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5 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Health

Do humans need to eat as much as they do?

This is a question that nutritionists, evolutionary psychologists, and doctors have been asking for decades. Overeating has been linked in research to a rise in people with diabetes, heart disease, and even cancers. 

So, what is the answer? For many people, intermittent eating or fasting is an answer which has gained popularity in recent years. Can it really help to improve your health, though? 

What is Intermittent Fasting?

A quick definition first: what is intermittent fasting? It is simply when a person engages between periods of eating and not eating. 2 popular and well-known types include the 16:8 and the 5:2 method. It has been linked to many increased advantages, which will be discussed here.

Hormone Function

Intermittent eating or fasting has been found to be beneficial for hormone function. When a person stops eating, their body begins to burn fat, increase the level of human growth hormone, and also begin removing waste products from cells. This leads, long-term, to a change in hormone function, which is beneficial, provided that the recipe for intermittent fasting is followed.

Weight Loss

As mentioned before, a key part of intermittent fasting is burning fat, which leads to weight loss. The reason is simple; a person who is engaging in intermittent fasting is taking on fewer calories. This also leads to the reduction in visceral fat, due to the lower levels on insulin, as well as higher levels of norepinephrine. 

Studies have found that if you engage in intermittent fasting for 12 weeks, you will lose around 9% of your body fat, which will help with blood sugar, and reduce the chances or cardiac issues.

Lowers Chance of Type 2 Diabetes

A 2018 animal study found that intermittent fasting improved symptoms, as well as survival rates, while also reducing diabetes-related blindness.

If someone is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting has been found to be beneficial, as it better regulates blood sugar. It should be noted, however, that it has a better impact in helping with diabetes in men, rather than women.

Reduces Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress has been linked to premature aging and, of course, the development of cancer. 

So, if you are looking for a way to reduce your chances of developing cancer, you may want to consider intermittent fasting. It reduces the production of ROS, as well as increasing antioxidants and also minimising LDL cholesterol. In simple terms, intermittent fasting ups the goods, and down plays the bad!

Heart Health Improvement

At the time of writing, the most common cause of death in the world is poor heart health. 

As stated before, intermittent fasting has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart attacks, angina and other heart related issues. Intermittent fasting also reduces inflammation markers, which can prevent inflammation of the heart and arteries. This can, therefore, help with heart health but, if you have heart disease, you should talk to your doctor before undertaking intermittent fasting.