Intermittent fasting, the process of alternating short periods of fasting with normal food intake, is a relatively popular weight loss tool.
What many people don't realize, however, is that it can make an impressive whole-body health tool as well.
Intermittent fasting can improve your quality of life, protect you against deadly diseases and even keep you looking younger and living longer.
If you've been searching for that elusive fountain of youth, you may have just found it in intermittent fasting.
One of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting is increased longevity, or simply put, living longer.
Periodic fasting appears to protect your body's cell from dying off prematurely. It also reduces the amount of oxidative damage your body's cells receive.
This combination results in a slower progression of aging and its various symptoms.
Intermittent fasting also affects longevity by helping to combat conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Reducing these risks makes it less likely that you'll succumb to a stroke, heart attack or serious infection, thereby increases your chances of living a longer, fuller life.
Intermittent fasting appears to protect the brain from degenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease.
It works by making the neurons more resistant to damage caused by oxidative and metabolic stress, and the over-stimulation of neurotransmitters.
If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, intermittent fasting can slow the progression of the disease, allowing you to preserve important aspects of your cognitive function, including memory, thought processing and reading comprehension.
Intermittent fasting has also shown promise in treating a variety of other neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's, epilepsy and some chronic pain syndromes.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin resistance is a common problem wherein your body does not respond properly to normal amounts of insulin.
This is serious, as it can lead to diabetes later on.
For some people, alternate day fasting can increase your body's response to insulin and allow it to start functioning normally again. This is because it changes the levels of certain hormones, particularly leptin, in your body.
Intermittent fasting can also increase insulin sensitivity indirectly by inducing weight loss; however, you don't need to lose weight to experience the increase in sensitivity.
Immune System Modulation
Recent studies have shown that fasting intermittently can be a great immune system regulator. It does this by reducing the levels of inflammatory cytokines within your body.
This has several positive affects.
It will reduce your risk of developing heart problems, such as coronary artery disease, and autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you already have an autoimmune disorder, you may experience a decrease in symptoms and flare-ups if you begin an intermittent fasting regimen.
The immune system modulation that intermittent fasting provides may also be helpful if you have moderate to severe allergies, including anaphylaxis.
Intermittent fasting has a variety of wonderful benefits, but one of its most favorable effects is its ability to reduce cancer risk for many different kind of cancer.
When you're fasting, your body slows down in order to preserve energy. This slow down also applies to abnormal cells.
Additionally, when the body is in a fasting mode, it uses damaged cells for energy first.
This means that abnormal cells don't get the chance to multiply exponentially and cause problems.
Intermittent fasting can be helpful in cases of existing malignancy as well. It protects healthy cells from chemotherapy or radiation induced damage and preserves healthy immune function.
This decreases the risk of treatment related complications, such as infection.