Intermittent fasting simply refers to the gap between two meals. If you have had an early dinner and then slept through without eating anything else, then the time between dinner and breakfast the next morning is the intermittent fasting period. Yes, you have been practising this regularly – just without realising it! This kind of fasting has several advantages when done in a disciplined and structured manner.
So let us see what are the intermittent fasting benefits for health?
What is intermittent fasting?
definition of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting involves embracing a period of fasting followed by feasting on purpose.
Since ancient times, this type of fasting has been one of the most powerful tools for overall well-being – physically, emotionally as well as spiritually.
Various types of fasts (known as vrats, nirjala in Hindi) are mentioned in religious books, and many communities have been following these practices for ages.
The traditional practice of fasting during the month of Ramadan is also similar to intermittent fasting.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Fasting is a very natural phenomenon for all of us.
Seven to eight hours of sleep is a period of fasting anyway! Our body automatically puts us in a state of fasting to allow detoxification.
The dirt in the corners of our eyes, the unpleasant smell of our mouth and the warmth and acidity of our first urine when we wake up, are all signs of our body successfully detoxifying itself at night.
Every human body goes through two phases – an Elimination or Detoxification phase and a Building phase.
During sleep, our body enters the detoxification phase. This is how our body and nature are designed.
Throughout this phase, our body is busy detoxifying, cleaning, repairing, rejuvenating and rebuilding.
After successful detoxification, comes the building phase, where our cells are receptive to nutrition.
They act like a sponge that is ready to receive nutrition, vitamins, energy and trace minerals.
Intermittent fasting works because it respects and honours the importance of these two phases.
What to eat and drink during the intermittent fasting plan?
During the fasting period, do not eat anything.
You can only drink water (room temperature or lukewarm), as much as you want, and nothing else.
If one wishes to have cold water, then water from mud/clay pots works the best. No tea, coffee, green tea, herbal tea, lemon water, infused water, fruit or vegetable juice is allowed.
Break your fast with some lemon water, followed by fruits, dates and then begin your building phase after half an hour. During this phase, you can eat what your body needs, keeping your health goals in mind.
However, it is crucial that you do not overeat or starve. Avoid diving into the building phase suddenly; instead, break the fast gradually. It is important to respect both the elimination as well as the building phase.
Types of intermittent fasting
Largely, there is only one way of practising intermittent fasting, which is completely abstaining from eating food for a specific period of time (elimination phase) followed by resuming eating for a specific period of time (building phase).
However, the duration of the elimination and building phases can change from person to person based on multiple factors.
16 x 8 method:
The most popular method of intermittent fasting is 16 x 8, which means 16 hours of the elimination phase and 8 hours of the building phase.
12 x 12 method
If you are a beginner, it is advisable to start slow and observe the 12 x 12 method, which means a 12-hour fasting window and a 12-hour building window.
After some practice, even the 16 hours fasting becomes so easy that you may, then, be able to launch into the 24-hour water fast that is undeniably fantastic for immunity, weight and everything else.
Best intermittent fasting weight loss
It is normal to lose weight during IF because it is sort of a calorie-restricting way of eating; however, one mustn’t attempt intermittent fasting with an intention to lose weight.
Our intention must be to discipline ourselves and our eating patterns. It helps us learn how to listen to our body and eat only when our body truly asks for nutrition.
So it is common to wake up feeling full and it is absolutely okay to respect that.
Do not force feed if you do not want to eat breakfast because it’s a sign that your body is still in the elimination phase.
With fasting, you enable your body to eliminate toxins more effectively – and lesser the toxins, more effective is the fat-burning process.
What does intermittent fasting do to your body?
Intermittent fasting benefits
- While fasting, insulin level decrease and hormone level increases. Some cells in your body starts important cellular repair processes and make some changes in genes where it is necessary.
- During intermittent fasting you always eat leass calories which help in increase in metabolism. It is an excellent program to lose weight and belly fat.
- Intermittent fasting can decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.
- Research shows that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should benefit you act against aging and the development of many diseases.
- Studies show that fasting can improve some risk factors in heart diseases such as blood pressure,cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.
- Animal experiments have shown that intermittent fasting effectively prevent cancer. Human reserch showed that intermittent fasting can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
- Intermittent Fasting can have an important benefit for good brain health. It increases the growth of new neurons and protects the brain from damage.
- Studies show that animals can prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s during prevention.
- Some research on animals suggests that intermittent fasting is fighting against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
- One of the most popular uses of intermittent fasting is the ability to extend human lifespan.
Who should not follow intermittent fasting?
- Pregnant women
- Lactating mothers
- Underweight individuals
- Certain cases where a person is on water restrictions
- Individuals who are extremely weak and febrile
- As for people enduring cancer, while IF is an effective process, it totally depends on the stage of cancer, kind of chemo, radiation and how a patient is placed between cycles. So, it has to be extremely personalised according to your current situation.
Side effects intermittent fasting.
is intermittent fasting safe?
It’s common to experience certain symptoms during intermittent fasting, which are nothing but signs that the fasting is effective.ut it is important to not give up at this point because this is an indication that the body is successfully detoxifying.
- When you start fasting for the first time, ghrelin levels continue to rise and you feel hungry.
- While fasting, for a long time you stay without eating. So, most likely, you can only think of food. That time the desire for food kicks in.
- When your body gets used to this new eating plan, little headaches will come and go. This is common. So make sure you drink plenty of water during the fasting window.
- Your body no longer has the constant fuel source that you used to get from eating all day. So you may feel a little damp in the first few weeks.
- Hunger may increase irritability in you.
- Your stomach produces acids to digest your food. So if you don’t eat, you may experience heartburn.
- Intermittent fasting can also cause constipation if you are not hydrated, which can lead to bloating and discomfort.
- while fasting cold fingers and toes is very common, but with good reason! When you fast, the blood flows to your fat store’s increases.
- People tend to overeat at the beginning of the Intermittent fasting.
- Since you drink the plenty of water to stay hydrated, you need to go to the toilet more often.
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