What Is Intermittent fasting? – Definition, Benefits, and More (2021)
Intermittent fasting is a cyclic eating pattern that provides several health benefits to the human body.
To start intermittent fasting, all you need to do is divide your day/week to:
• Eating-window (the time you’re allowed to consume foods)
• Intermittent fasting window (the time you prohibited from consuming foods)
Moreover, there are no restrictions on the amount of food you can eat, which is especially appealing for people who tried other diets.
While the concept of intermittent fasting may seem too simple to work, its positive health benefits are unequivocal.
In this article, we will cover some benefits of intermittent fasting to help you understand the hype behind this practice.
Intermittent fasting benefits
By excluding all foods, your body can concentrate on detoxifying your cells from the harmful chemicals.
Intermittent fasting allows the gut to regenerate its intestinal lining, which stimulates a process known as autophagy, where the cells self-cleanse and remove the damaged particles.
When your digestive tract is empty, the composition of your gut microbiome improves, leading to the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
This hormone promotes the growth of neurons. As a result, your risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety sharply decreases.
Of course, the most notable benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss and decreased cholesterol levels in the blood. It could also promote muscle growth when associated with the right workout routine.
Intermittent fasting and the immune system
Respiratory infections that affect the mouth and throat (e.g., common cold, flu, pharyngitis) can result from bacteria or viruses.
However, the vast majority of these infections are caused by viruses, such as rhinovirus and the influenzas virus. When your immune defenses get weakened by the virus, bacteria take advantage and start to grow, developing into a bacterial infection.
According to scientists, the initial anorexia (i.e., lack of appetite) that you feel during the initial phases of the infection might be necessary to help the body cleanse itself from the pathogens.
For this reason, some experts suggested that intermittent fasting might be a helpful tool to get rid of infectious agents.
Here are some of the hypotheses that might explain this phenomenon:
From an evolutionary point of view, anorexia eliminates the need to find food, which saves you energy and lowers heat loss.
Subsequently, your body will be able to focus exclusively on getting rid of the infection and clearing out the culprit agents.
When you fast, you will also deprive the pathogens from crucial nutrients needed for growth.
Furthermore, the lack of appetite will promote a process known as apoptosis, which leads to programmed cell death, sacrificing infected cells.
In one study, researchers found that intermittent fasting may promote healing from bacterial infections, whereas eating may help with viral infections.
Regardless, all the studies seem to have a consensus about the positive effects of intermittent fasting on the initial phases of infections.
However, there need to be more studies that include human subjects before drawing any conclusions.
Intermittent fasting is an excellent way to lose weight and optimize the function of your immune system. It is simply one of the best diets to promote your well-being.
We hope that this article managed to highlight some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.
If you have any questions or concerns about intermittent fasting, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.