Food is the energy we put inside our body to help it power its processes, build muscle and carry out essential repairs. To suggest that taking this away is a good thing seems counter-intuitive, yet this is exactly what scientific studies tell us need to happen. To understand why and why we benefit, we must also examine the role of food.

The food we eat provides nutrients for us which are used to carry out a variety of functions in our body. Everything food does however comes down to a very simple, fundamental process: the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)which powers our body at a cellular level. Viewed like this, food becomes free of its type-casting into particular dietary labels and it then becomes a regulatory mechanism for energy consumption in the human body. In plain English, regulating the amount of food we eat also regulates the amount of energy the body must put into things like work, exercise, and inflammation.

Physical, Mental and Cardiovascular Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Because intermittent fasting isn’t specific to any diet is more a lifestyle choice than a dietary exercise. Any length of time between 8 and 48 hours without food is considered a fasting interval. Obviously, there is no snacking of any sort taking place and, during the fasting interval, any beverage such as coffee or tea that has more than 50 Calories is considered to have broken the fast because it stops the body from using up its fat stores and carrying out essential maintenance and repair at a cellular level

The benefits of intermittent fasting do not stop there, however. While far from exhaustive and while there’s still research being carried out to further understand the metabolic pathways through which fasting helps the body this list of physical, mental, and neurological benefits show exactly why intermittent fasting should be on everyone’s list of things to do from time to time:

Glycogen depletion and insulin resistance recalibration through exercise while fasting
Improved metabolism and circadian biology
Improved cardiovascular health and improved blood circulation in the brain
Weight control
Can improve the brain’s chances against Alzheimer’s
Reduced chances of heart disease
Reduced inflammatory response in the body and improved immune system
Increased lifespan
Improved memory, cognition, and mood
Promotes neurogenesis and reduces chances of Parkinson’s

Whichever way you approach it, right now, regulating the energy available to the body through intermittent fasting is a lifehack that delivers science-backed health benefits.

Healthy Eating TipsSnack on fruit and vegetables instead of crisps and chocolate bars. 

Try to eat meals that are at least half vegetables. Vegetables can be eaten in pretty much unlimited amounts and can easily fill up a plate making a meal look larger. 

Use fresh sliced tomato or mashed avocado instead of ketchup and mayo in sandwiches. Most sandwiches and wraps taste delicious without any sauces at all when topped with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. 

Go whole grains when possible. White flour based products taste better but they are stripped from most of vitamins and fiber making them of low value to your body. Also due to higher fiber contents whole grains take a lot longer to digest keeping you fuller longer. Eat oatmeal, quinoa, brown and wild rice, rye and wholegrain bread when you can.

Although whole grain rice and pasta are healthier, white rice and pasta cooked with vegetables and without sugar based sauces, cream and butter are not at all bad and are pretty healthy as far as meal choices go.   

When making rice or pasta, throw a couple of handfuls of frozen vegetables in e.g., peas, carrots, and broccoli to make the meal more nutritious and colourful. 

Homemade muesli is easy to make and it’s a lot healthier, it’ll taste better and will contain exactly what you want, not what is cheaper to produce. Buy a pack of oats, a pack of cranberries and a pack of mixed nuts – and you’ve got a royal rubbish-free mix. Top it with honey and fresh berries and serve with milk. 

Meal planning is essential. You will never make any good food related decisions when hungry, or when you are full for that matter. Plan ahead, even before you go shopping, what you will cook and eat – you’ll end up spending less time and money and you’ll make better and healthier choices, too. It’s too late to think of what you are going to eat for lunch when you’re already half way through your day. For emergencies, keep bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer, rice, pasta and canned tomato paste in the cupboard to make emergency meals – have at least 3-4 recipes of under 30min meals you know how to make on hand. 

Use smaller bowls and plates for every meal serving to trick yourself into thinking you eat more than you do. Basically it’s an optical illusion that tricks your brain into thinking you are eating a “full plate”. It helps when you are trying to eat smaller portions throughout the day.

Eat slower to eat less and get more satisfaction out of food. When you eat fast, your brain hasn’t got enough time to register “fullness” signals coming from your stomach and you end up eating more. You don’t have to chew everything 100 times, but try to stretch the eating process to make it last at least twenty minutes when you can. 

Eat one piece of fruit with every breakfast. Turn it into a “Fruit of the day” challenge. It doesn’t have to be a different type of fruit every time, as long as you have a piece. If you don’t have time to crunch on anything, make a smoothie or slice it up – it’s all about making it convenient.

Get used to drinking coffee and tea without sugar and water instead of soft drinks. Use milk with coffee, lemons and mint with tea and cucumbers and ice cubes with water to make the transition easier. 

Try to only eat home cooked meals, avoid anything pre-made and ready. No one will care about your food (and what’s in it) more than you do.  

Try to always sit down at a table and eat when possible instead of eating on the go or in front of the TV. The less attention you are paying to your food, the less your brain registers how much you eat making you think you ate less.

Make your meals look good.