Nowadays, one of the most popular, effective, and healthy ways of losing weight is by means of intermittent fasting. This is simply done by altering cycles of eating and fasting.
Numerous research has been done on intermittent fasting, which explains how it is beneficial to improve metabolism, promote weight loss, protect against many diseases, and ultimately increase ones lifespan.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating, which consists of cycles of eating and fasting. It does not deal with the type of food you eat, but is instead concerned with the time of day you should eat. There are various methods of intermittent fasting which are derivatives of each other, but nevertheless contain similar patterns of eating and fasting. As we know, we all undergo a fasting stage at the time of sleep. As such intermittent fasting is similar to this, and in one type of fast you can increase the fasting time by merely skipping breakfast and having your first meal at noon. Then you can just take your second meal at 8 pm. This is known as the 16/8 method. You are fasting for 16 hours during the day and then eating within an 8-hour window. Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. It is observed that many people feel more better and more energetic after doing an intermittent fast.
When intermittent fasting you often feel hunger pangs at the start, but later your body can manage by not eating for longer periods of time. During the fasting period, no food is allowed of course. Non-caloric beverages like water, tea, and coffee can be consumed during this period however. There is a type of intermittent fast that permits the intake of low-calorie food during the fasting period and can still prove to be quite successful. For this type of fast it is important that these low calorie foods are nutrient dense and low calorie, however.
Such foods for instance can be green leafy and calciferous vegetables. Additionally, note that calorie free supplements are also allowed while fasting.
What Are the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
From an evolutionary perspective, it is suitable for your body and brain when you do not eat for a set period of time each day. If we look into the past, there is no trend of eating 3-4 meals per day. Evaluation of humans shows that there was not enough food in the early ages and humans naturally learned to fast and maintain a starvation state.
Times have surely changed a lot, as now we have everything in our access, and spend much of our time sitting in front of computers. Many people like to eat cheap, easy, and non-nutritious fast and processed foods knowingly accepting they are inflicting harm to their own health by eating this way.
There are many benefits of undergoing intermittent fasting, to include increasing your limits and enhancing performance. Following are additional benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Weight loss, by a synergistic mechanism of caloric restriction coupled with enhanced metabolism
- Reduces the level of bad cholesterol, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), by metabolizing sugar more rapidly
- Increased energy and vitality
- Supports autophagy and cellular repair (a process when your body eats defective tissues regenerates)
- Protects against type 2 diabetes and decreases insulin resistance
- Defends against various diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
- Supports brain function and improves memory
- Provides increased cellular support which also translates into disease resistance
Remember to drink a lot of Water
Hydration is essential during intermittent fasting. It is also critical for maintaining a healthy eating pattern. At the time of fasting, our body depends on the energy source present in the form of sugar, which is called glycogen. In order to prevent dehydration, you should drink 8 glasses of water daily. A good level of hydration during intermittent fasting is also essential for cognitive behavior, enhanced blood flow, as well as muscle and joint support.
Additionally, the health of the major organs depends on your water intake. If you are in the fasting state, it is essential to keep your body active by drinking lots of water. Dehydration is usually indicated by dark yellow urine. Other complications associated with dehydration include lightheadedness, headache, and fatigue. Always be careful with hydration and intermittent fasting as your health will start declining if you limit water intake during your fast. Keep in mind you can add a variety of things in plain water to develop some taste and spruce things up a bit. For instance, lemon juice, cucumber slices, and mint leaves all add flavor to water, and are also each healthy secrets in their own right.
What are the Best foods to eat during and after intermittent fasting?
Scientific literature supports the wonders done by intermittent fasting. In the past fasting has been utilized for a variety of purposes, such as spiritual reward as well as political dissent. In recent times however, intermittent fasting has gained more importance in terms of fitness and weight loss. Many fitness trainers are now recommending intermittent fasting to their clients for weight loss. Intermittent fasting also provides anti-aging effects.
The following are amongst the best foods you can utilize in your in between meal while doing intermittent fasting.
