The study of fasting has been around for centuries, but modern scientific research is shedding light on how intermittent fasting can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a pattern of eating.
It’s an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and feeding. In short, it’s alternating periods of not eating food with periods of eating food.
Some people fast for 20 hours a day and then eat within a window of 4 hours. Other people fast for 24 hours every other day (called the 5:2), or even one full day every week (called 16:8).
How to Begin Intermittent Fasting
The first thing to do is choose a fasting schedule and an eating schedule. Once you know what kind of intermittent fasting you want to practice, use this handy list of eating times to figure out exactly when you should be eating on your chosen schedule.
If you’re just getting started with intermittent fasting, most people should begin with a 3-5 hour fast the first time, but if that’s too much for you, try starting at 1-3 hours instead.
Having an app like the LIFE Fasting Tracker on your phone may help you to stay on track with your fasting schedule.
Intermittent Fasting Can Keep your Brain Healthy
There’s a good deal of research out there about how exercise and a proper diet can keep your brain healthy, but few people are talking about how intermittent fasting practices like the 5:2 diet can boost cognitive function.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help increase the number of progenitor cells in the hippocampus of mice, which is linked to improving memory, learning, and spatial navigation.
It may also help reduce anxiety while preventing stroke damage. Research like this is especially exciting because it suggests that intermittent fasting might not only slow down the aging process but could also reverse some of its effects as well.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight
Everyone knows that eating too many calories is a bad thing, but not everyone realizes that eating too few calories is also a bad thing.
Eating too few calories causes a drop in leptin levels and an increase in ghrelin levels, which make you even hungrier and can cause you to overeat.
Intermittent fasting helps you avoid this vicious cycle by quickly reducing your calorie intake when you’re eating and increasing your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories.
Research has shown that intermittent fasting can help people lose weight faster by reducing the amount they eat during their feasting periods while preserving lean muscle mass.
Intermittent Fasting May Fight Cancer
Many cancers are believed to be caused by the uncontrolled growth of normal body cells, and so the thinking goes that if you can reduce the growth rate of these cells, you will help prevent cancer.
Recent studies have shown that caloric restriction has anti-cancer effects, and it’s possible that intermittent fasting may also help fight the spread of cancer.
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