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Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting During the Holidays

With holiday season here and high-calorie meals and snacks and sweets everywhere, it may be a good time for you to try intermittent fasting. Unlike other diet plans, an intermittent fasting diet doesn’t set any strict standards, rules or restrictions on which foods are permitted or how much you can eat, although eating a healthy diet is always wise. Instead, it requires you to revise your eating pattern and abstain from eating altogether during specific windows of time.

From fasting for a few days every week to simply switching up your eating schedule, intermittent fasting is a simple strategy that can help you make major strides in your health. So how does intermittent fasting work exactly? Cutting-edge intermittent fasting science suggests that it could positively impact cells by helping to fight free radicals. Practicing intermittent fasting can also help your body's ability to deal with stress at a cellular level, which could help with healthy aging as well as overall health. There are several different variations of fasting, making it easy to find an intermittent fasting plan that can work for you.

1. Alternate-Day Fasting: This involves eating every other day. On fasting days, some eat no food at all and others eat a very small amount, usually around 500 calories. On non-fasting days, you should follow your usual, healthy diet.

2. The Warrior Diet: This diet entails eating only specific foods (such as fruits, vegetables, clear broth and hard-boiled eggs) during the day and eating one large meal at night.

3. 16/8 Fasting: This method requires you to fast for 16 hours every day and limit your eating to an eight-hour window. Typically, this involves not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast the next morning.

4. Eat-Stop-Eat: This variation involves picking one or two days out of the week in which you fast for 24 hours, then eat nothing from dinner one day until dinner the next day. On the remaining days, you should follow a regular diet.

5. 5:2 Diet: For five days of the week, you eat normally. During the remaining two days, you should restrict your caloric intake to between 500–600 calories daily.

Although your exact schedule can vary quite a bit depending on which specific type of fasting you choose, 16/8 fasting is often considered the best choice for intermittent fasting for beginners.

Promising research suggests that it can help support a healthy response to inflammation, support brain health, support already-healthy blood sugar, help with healthy weight management and promote heart health.

It’s also flexible and can be easily adapted to fit your schedule and personal preferences.

If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications, be sure to always talk to a trusted healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or routine.

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