Intermittent fasting has become trendy lately due to its effectiveness at promoting weight loss. But studies show that intermittent fasting has numerous other anti-aging health benefits because it boosts human growth hormone, prevents disease, and protects brain health.
Celebrity proponents of IF include “Wolverine” star Hugh Jackman and Oscar winner Halle Berry. Both are fitness buffs with rippling physiques.
Less Digestion Means Less Inflammation
The alarming epidemic of obesity and chronic disease in the United States is partly caused by the American habit of eating around the clock.
Digestion causes inflammation, which in turn fuels weight gain, aging, and numerous diseases, including diabetes and cancer, according to the medical journal Critical Care.
By giving your digestive tract a daily break for 12 hours or more, you drastically reduce the inflammation caused by constant digestion.
Studies indicate that people who do IF lose weight more quickly and keep it off longer than those who follow conventional, linear diets.
The most common approach is the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan, which allows you to eat whatever you want during an eight-hour eating “window” and fast the other 16 hours of the day.
For example, if you eat dinner at 6 p.m., you won’t eat again until 10 a.m. the next day, so you’re fasting for 16 hours.
Scientist: IF Protects Brain Health, Boosts Mood
While most people do intermittent fasting to lose weight, research from the National Institute on Aging suggests that IF can also improve brain functioning and help maintain lean muscle mass.
“Just as exercise makes muscles stronger, fasting makes the brain stronger,” said Mark Mattson, chief of the NIA’s neurosciences lab.
Mattson — who’s also a professor at Johns Hopkins University — explained that the chemicals produced by fasting also appear to boost people’s moods.
Mattson said intermittent fasting and fasting for short periods of time like 16 to 24 hours induces a state of stress in the body, which responds by releasing neurotrophic proteins that stimulate neurons and other cells.