“Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.”
Intermittent fasting has grown from a religious ritual and medical practice to become a key tactic used by many of the most successful entrepreneurs and fitness fanatics out there today.
Tim Ferriss, author of 4-Hour Workweek, practices various forms of fasting throughout the year. Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, created a fasting app (Zero) that lets you know when to start and stop fasting based on various factors. Malcolm Gladwell believes that very little should be consumed before noon.
Health Benefits of Fasting:
As the momentum picks up for this way of organising your eating pattern, so does the research that backs it up.
Fasting is known to decrease the rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
Studies suggest improved memory retention in fasting individuals through a brain chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). We mentioned this in our previous blog for the benefits of exercise!
Restricting the time we eat daily allows our body and brain to self-repair. This is one of the reasons our mental performance is enhanced by fasting. But fasting can also improve our long-term health.
Numerous studies count reduced cardiovascular risk, improved resilience against cancer and reduced signs of ageing as benefits of fasting.
According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3–8% over 3–24 weeks.
The people also lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease.
One review study also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction.
Practical Benefits of Fasting:
If the medical, biological, and longevity benefits of fasting aren’t enough for you; here are some practical benefits that have been reported due to implementing an intermittent fasting regimen.
It saves money.
When it comes to the food bill, a lot of us cringe when we read the receipt after throwing the food in the fridge. When you incorporate intermittent fasting into your life, that money will either be saved or go a lot further.
It saves you time.
Think about your most time-critical periods of the day, where you have rushed around. These moments occur (for me) frequently around a meal. What if you just cut that meal out for yourself?
It saves you mental space.
Most people who talk about their fasting habit tend to bring up a sense of clarity they feel due to the practice. They seem to get more work completed, feel free, and are quicker on their feet.
You release any decisions you need to make about a particular meal and don’t have the lingering food coma weighing you down. This also ties into decision-fatigue in our previous blog (Why Your Future Wardrobe Looks More Like A Uniform).