Fasting is voluntarily giving up eating food for a specific period of time. It has been followed by people from centuries and even to date it has religious and cultural significance attached to it. The Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan, the Hindus observe fasting during Navratri and other festivals, the Christians do it on Good Friday and even Buddhists and Jains have the practice of fasting. Fasting has long been thought to be a form of connection to God and hence held in high regard. But did you know that there are many health benefits of fasting?
Health benefits of fasting
This age-old custom of not eating or drinking during a certain period which was done for religious and spiritual reasons are being done for health reasons now. There is enough evidence from scientific research that there are numerous benefits to be had by skipping food. While there are many health professionals who shy away from recommending complete fasting due to its stigma but if done sensibly it can provide many advantages to a person who fasts.
Reduce weight: Most health practitioners recommend eating food in controlled proportions to lose weight in a healthy manner. But as per researchers fasting is not only the fastest way to lose those extra pounds but is also the safest option. When a person eats food it is converted into energy, some of the energy is used by the body for the daily activities and the unused energy is converted into fat for future use. During intermittent fasting when there is no food consumption the body uses the unused energy which is stored in the form of fat. The fat that is stored is converted into energy and you start losing weight and is much better than following fad diets.
Boosts metabolism: Fasting can improve metabolism. The digestive system is always on overdrive as there is no rest and that can impact the way the body burns fat and metabolize food. During fasting, the digestive system gets a much-needed rest says Dr Jay Davidson and norepinephrine levels are increased in the blood that helps to boost metabolism. When you consume food the next day the system is rested boosting the metabolism and the body can burn more calories and also extract more energy from the food. It also helps in better bowel movements.
Makes heart healthy: Heart diseases have become a leading cause of death all over the world due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Fasting is known to reduce the risk of heart diseases as it burns LSD cholesterol which contributes to diabetes as well as increasing blood pressure levels. Skipping on eating and drinking if done properly can also reduce the levels of triglycerides, blood sugar and much more. A study by researchers regarding fasting on alternate days for 8 weeks reduced LDL by 25% and triglycerides by 32% which lead to a reduction in blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Controls blood sugar levels: Intermittent fasting aids in reducing blood sugar and also insulin resistance. There have been numerous studies that have proven that fasting can help in bringing blood sugar to control and reduce the chance of diabetes. It is also a fact that people who have type 2 diabetes are also known to have a reduction in blood sugar levels after intermittent fasting. Another study showed that there is reduced insulin resistance as it allows the glucose to move through the bloodstream much better.
Promotes skin health: Fasting has an effect on skin health too. Like mentioned earlier, during fasting the digestive system gets rest from its work and that allows the body to use the energy for other activities. Among them is improving skin health as it aids in the removal of toxins and making the skin look better. Intermittent fasting helps in cleansing the dead cells and cell regeneration happens which promotes skin health by healing scars. It also reduces the inflammation which prevents acne.
Promotes brain functioning: Fasting is not only helpful for the body but also the brain too. There are a number of ways the brain function is improved due to skipping food. It helps in increased production of a hormone called BNDF which in turn promotes the stem cell activation in the brain which is good for mental health. When the BNDF levels are low it leads to depression and other brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Fasting reduces oxidative stress, inflammation, insulin resistance, which are all good for brain health too.
Can prevent cancer: Cancer is caused when the cell multiplies rapidly and research has shown that fasting has the effect of reducing the growth of tumor cells. It is also useful for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and also reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Intermittent fasting can also reduce the toxins from cells which further reduces the risk of cancer.
Fights inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a great cause of concern as it can lead to various serious issues like cancer, heart diseases, arthritis and much more. One of the ways of reducing this chronic inflammation is through intermittent fasting. As per a study conducted on individuals, it was found that intermittent fasting for 30 days resulted in lower inflammatory markers. Another animal study found that a low-calorie diet also resulted in reduced inflammation and useful in treating multiple sclerosis.
Helps live longer: People who fast often tend to live longer as per various studies. There are various reasons attributed to it like an increase in metabolism, prevention of muscle tissue loss, removal of old cell matter, etc. Moreover, when the body is provided with enough nutrients during the fasting period the body does autophagy which is breaking old and dead cells which allows the recycling of cells which results in slow aging and hence increases longevity.
Fasting has a lot of health benefits and there are various types of fasting like intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, etc. Choose the one that suits your lifestyle to get the maximum benefit from it and also ensure that you have a healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet before the day of fasting.
Thanks for stopping by today and reading this post about the health benefits of fasting.