(Natural News) Following a healthy diet is essential for your overall well-being. And while several diets promote weight loss, only a handful of them, such as intermittent fasting, can improve cognitive function, physical performance, and workout recovery all at once.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that requires you to stick to an eight-hour eating window.
You can change the chemistry of your cells to boost energy levels, repair your body, and improve overall health and one of the best ways to do this is by fasting for 16 hours. When you fast, your body and brain revert to “rapid cellular cleanup mode.” The body burns glucose (sugar) for fuel by default, but fasting makes it switch to ketones (fat) as its main energy source.
This process, called ketosis, gives you long-lasting energy. Some studies suggest that diets promoting ketosis are beneficial if you want to lose weight since they help curb your appetite.
Additionally, data shows that ketosis can benefit individuals with conditions like Type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders. Ketosis can even significantly boost your athletic performance.
Below are four of the many health benefits of intermittent fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting improves sleep quality
Intermittent fasting can balance your cortisol levels. This stress hormone is believed to increase and decrease throughout the day until it finally comes down at night.
Modern life is hectic and cortisol tends to stay high until late at night. This negatively affects your hormone balance and sleep patterns by causing issues, such as insomnia.
If your cortisol is high, it can pull from the thyroid and your estrogen and testosterone stores. This can hinder your metabolism.
High cortisol interrupts your body’s natural production of melatonin. This hormone regulates your sleep-wake cycle, and an interrupted melatonin production may cause sleep problems.
By fasting for 16 hours, you can balance your cortisol levels and improve sleep quality. This gives your body the rest it needs to heal and repair.
2. Intermittent fasting boosts energy levels
To maximize your workouts, you need to calibrate energy from a clean source.
Your body and mind require an energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is converted more efficiently in the body than glucose or sugar.
But to use ATP instead of glucose, your mitochondria need to take a break from the constant strain caused by digestion and stress.
Fasting for 16 hours helps boost your energy levels because it gives your cells a break. After a fast, you’ll feel more energized while you’re exercising, minus the tiring crash after an intense workout.
Consider intermittent fasting if you want to reach your potential while you’re at the gym and avoid post-workout fatigue.
3. Intermittent fasting hastens post-workout recovery
Inflammation naturally occurs after you exercise. However, chronic inflammation due to environmental toxins, stress, and sugar can negatively affect your performance while exercising. It also affects your results.
Intermittent fasting helps eliminate waste and toxins from your cells, which also minimizes inflammation in your body. When inflammation is reduced, you recover faster after you exercise.
4. Intermittent fasting can make you lose fat and gain muscle
Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss via ketosis. When you fast for 16 hours, your body burns through the glycogen in your liver, elevating your metabolic rate.
Data from a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that participants who consumed the same number of calories as they would on a regular day (but in a shorter time frame) experienced “significant modification of body composition, including reductions in fat mass.” (Related: Here’s what the research says about intermittent fasting.)
Additionally, intermittent fasting boosts a molecule called irisin that makes white fat cells act like brown fat cells.
Irisin is important since brown fat cells protect your organs while the white ones tend to accumulate around your stomach, hips, and thighs. Activating brown fat cells frequently improves your physique and ensures that you enjoy the health benefits of intermittent fasting longer.
Boost your overall health, maintain a healthy weight, and stay fit by intermittent fasting.