoxification

You will be surprised to know that intermittent fasting helps in cleansing the damaged cells from your body, and this happens because of a hormone called glucagon that increases in levels when you starve yourself.

So, fasting is the best way to eliminate all the toxins from your body and purify your entire system. The cleansing process which is known as autophagy can be done better when there is an increase in glucagon.

The best part of detoxification is that it makes your skin look fresh and clean since toxic wastes are all eliminated.

4. Intermittent Fasting For Diabetes

Intermittent Fasting For Diabetes

Insulin resistance is the underlying problem in people who suffer from high blood sugar levels or (hypocalcemia) the symptoms of which can be cured with the help of intermittent fasting.

The energy or the glucose that we get from various foods, gets converted into glycogen only when our body produces enough insulin because it is the insulin that is responsible for this conversion.

People suffering from diabetes may feel weak and experience fatigue as they suffer from insulin resistance where their pancreas does not release required amounts of insulin due to which, the glucose gets stored in the cells instead of getting converted to energy.

There have been many instances where intermittent fasting for diabetes has worked wonders as it reduces the insulin resistance.

5. Helps In The Regeneration Of New Stem Cells

New Stem Cells

Intermittent fasting helps in the regeneration of stem cells, the cells which can replace the dead and diseased cells or tissues in the body. The power of stem cells is such, they are being used to treat some dreadful diseases like cancer.

One of the most significant health benefits of intermittent fasting is the regeneration of new stem cells that replace the old ones.

When there is a regeneration of new stem cells, your immune system can become much stronger as the new cells are active, healthy and vigorous.

6. Intermittent Fasting Benefits – Look Young And Beautiful

Look Young And Beautiful

When there is a healthy maintenance of mitochondrial networking(2) inside your body, your body can perform the process of autophagy more effectively and this can help in an easy elimination of toxic wastes from your body.

Researches have proved that when the functioning of mitochondria is more effective, it’s quality is enhanced which increases the lifespan of a person.

7. Intermittent Fasting Reduces Your Cholesterol

Reduces Your Cholesterol

Is cholesterol really bad for our health!? We might think so but do you actually know that there is something called good cholesterol also?

Cholesterol is classified into two types namely High-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is the good cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is known as bad cholesterol.

It has been proven from many experiments that the level of HDL actually increases when one follows intermittent fasting and that the levels of LDL gradually decrease because of this fasting method.

Protecting our heart health from being prone to various cardiovascular disease by controlling the good and bad cholesterol is one best health benefits of intermittent fasting.

8. Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

You will only follow a right path when you set some rules or standards for yourself, otherwise, we must all agree that self-control is really difficult for us! So, when you make up your mind to follow intermittent fasting, will the things be really the same as ever?

You will refrain yourself from eating anything before 12 in the noon and after 8 in the night and by this I mean to say that your dietary habits are going to change (less food intake) which is the most required attribute for weight loss.

I feel this is the most sensible way anyone can opt to witness a quick weight loss because you are simply restricting your timings and being gentle on yourself by not really starving yourself to look slim fit.

Hormonal changes that favour weight loss!

In addition to your reduced calorie intake, your body releases two different hormones namely epinephrine and norepinephrine which actually help in burning your excess body fat.

One interesting fact that will be an added advantage of intermittent fasting for weight loss is that there will be a significant decrease in a type of fat called triglycerides, the type of fat which may cause various heart problems.

9. Intermittent Fasting Elevates Your Mood & Fights Depression

You will no longer face another lousy and lethargic day if you change your dietary lifestyle from regular to intermittent fasting mode! Because, by doing so, you will actually be able to safeguard and protect the life of newly formed neurons in your brain.

The fact is, new neurons are being generated in your brain every single day, but your daily activities can determine whether they actually live or die. (Death of these neurons causes depression)

Apart from intermittent fasting, physical exercises and indulging yourself in playful activities is one way to protect the life of new neurons

But intermittent fasting benefits are so vast, it would be a wise decision to choose this lifestyle to protect yourself from some serious mental disorders

10. Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Inflammation

Inflammation

If you have been suffering from any one of the autoinflammatory diseases that cause some of the annoying symptoms like the emergence of rashes, joint pains or swellings that don’t usually go away, it’s time for you to make a slight change in your eating habits and go for intermittent fasting.

The main cause of inflammation is (inflammasome) which is a group of proteins that are responsible for triggering the inflammation in your body.

It is a proven fact that intermittent fasting helps in the release of a certain type of a chemical called beta hydroxyl butyrate that prevents the production of these group of proteins (inflammasome) which may actually trigger the symptoms of inflammation.

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Different Types Of Intermittent Fasting

Now that you know about various health benefits of intermittent fasting, let us take a deeper look at how to implement this multi-beneficial mode of fasting. Here is a detailed explanation of three major types of intermittent fasting and foods to be included in the intermittent fasting meal plan.

