5 Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Men

Shutterstock | 8976

Alexandra Lozovschi

You've mostly heard about intermittent fasting in connection to weight loss -- but did you know it offers many other health benefits? For men, these benefits might even "slightly outweigh" those for women, argues the Fit Father Project.

According to the media outlet, intermittent fasting can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, keeping symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, headaches, and muscle stiffness at bay.

The practice is essentially a meal plan that can be structured into three different formats: 16/8 (fasting for 16 hours a day and eating all of your calories during an eight-hour interval); 5/2 (fasting for two non-consecutive days a week and eating normally the other five); and alternate-day fasting, which involves switching between days without food restrictions and days that include one meal, explains Men's Health.

Think of it as a lifestyle rather than a diet!

Here are four other benefits of intermittent fasting for men, other than weight loss.

It Helps You Retain Muscle Mass

Unsplash | Alexander Redl

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages for men is that intermittent fasting helps you retain muscle mass.

“When people lose weight, typically 75 percent is fat loss and 25 percent is muscle mass. But with fasting, the ratio actually changes so that 90 percent of weight loss is fat and 10 percent is muscle,” Krista Varady, an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, tells Men's Journal.

This, in turn, greatly contributes to your physical performance, helping you attain your fitness goals. As an added bonus, not only can you expect to become stronger and more resistant to illness, but your reaction times and endurance will also increase, as will your energy levels, says Newsweek.

It Promotes Better Tissue Health & Recovery

Shutterstock | 434191

According to Newsweek, another major health benefit of intermittent fasting is that it promotes a more rapid repair of your tissues and organs.

"In the cycle of a fast, your body undergoes internal renovation, where new structures are built or replaced, and the redistribution of nutritive material is observed," notes the media outlet. "Other organic changes that occur during a fast can reverse the overall aging of your body and rejuvenate your cells."

This translates to rejuvenated skin and an improved skin tone (lack of blemishes and fine lines), along with a youthful, revitalized appearance. In other words, positive change that you can see on your face!

It's Good For The Heart

Shutterstock | 2797510

The four leading causes of disease are high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight.

“If we reduce those, we can reduce the risk of heart disease,” cardiologist and endocrinologist Dennis Bruemmer tells the Cleveland Clinic.

The good news is, studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help reduce all four risk factors, boosting cardiovascular health -- a claim that the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute also supports.

Even without calorie counting, the practice can significantly reduce your systolic blood pressure. Alternate-day fasting has been documented to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides levels. At the same time, intermittent fasting is known to stabilize insulin levels, which suggests it could benefit people with Type 2 diabetes.

It Improves Memory & Brain Function

Shutterstock | 696460

Aside from the heart, the brain can also stand to gain. Studies indicate that intermittent fasting can increase the rate that new nerve cells grow. Since it also assists with cellular repair, improving these processes facilitates waste removal from cells.

This process is known as autophagy, which is ramped up during fasting and is responsible for getting rid of damaged molecules, including ones that have been previously tied to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurological diseases, per Scientific American.

"Autophagy plays a crucial role in your body’s ability to regenerate, repair, and detoxify itself. By activating this process, you can reduce inflammation, optimize your brain functions and slow down the aging process," says Shine+. "Intermittent fasting is a proven way to activate autophagy."