Is ‘fasting’ a good thing or is it a good to ‘starve’ yourself for a day, or for a few days of the week? Well, there are some studies, research or evidence to indicate that timed periods of starvation or fasting are good for health and provides numerous health benefits both physically and mentally.
Actually, fasting is not a new thing for us as for centuries; people have been practicing this for different purposes. And fasting has played a central role in several religions and it. I traditionally followed in many cultures.
The main reason for these religions to practice fasting is that they believe there is a connection between the spiritual and the physical state. In the recent few decades, the practice of fasting has been popular especially among the health community. However, most of those who are choosing this age-old practice is not for religious reasons but they believe that fasting will be helpful to make their body healthier and fit..
We have listed below 10 benefits of fasting that will surprise you and hopefully give you the motivation to incorporate the fasting practice into your own life.
Fasting Helps You to Reduce Your Body Weight
Fasting is one of the best ways to reduce your weight, if you are obese or if you want to lose some of your extra fat. It is one of the best and safest ways to lose weight as many studies have been proven that intermittent fasting that is controlled within a set count of period of time – allows the individual’s body to burn through fat cells more effectively than when compared with the individual taking regular diet.
Fasting allows the body to burn the fat first, as a primary source of energy instead of sugar present in the body. Nowadays, many athletes are adopting this fasting practice to hit low body fat percentages during their preparation for competitions.
Fasting Speeds Up Your Body Metabolism
As fasting gives your digestive system a relaxing time, and this in turn can energize your body’s metabolism to burn fat more efficiently. If your digestion system is not good then this can affect your ability to burn fat and metabolize food. Fasting not only helps to regulate your digestive system but also helps to promote healthy bowel function, which in turn improves the metabolic function of your body.
Fasting Improves Hunger
Think for instance, if you having your meal for 3 – 4 times a day or once every 3 hours, can you experience what is real hunger is? No, Of course, you can’t. In fact, to experience real hunger, you have to wait for at least 12 hours after your meal and you should not eat anything during those 12 hours. During these hours, fasting helps your body to regulate the hormones so that that reason why you experience what real hunger is.
The longer you fast, the more it can regulate your body to release the correct hormones, so as a result you can experience true hunger. And you get full quicker if your hormones are working correctly. Fasting not only increases your metabolism but also very helpful for people who suffer from binge eating disorders. And it is one of the best ways to correct eating pattern and it is recommended for people who find it difficult to practice their eating patterns correctly due to various reasons like busy work and other priorities.
Fasting Can Reduce Insulin Resistance
Fasting gives a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, and it allows the body to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better while fasting. Many studies showed that after hours of fasting, insulin becomes more effective which results in taking up glucose from the blood.
Interestingly, practicing fasting or intermittent fasting has been proved that it provides major benefits for insulin resistance in the body and it leads to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes patients and it has become incredibly common practice in recent decades. Anything that helps in reducing insulin resistance can help in lowering the blood sugar levels and protects the person from type 2 diabetes.
In human studies on intermittent fasting, it is showed that fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%, whereas fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%. Another study has shown that intermittent fasting also protects kidney from damaging, which is one of the most severe complications faced by the diabetes patients.
Fasting Promotes Longevity
It may be hard to believe and it is true, the less you eat the longer you will live. Certain studies have shown that how the lifetime of people in certain cultures increased due to their eating habits or diets. It is not like the person who eats more will die soon but the less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system and it is just a suggestion that eating right makes you healthy. Notably, the primary reason for ageing is the slower metabolism, when you are young your body metabolism will be faster and more efficient, as ages past it will slow but by adopting the practice of fasting, your metabolism will increase which in turn you live healthily for a long time.
Fasting Improves Your Brain Function
It is shown that Fasting improves brain function as it improves the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.)
BDNF is a protein that activates brain stem cells and converts into new neurons, and stimulates numerous other chemicals which in turn promotes the neural health of the body. Apart from this, this particular protein also protects the brain cells from changes which are linked with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Fasting Improves Your Immune System
By reducing free radical damage, regulating inflammatory conditions in the body and by starving off cancer cell formation, fasting helps in improving the immune system.
Naturally, whenever the animals get sick they focus on resting and they stop eating as this is a primal matter which helps to reduce the stress on their internal system and the body can fight against the infection. We humans are the only species on the planet who always needs food even when we are ill, and we even look for food sometimes without knowing that we don’t actually need them.
Fasting Provides Self-Enlightenment
There are people who believe that fasting helps them feel more connected to life like their other spiritual practices like meditation, reading, yoga and martial arts etc. If there is no food in the stomach or digestive system, it leaves spaces for more energy in the body. And it is believed that the digestive system of our body is one of the most energy absorbing systems. So, fasting gives self-enlightenment and makes us feel better both consciously and physically. With a lighter body, your mind will be clearer with more awareness and grateful for everything around us.
Fasting Prevent Acne and Gives Clear Skin
As fasting makes the body temporarily frees from digestion, it focuses more on other systems for its regenerative energies which as a result give clear skin by preventing acne. Fasting for a day or not eating anything for a day has been proven, that it will help the body to clean up the toxins and promote the function of other organs of the body like kidneys, liver and other parts.
Fasting May Help to Overcome Addictions
Some studies also proved that fasting can help to overcome some addictions habits like reduce the cravings on nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and other substance abuse. Even though there are other formal patterns and treatments required for resolving these addictions, but fasting is also one that can play a role.
Apart from all the benefits, fasting also has some demerits. Not eating for hours may cause water reduction in the body which is called dehydration. This will lead to headaches and even trigger migraines in some cases. It may exacerbate peptic ulcer and heartburn. And importantly, fasting is not advisable for nursing mothers, pregnant women, malnourished people, and people with renal or liver problems or with cardiac arrhythmias.