Intermittent fasting is a method of restricting calories that has gained quite a bit of popularity recently for its effects on weight loss, but this weight loss strategy also yields some incredible health benefits! In fact, restricting calories has proven to be the only environmental variable to show a decrease in the rate of aging and increase the average maximum lifespan.
Improved Resistance to Stress
The general thought behind the benefits of intermittent fasting is the overall reduction in energy intake (food/calories) produces far fewer free radicals in cells, which creates less oxidative damage to the cells. This reduced oxidative stress allows for less damage to proteins, lipids and DNA in the body which has actually been shown to prolong life and improve immune function. Studies have shown that populations that follow an intermittent fasting diet for sustained periods of time have an increased resistance of cells to injury in many different tissues.
Increased insulin sensitivity
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase a persons’ sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is a leading factor for Type II Diabetes.
Improved memory and learning processes
Intermittent fasting has been proven to not only help with learning and memory, but also increases the resistance of these neurons to help preserve and protect these parts of the brain from dementia.
Studies have shown many cardiovascular benefits with intermittent fasting which include a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, and reduced inflammatory processes that likely contribute to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
1. Anson, R. Michael, et al. "Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100.10 (2003): 6216-6220.
2. Mattson, Mark P., and Ruiqian Wan. "Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems." The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 16.3 (2005): 129-137.