Food is something important for human beings, however there are mental states (such as anxiety or stress) that frantically trigger a great need to eat , if satiety is not controlled, it can be harmful in the long run.

That is why the fasting process exists , which seeks to abstain from food in order to rest the digestive system, for this reason for the subject of this article and with the ideas explained, we will know how intermittent fasting is done and what are its benefits.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting (AI) is a model of abstinence from food or drink , with cycles and a period of eating, in order to achieve an adequate and balanced diet, it usually exists for weight loss.

The most interesting thing about this routine is that there are 3 key models to put it into practice , fasting on alternate days (you fast one day or consume less than 500 calories in it), the 5:2 fast (normal diet for 5 days a week and fasting for 2 days) and finally daily fasting with restricted time (eating only in 8-hour periods).

Note: One study highlights the following information: “It is important to determine what type of fast we are referring to . In intermittent fasting, the patient’s participation is voluntary . (1)

How is intermittent fasting done?

The first step for intermittent fasting is to choose the abstinence model that suits our needs, on the other hand is to define which foods to eat and which not. These are the ways to do intermittent fasting:

1. Foods that can be consumed

To make it simple, the foods that can and should be consumed during your intermittent fasting routine should be mostly vegetables and fruits (such as kiwi and banana), nuts (such as almonds) , eggs chicken and healthy fish such as salmon or tuna.

To highlight: Other foods such as red meat , are limited to only being consumed once a week and you can also opt for lean meats such as chicken . The point of these foods is to get enough protein and calories, plus essential minerals and vitamins.

2. Foods to avoid

In another section, you should not consume fatty foods (mostly in the form of fried foods), artificially sweetened foods or drinks (it is totally prohibited during withdrawal) and also avoid refined flours (processed products).

Note: It was mentioned that foods rich in sugar cannot be consumed, however this can be replaced by drinking plenty of water, coffee and tea infusions with natural sweeteners such as honey, with the goal of providing protein (but not calories) . .

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

Why would you have to abstain from certain foods or drinks at key periods? It’s easy to figure out why, based on detailed research that highlights the benefits and caveats to look out for. First we will show you the benefits of intermittent fasting:

1. Reduces the risk of chronic diseases

Chronic diseases are varied, we can find a large number of them as they come to be: cancer, Alzheimer’s (being a degenerative disease) , cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases and even asthma.

In this sense, intermittent fasting can be a great way to reduce the risk of suffering from these chronic diseases, taking into account the multiple effects of the food we eat, especially intermittent fasting deals with heart disease and also diabetes.

Important: A study highlights that: “Intermittent fasting helps reduce problems and improve multiple indicators of cardiovascular health including blood pressure.” (two)

2. Reduces cholesterol and triglycerides

The lower risk of cardiovascular diseases is due to the decrease in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (lipids housed in the blood) that although they are necessary, their excess is harmful and nutrition is involved.

You should know: It is safe to know that in periods of 16 hours to 24 hours of intermittent fasting, you get a huge increase in lipid metabolism, aimed at reducing fat thanks to transforming them into a source of energy.

3. Improves insulin sensitivity

We mentioned that intermittent fasting is very important regarding diabetes, since it improves sensitivity to insulin, an important hormone that allows the passage of sugar into the blood (specifically the formation of glucose).

How does insulin sensitivity improve? It’s simple, the body is responsible for replacing glucose as the only source of energy, with the use of fatty acids to prevent cellular oxidation and generate resistance to glucose oxidative stress.

4. Stimulates cell regeneration

Caloric restriction is a great routine, which has great aims at cell regeneration. What does this mean? It is that meticulous process of the organism to allow the growth of nails, hair or even healing, that as it is, constitutes regeneration.

How does intermittent fasting have relevance to it? On the one hand, it promotes proper blood circulation, on the other hand the cells run out of glucose reserves and begin to transform fat into energy, this is achieved with the help of activated metabolism.

5. Reduces inflammation

This is related to joint inflammation, without ruling out inflammation caused by chronic inflammatory diseases or other aspects such as free radicals, capable of promoting aging and cell oxidation. What this intermittent fasting routine does is suspend monocytes.

Monocytes, to keep it simple, are a type of white blood cell whose only flaw is being pro-inflammatory. Therefore, fasting on weekdays (depending on the type) has the ability to hibernate said monocytes, therefore the risk of severe inflammation decreases.

Note: Without further digression, one study concludes that: “Reduction of pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis has been repeatedly linked to intermittent fasting . ” (3)

6. Detoxifies the body

Intermittent fasting can be considered a great purifier for the body and also, especially, for the digestive system, since the body tends to consume less processed food, therefore activating a regenerative process called autophagy.

To highlight: This, accompanied by the consumption of drinks without a high caloric content such as water, lemon or fruit juice, complements the work well, due to its purifying properties and compounds , such as antioxidants, to name a few.

7. Helps burn body fat

In intermittent fasting, fat burning is generated, which is transformed into energy for the body, this prevents the accumulation of body fat and is even a metabolism booster, preventing an obesity problem.

8. Contributes to weight loss

Weight loss during fasting is favored by caloric intake, which is incredibly minimal since you don’t want to burn a large number of them , in addition to the fact that metabolism is activated during fasting.

To highlight: Intermittent fasting is a strong routine but also highly recommended if you want to lose weight effectively and without complications, something different from what is done with the military diet , in fact this can be much easier.

What risks does intermittent fasting have?

Regardless of the type of fasting that is done, it can have certain side effects such as anxiety about eating, sleep disorders (less frequent but it does happen), irritability and can even cause bad breath, which is why it is done with professional advice.

Important: Intermittent fasting is contraindicated for people with high blood pressure (or severe heart complications), pregnant and lactating women, people with type 1 diabetes only and whose weight is low, so it is always advisable to consult with a doctor or nutritionist.

Key Findings

  • Intermittent fasting is a routine of abstinence from food and drink , which goes through certain stages.
  • In the periods that food can be consumed, the consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended , apart from abundant water or infusions such as tea.
  • Fasting days or fasting periods can be effective for type 2 diabetes , heart conditions, and chronic diseases.
  • It has side effects and is contraindicated for patients with delicate heart conditions or type 1 diabetes, therefore professional advice is needed .

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