Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It is important to clarify that fasting doesn’t mean not to eat or drink anything at all. When fasting, you can drink water and herbal teas, and still continue eating, but in smaller proportions and less calories. The best food that you can eat when fasting are one type of seasonal fruit or green apples during all day, without combining the fruit with other food. This is the clue to be free from hunger.
Experiments with animals and the observation of the eating patterns of people who have a high life expectancy, have shown the benefits of short periods of fasting. Eating well but not much has been shown to extend life span.
If properly controlled, short periods of fasting could achieve the following health benefits:
- When our bodies no longer have access to food they switch to ‘repair’ mode. Your body initiates important cellular repair processes, removing waste material from cells.
- There are beneficial changes in several genes, hormones and molecules related to longevity. Fasting reduces oxidative stress, which is one of the steps towards aging, many chronic diseases and inflammation in the body.
- It helps you weight loss. Blood levels of insulin drop significantly and human growth hormone increases, which facilitates fat burning, muscle gain and the use of fat (including belly fat) for energy.
- Changes in the metabolic rate and in hormones can protect you against disease and lead to reduced risk of cancer and type II diabetes. It also improves numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides and blood sugar levels.
- Also, it is good for your brain function and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- It leads to a feeling of physical lightness and increases the energy levels.
Experts point out that there is no concrete amount of time to fast, although the typical intermittent fast ranges from 14 to 18 hours. Some people fast once on a while, whereas others do it once a week. The easiest option seems to be to skip a meal occasionally.
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