How Intermittent Fasting Effects Women - 7 Significant Benefits
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular health improvement plans today. The theory behind intermittent fasting is that humans were used to staying hungry for long stretches in prehistoric times. Based on this deduction, it is unnatural for humans to have such unrestricted access to food, contributing to uncontrolled weight and increased diseases.
Intermittent fasting has tremendous benefits, from helping you lose weight to reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses. While these effects are confirmed, intermittent fasting impacts the male and female bodies differently. Also, having a pre-existing medical condition can determine whether or not intermittent fasting is okay for you. If you want to give intermittent fasting a go, it's best to consult a doctor and know if it is right for you.
Impacts of Intermittent Fasting on Women Vs. Men
A few researches are available that study the effects of intermittent fasting on both genders. While some studies conclude that there are no significant differences, a study in 2022 found that the levels of a hormone named dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) dropped during fasting. This hormone in the female body regulates egg quality and ovarian function. A drop in this hormone can indicate a negative impact on female fertility. But nothing can be conclusively said as much more research is being done in the area.
The menstrual cycle is an area where the chances of influence are much higher. If a woman loses too much weight very quickly, it can disrupt the body's balance of hormones and cause menstruation issues. It is best to keep track of changes in your period and body while fasting to track and alleviate any negative symptoms before they become a problem. Fasting for extensive amounts of time (36-48 hours) can lead to an irregular menstrual cycle, but fasting in moderate amounts should be absolutely safe for most women. If you are a beginner, learn how to start intermittent fasting and gradually build up to a broader fasting window.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
While the concerns and possible downsides of intermittent fasting have been discussed above, there are countless benefits too.
Research on cognitive function and intermittent fasting showed it can improve mental function and focus. A study was conducted on animals and deduced that fasting every other day can improve memory retention. But as this study was conducted on animals, the results are inconclusive for humans. Studies with human subjects showed no significant impact on short-term memory but had the potential to prevent and guard against neurological disorders developing in the future.
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Sometimes after eating a meal, you pass into a food-induced slumber that is refreshing and relaxing. If you have ever experienced something similar, you know that what and when you eat can impact the quality of your sleep. People following intermittent fasting routines often account for better sleep after starting the diet.
While there has not been any sure-fire research concluding this effect, it has been supported theoretically. The first theory is relatively simple; going to bed on a lighter stomach. Going to bed on a full stomach can stress your digestive system and, at times, cause heartburn, negatively impacting your sleep.
The second theory is that IF regulates your body's circadian rhythm. A body that follows its natural circadian rhythm will fall asleep and wake up easier, with a more refreshing sleep.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Studies show that IF can have a significant impact on the systolic blood pressure of an individual. Systolic blood pressure is the number one source of pressure indicating the force of the heartbeat against artery walls. Unlike other factors discussed, research and studies prove fasting a few hours a day can significantly lower systolic blood pressure.
Unhealthy blood pressure levels are harmful not only to your heart but also to your brain, kidneys and eyes. If blood pressure is left unregulated, it can even lead to a stroke. The reduced blood pressure levels are only noted when a person is in the middle of their fast. Blood pressure levels returned to normal as soon as their fasting window ended.
The lifespan of a human being can be shortened because of a variety of reasons, but some of the leading causes are chronic diseases. Intermittent fasting has shown an immense impact in building resistance against chronic illnesses, as it counters the short-term symptoms that ultimately lead to the conditions. A study on fruit flies showed that intermittent fasting slowed their aging, helping them live longer.
These results have not yet been replicated in humans, but they are backed by theory. You can maximize the impact of slowed aging through proper nutrition during the window you are allowed to eat.
Autophagy is a fascinating process. Like any other body part, your cells comprise several smaller pieces that help it function. These parts can become damaged with time and become useless. Autophagy is the process through which cells disassemble these junk parts and use anything they can from them, discarding the rest.
It is a recycling system for parts of your cells. This improves the efficiency of your cells by getting rid of non-functional parts. This also allows your body to remove pathogens ad viruses from your cells. Studies show that time-restricted eating routines promote the generation of the autophagy gene and a protein that regulates cell growth. While this study was on a small group for only four days, the results were extremely promising.
The benefits discussed above are some of the main benefits among several others associated with Intermittent fasting. What you eat and how you eat can affect countless bodily functions, even the menstrual cycle. The positive impacts of intermittent fasting are tremendous and should not be ignored regardless of your gender. Consult your physician before jumping on a diet plan to avoid any unfortunate situations. With better overall health, you can function better in your daily life, ultimately strengthening your mental health and self-confidence.
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