When it comes to living a healthy life, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about vitamin supplements and fad diets for one lifetime.
But if you’re looking for a science-backed strategy that you can start doing today, then you’ll love this new finding.
Harvard scientists have published a research study in the journal Cell Metabolism that reveals the effect intermittent fasting has on the aging process.
Before we get into those incredible findings, let’s discuss what intermittent fasting means.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating. It is comprised of eating within a given window and not eating in a given window.
Typically, people fast for several hours a day, up to 16 hours a day in some cases. This is usually done by skipping breakfast in the morning after eating the final meal of the day on the previous day.
There is also a pattern of intermittent fasting that involves going 24 hours without food up to two times per week.
Why would someone participate in fasting?
While fasting might seem extreme to people who eat on a strict schedule, such as 3 meals a day plus 3 snacks a day, the truth is that fasting has been a part of cultures all over the world for as long as anyone can remember.
Why? Because it was used in religious practices as a mode of penitence as well as a golden opportunity for reflection and introspection.
But recently, intermittent fasting has caught the attention of scientists. Several studies have found that intermittent fasting changes the functions of cells, genes and hormones in a positive way.
And now, a new Harvard study has found something rather interesting in regards to aging.
What did Harvard Scientists find?
The study conducted by Harvard scientists found that when food was restricted from worm’s diets, their mitochondria seemed to resist breaking down longer than those worms who were fed regularly.
The mitochondria are parts of the cell that provide energy to the cell in which they are housed. As we age, these mitochondria lose their ability to produce that energy and our bodies break down.
But scientists were able to keep the mitochondrial networks in a “youthful state”
According to associate professor of genetic and complex diseases at Harvard and author of the study, this is a great step in understanding the benefits of fasting:
“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology..our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondria networks is for the benefits of fasting. If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity.”
This comes on the back of plenty of other findings
This isn’t the first time scientific studies have found benefits to intermittent fasting. Scientists conclude that several things happen in your body when you don’t eat for a while.
For example, your body initiates important cellular repair process and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible.
This helps people lose weight, reduce insulin resistance and inflammation in the body.
In fact, studies have found that intermittent fasting may also be beneficial for heart health, and may help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
Other benefits of intermittent fasting include helping to reduce brain fog.
Have you ever felt light-headed or dizzy after a big meal? Besides wanting to unbutton your pants after eating so much, fasting can help your body burn more calories and fat, which can help you think clearer.
Because you are not fixated on food or your next meal, you might find that you are better able to concentrate on tasks at hand.
It’s amazing how much food consumes our lives. Not just the food we eat, but the food we are exposed to on a daily basis, how much our social lives revolve around food, and how much we think about food.
What are the risks of intermittent fasting?
When done properly, the risks of intermittent fasting are few and far between. It’s important to keep an eye on energy levels as you are fasting and be sure to drink plenty of water.
If you get dehydrated, you might find yourself making friends with an IV at a hospital. The human body can go for a long time without food – despite the pain we feel when we are “starving.”
Most of us don’t really know what starving feels like, and the truth is that most of us would last a really long time before “starving” to death.
But we do need water. And plenty of it. So if you are going to engage in fasting, be sure to get plenty of fluids in during the hours you are not eating solid food. Water won’t just keep you healthy; it will help to fight off some of that hunger you might feel.