INTERMITTENT FASTING: 8 BENEFITS (Part 1 of 5)
INTERMITTENT FASTING: Part 1 of 5: 8 BENEFITS OF FASTING
Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.”-Rumi
In this 5 part series on intermittent fasting I’m going to touch on the benefits of this tried and tested practice that can be found all the way back in biblical times. Im going to show you strategies you can implement to get you started today and finally I am going to expand all of these strategies into a more in-depth look, so you can maximize the process and get the most out of this trending lifestyle.
To add some context to this 5 part series; I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in August 2016; Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation & ulcers in your digestive tract. From that day I set out to battle and combat this disease through a holistic and natural approach. I’ve created pillars and tools that provide structure and strength to my day to prevent disease, promote longevity and allow me to live a normal life. These pillars have become non-negotiable's because they accelerate and propel my health and immunity away from disease and aging; intermittent fasting is one of these tools. I’ve used fasting to some degree everyday since being diagnosed, fasting promoted healing and today I am happy to say I have zero symptom of colitis. Intermittent fasting has become immensely popular amongst fitness and health enthusiast and for good reason. Here are the top 8 Benefits of fasting, if you can check off even half of these benefits of importance to you then you’ll want to follow along this series because next I will show you how you can simply introduce and implement this strategy into your life.
- Improved Body Composition -Fasting for 12 hours or longer has been shown to increase fat oxidation and fat burning. Fasting also promotes the release of growth hormone, which promotes preservation or muscle and fat burning. Fasting also helps to create a calories deficit without feeling the strain of following a ‘diet’. Many people find it much easier to restrict feeding windows then restricting overall calories throughout an entire day.
- More Energy, Focus & Drive-Our ancestors were hunter gathers, when they were hungry, they had to hunt their next meal. When we fast, we see a rise in the hormone adrenaline which will increase focus, energy and motivation. Its part of physiology; when were hungry we move more, when were full we become sedentary. I always fast in the first half of the day, when Im the busiest; this process is two fold because I see a rise in focus and energy and I also I don’t have to think about food, stopping to eat or preparing food while im busy at work; Instead my focus is on proper hydration.
- Improved Awareness & Discipline-If I ever feel out of control with my nutrition practices, I like to incorporate a long duration fast to unravel my emotional dependency on food and substances. We are creatures of habit; good & bad, so sometimes its best to step outside of your routine and challenge yourself to see the cycles you’re trapped in; Fasting short and long duration can help provide clarity and awareness into your current situation.
- Hunger Regulation-Our appetite is controlled by the hormones Leptin & Ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for promoting hunger, and when its not balanced you will have a hard time controlling yourself. Fasting has been shown to balance Ghrelin, which in turn will allow from Leptin to balance to reduce cravings and promote a normal appetite.
- Digestion & Gut Health-Just like we need to give our muscles a rest to recovery, the same can be said about our gut. Fasting can promote strengthening of the stomach lining, increase microbiome and protect our stomachs against negative effects caused by stress. They say your gut is your second brain, so it is crucial to take care of this system.
- Immune Strength & Longevity-Fasting can help decrease levels on inflammation and help promote better health. Chronic inflammation can increase the risk of conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Fasting also promotes ‘Autophagy’ which is a process in which cells cleanse and repair themselves by disposing old and damaged proteins and replacing them with new ones. This process has been associated with anti aging, longevity and improved metabolic health.
- Brain Health & Cognitive Function-Fasting can promote the process of autophagy in neurons, protecting us from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Fasting also helps strengthen neural pathways that can improve motor functions, learning and memory.
- Blood Sugar Regulation & Heart Health-Fasting has also been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, which can protect us against type 2 diabetes. Regulating blood sugar also promotes sustainable energy and can help with cravings associated with peaks and valleys in our blood sugar. Fasting has been shown to improve several health markers, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and triglycerides.
Stay Tuned for the next article; 5 Steps to introduce & implement fasting today.