What do Nicole Kidman, Gisele Bündchen, and Kourtney Kardashian all have in common? Well, according to the internet, they all swear by intermittent fasting. Whether you’re ready to hop on the bandwagon or would prefer to stick to your three meals a day, there’s no question that this health trend has its benefits.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is all about partially or entirely abstaining from eating for a set period, with the 16:8 method being the most popular. This fasting plan involves a 16-hour fasting window and eight hours of eating. For example, people may choose to eat only between the following hours:
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- noon to 8 p.m
Here are 5 benefits of intermittent fasting that are backed by science:
Can help you lose weight
While this may not be one of the biggest advantages of dabbling in the world of intermittent fasting, it is a benefit nonetheless. Studies have shown that this form of fasting helps improve hormone function, which facilitates weight loss. It also helps boost your metabolism while restricting the number of calories you consume in a day. However, the results may be short-lived and are not always effective when attempting to keep the kilos off. Pairing an intermittent fasting style that suits your lifestyle alongside a well-balanced eating plan may help you achieve better results.
Helps repair your body on a cellular level
According to Healthline, intermittent fasting increases a process called autophagy, which is essentially our body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells. This form of “waste removal” has plenty of benefits on its own, with protection from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease being two of the biggest.
Improved brain health and function
If you’re looking to boost your brainpower, then you’re in luck. Various studies have shown that intermittent fasting not only helps to improve concentration but protects your brain from a decline in memory that comes with getting older. It also helps increase the growth of new neurons and helps to reduce oxidative stress, which is often associated with depression.
You may be able to live longer
If the thought of living longer has ever appealed to you, you may be happy to know that intermittent fasting can help you achieve just that. While most studies have only been conducted on rodents, they have shown promising results with fasting. Some of this includes improved overall health and longevity, with an increase of around 13%.
You’ll catch more zzz’s
Those who have heard the Afrikaans phrase, “magies vol, ogies toe” (tummy full, eyes closed), will understand the impact that food has on your level of tiredness. While there’s not a lot of evidence to back the theory that intermittent fasting can actually help you sleep better, there’s no question that having your last meal earlier in the evening ensures that you’ll have digested your food before you hit the hay.