Slow Down Aging With Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular tool for weight loss but its benefits go beyond fat burning. Fasting helps to regulate hunger hormones, improve insulin sensitivity, supports good digestion, reduces inflammation and it’s an excellent anti-aging tool.
Fasting is not a diet – it’s an eating schedule. Ideally, everyone should be doing circadian fasting, or not eating from sun down to sun up. This is about a 12-hour window that allows the body time to rest and repair.
Around 10 hours of fasting, the body switches into fat burning mode – having utilized all the previously eaten and stored carbs, it then relies on fat as fuel. This is where you want to be for fat loss.
Going beyond 12 hours, an ideal fasting window for most people is 16 hours. This allows additional time in the “fat burning zone” and also more time for cell turnover and repair, which can ultimately reverse aging.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting may increase levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which naturally decreases with age. Decreased HGH can accelerate aging and increase fat storage. Additionally, decreased levels make it harder to recover from injury and illness.
Intermittent fasting also stimulates a process called neurogenesis, or the production of new brain cells. Not only does research suggest that this will keep the brain young and health, but it may also reduce your risk of getting age-related neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. By suppressing neuroinflammation and decreasing insulin resistance, it may also help improve symptoms of those with Alzheimer’s and slow cognitive decline and is currently be evaluated as a therapy for dementia.
The key to a successful fast is to eat enough during your eight-hour eating window so that you can comfortably fast for 12-16 hours. You should not feel shaky while fasting – if you do, it’s time to eat. You may find that it’s best to have three meals or two meals and a large snack during your eating window.
It’s also important to stick with non-caloric liquids while fasting and avoid anything with fiber or carbohydrate. Non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda and Nutrasweet can also be problematic, so stick with unsweetened for best results. Black coffee, tea, herbal teas, and fruit flavored water or seltzer can all be enjoyed while fasting.
Fasting is truly an inexpensive, accessible and reliable tool to slow down the aging process.