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While fasting might not be for everyone, intermittent fasting (IF) is a great option for those healthy individuals who are looking to take their health to the next level.
There are various forms of fasting, including all day, every other day, twice per week, once every other week, skipping dinner, skipping breakfast, or choosing a set amount of hours from which you will fast and a set amount of hours which you will feast…on healthy foods of course!
Some benefits of fasting include:
-More efficient protein production
-Growth hormone is released during fasting
-Improved immune system
-Fasting triggers longevity genes and growth factors, which recycle and rejuvenate your brain and muscle tissues
-Increased production of hormones
-Detoxification of the organs
Due to a lack of incoming energy (from food sources) the body has to turn to its own resources for energy. The body will chose to breakdown its own fat stores to produce energy.
Fasting also gives your body some time to rest, heal and replenish its ability to function efficiently. During a fast, less energy is spent on the digestive system (due to its lack of use), and more energy can be focused on enhancing the functions of the metabolism and immune system. Abnormal growths within the body, such as tumors and cancerous cells, do not have an influx of the body’s typical energy supplies, and therefore are more prone to autolysis (you can actually starve cancer cells, since they thrive on glucose and actually cannot live on ketone bodies).
There are three major ways in which fasting benefits the body, while extending lifespan and protecting against disease:
-The first mechanism is reduced oxidative stress. Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals (these are the bad guys that damage healthy cells) and prevents oxidative damage to cells. Oxidative damage is most famous for advancing the aging process and causing disease.
-The second mechanism is increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency. This slows the aging process in the body, increases energy levels and allows your body to use insulin (which shuttles nutrients into your cells) more efficiently.
-The third mechanism is increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging. Fasting causes a cellular stress response (which is similar to that comes from exercising), in which cells up-regulate the genes that increase your ability to deal with stress, resist disease and slow down aging.
Intermittent fasting is NOT a diet, but rather a pattern of eating, so feel free to play around with various forms of fasting to find what feels best for you! IF shouldn’t change what you are eating (i.e. an excuse for saving up calories and then bingeing on poor food choices later) it should change WHEN you are eating.