1. 5:2 Method Of Intermittent Fasting

5:2 Method Of Intermittent Fasting

One advantage of the 5:2 mode of intermittent fasting is that, unlike the 16/8 method of fasting, you do not restrict the timings of the day, rather you will have to restrict your weekly timings.

You can choose any two days of the week as per your convenience and choose to consume no more than 500 to 600 calories of food only on those two days. Since the method involves you fasting for 2 days and eating for the rest of 5 days, the method is known as 5:2 method of fasting.

You can eat the foods of your own choice for the rest of the days. But since you are looking out to achieve the health benefits of intermittent fasting, you must essentially be careful about the types of foods that you choose to eat for the rest of the days.

Ensure that you go for those foods that are particularly aimed at weight loss instead of choosing the unhealthy and the junk.

2.The 16/8 Method Of Intermittent Fasting

The 16:8 Method Of Intermittent Fasting

As we have discussed this type of sample plan earlier, the method of fasting requires you to restrict the timings of the day. You can only eat your foods from 12 in the noon till 8 in the eight.

So, technically you have to postpone your breakfast to 12:00 pm and prepone your dinner to 8:00 pm. This makes you fast for 16 hours (8:00 pm – 12:00 pm) and eat anything between the 8 hours’ time spam (12:`00 pm – 8:00 pm) which is why this method is known as 16/8 method of fasting.

You have to make sure that you choose only healthy foods to eat for the eight hours.

3. 24 Hours Fasting

24 Hours Fasting

This is the least common method of fasting you could opt and which according to my opinion is quite similar to any regular kind of fasting. The method of fasting requires you to go on a fast, continuously for 24 hours twice in a week.

You can only drink water or other refreshing beverages like tea or coffee, but you have to be very particular about refraining yourself from consuming any kind of solid foods.

This may be quiet difficult and require a lot of patience as you are completely prohibited from consuming the eatables.

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Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan – What To Eat?

Since you are restricting your timings, there is no better option other than including as many healthy foods as you can during the restricted time of your diet plan.

The strategy to obtain the maximum health benefits of intermittent fasting is to be more precise about choosing the healthy foods and cutting down on the sugary, processed and packed foods.

Find More: How Many Grams of Sugar Should Eat Per Day

Each type of intermittent fasting varies from the other. So, here is the list of foods that as a part intermittent fasting meal plan work the best for any type.

1. Choose Protein-Rich Foods To Reduce Your Appetite

When you are given an option to eat your choice of foods and fast for the rest of the time, one best trick that you can follow that will not let you starve for the rest of the time is choosing protein-rich foods.

Choose Protein-Rich Foods To Reduce Your Appetite

Choose these protein-rich foods to curb your hunger pangs and stay up for a much longer time.

  • Eggs
  • Almonds
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Peas
  • Sprouts
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken breast
  • Beef
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Whey protein powder
  • Milk
  • Cottage cheese
2. Nutrient-Rich Fresh Fruits

The best way to procure the required nutrients from fresh fruits is to keep consuming any one of these varieties of fruits once in two hours.

You can choose to completely rely on fruits when you go on a 5:2 fasting or 24 hours fasting.

Nutrient-Rich Fresh Fruits

  • All kinds of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, goji berries, cranberries)
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Durians
  • Kiwis
  • Oranges
  • Lemon
  • Pineapples
  • Papaya
  • Pomegranates
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Watermelons
  • Bananas
3. Leafy Greens

Going on a fast requires you to sustain with some great energy levels. Leafy vegetables are the best foods that can increase stamina. Here are the best foods that will help you retain your energy levels and boost your stamina.

Leafy Greens

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Romaine
  • Collard greens
  • Arugula
  • Microgreens
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips
  • Parsley

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Intermittent Fasting Side Effects

We cannot really say that there is a certain list of intermittent fasting side effects. It is perhaps the health condition you have to keep in mind before choosing to fast.

If you look at the bright side, health benefits of intermittent fasting are numerous but if you can relate yourself from any of the following health conditions, you must definitely avoid following intermittent fasting.

  • If you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you cannot really curb your hunger and appetite, intermittent fasting may cause you stress and anxiety.
  • Effects of Intermittent fasting on children is very strong because as grown adults, they need to acquire as many nutrients and proteins as possible for a stabilized growth. So, it is not much advisable for children and teenagers to follow intermittent fasting.
  • If you are already skinny, you may experience a greater loss of muscle fat. If you wish to obtain the other health benefits of intermittent fasting, you may as well go for a 16/8 method of fasting and be more cautious about consuming those foods that help in building your muscular strength.

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Bottom Line:
Whether it is diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity, intermittent fasting has become a brand new solution that combats all kinds of major health problems. If you haven’t been able to maintain a stable health, prepare a perfect diet plan with the above mentioned foods, make up your mind and get set to go for this amazing method of fasting.