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Intermittent fasting is the latest buzzy health trend that everyone is talking about. The (non) eating plan has been associated with better brain function, longevity, and weight loss, and is purported as protecting against certain diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Is fasting really all that and more? Here’s what you need to know about intermittent fasting.

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What Is Intermittent Fasting?

First and foremost, intermittent fasting is not a diet. It’s an eating plan where that cycles between periods of eating and not eating (aka fasting). Instead of limiting what to eat, intermittent fasting limits when to eat.

Although fasting may seem like the newest wellness trend, it’s actually been practiced for thousands of years out of human necessity and food scarcity. Fasting practices are observed in many religious groups including Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism.

We naturally practice fasting in between the time we eat dinner and breakfast. The name breakfast, of course, implies breaking the fast. While we sleep and abstain from food, our body releases beneficial growth hormones, repairs tissues and cells, and increases blood supply to organs, among other beneficial and restorative things. The benefits of nighttime fasting can be elongated to other parts of the day too, according to proponents of intermittent fasting.

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