Best IF Food #1: Avocado
Avocado is a rich source of monounsaturated fat. It is high-calorie fruit and can be included in your meal to keep your energy level up to the mark.
Best IF Food #2: Coffee
You can drink coffee during intermittent fasting. As we know, coffee is a zero-caloric beverage, so technically it is even allowed during your intermittent fast. If you add some flavors, creamers or minute syrups however, then it would be not allowed during the fasting cycle.
Best IF Food #3: Cruciferous Veggies
Fiber is present in large quantity in foods such as cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. If you are doing fasting, it is important to consume fiber-rich foods that keep your metabolism fit and prevent constipation. The ability of fiber to make you feel full is also crucial and helps a lot, especially at the start of your fasting cycle.
Starchy vegetables are hearty, robust, and heavier. These include white potatoes, corn, carrots, pumpkin, beets, and winter squash. Due to the presence of carbohydrates in high amounts, these vegetables will keep you feeling fuller for long periods.
Best IF Food #4: Potatoes
Potato is an important vegetable which is also full of starch. You can add potatoes in your meals if you want to lose weight. It is one of the most satisfying foods that keep you full.
With minimal efforts, potatoes are digested by the body. Adding a protein source with potatoes could be the best post-workout meal to simultaneously get energy and feed your hungry muscles.
Best IF Food #5: Raspberries
Raspberries contain a high fiber concentration, and are delicious in taste. You can easily add raspberries in your meals during intermittent fasting. A one cup serving of raspberries contains eight grams of valuable fiber.
Best IF Food #6: Smoothies
Smoothies are rich in vital nutrients. Custom tailored smoothies can easily be made to include different fruits and vegetables to meet your desired nutrient intake. Having a smoothie before your fast as well as between fasting periods can provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals which are critical for your body.
Best IF Food #7: Papaya
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which aids protein breakdown. Adding papaya to your meal can be of great value in assisting in the digestive process if you overeat after your fasting cycle.
Best IF Food #8: Beans and Legumes
Carbohydrates are generally not allowed if you want to lose weight and various advocates will push for a carbohydrate free diet. However, during intermittent fasting low-calorie carbs such as beans and legumes will expedite weight loss, and as such are permitted. You can consume chickpeas, lentils, and peas during intermittent fasting.
Legumes are highly nutritious, low in calories, and are high in protein and fiber. Legumes are in fact generally preferred over meat due to their versatility and highly satiating properties. One of the most popular and well known legumes is Lentils. There are various Lentil recipes to . include Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa, Red Lentil Curry with Black Tahini and Roasted Cashews.
Best IF Food #9: Blueberries
Blueberries are delicious and very nutritious. Blueberries are full of anti-oxidative properties that help the body to fight against free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Wild blueberries contains the highest percentage of antioxidants. Adding blueberries to your meals while undergoing intermittent fasting helps optimize your body function at a cellular level.
Best IF Food #10: Nuts and Whole grains
Consuming certain nuts helps your body shed extra fat and reduces bad cholesterol in the process. Nuts are high in their nutritional value and can help prevent various life threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Walnuts are one type of suggested nuts due to their high concentration of polyunsaturated fat, which have been noted to change the physiological markers for hunger and satiety.
Almonds are another recommended nut, which provides a good source of energy with a low-calorie count. Additionally, almonds are unique in that the cell wall of the almond does not completely break down during the chewing process, which leaves some portion of the almond intact and unabsorbed during digestion.
Adding whole grains in your meals during intermittent fasting is a great way to keep you fuller for longer. This is because all the parts of the grain kernel, to include the bran, germ, and endosperm remain intact, which keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Finally, porridge and oatmeal both contain high concentrations of insoluble fiber with minimal calories. There are many different recipes utilizing whole grains which you can easily find with a click of your mouse. Examples are Roasted Beet Sorghum Salad with Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette, Persephone Bowl, Mushroom and Kale Farrow Salad, and Buckwheat Pooris.