There are many people that live to eat. On the other hand, there are so many individuals that eat only to live. Both the extremities are bad for the body as it is not able to perform with its optimal efficient types of researchers, researchers suggest that you should eat moderately and you should fast intermittently.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is the act of not having food for a pre-decided time. Fasting can be done in various ways and the results of fasting vary upon the difficulty and restrictions followed. Researchers have conducted several types of research and studies indicating that fasting offers several benefits to the body.
Types of Fasting
Fasting can be done in various forms depending upon your body’s requirement and your sustenance power. You can fast for the entire day and have a single simple meal at the end of the day. You can also observe a complete fast without food for the day and just consume milk and fruits. Some people fast consuming fruits only. Cutting down salt intake completely for the day is another way of fasting. There are some other fasting methods that include intermittent fasting with eating on some days and fasting on the other.
Benefits of Fasting
While the new age researchers have recently discovered the benefits of fasting, they were known since an early time. The Indian scriptures and medical theories have revealed that fasting was observed by people in the early times to get several benefits. Theories have also revealed that fasting dates back to the times of Hippocrates. These benefits include better recycling of the cells, better blood composition, enhanced cardiovascular health and improved weight management.
Here are, some health benefits of fasting discussed in detail:
Improved body composition and metabolism:
As you fast, you absolve the body of the task of digesting the food taken in. The body is in a better condition to respond to the other requirements of the body like enhancing the cell recycling process, hormonal actions, metabolism and other such tasks. This leads to a better body composition.
Supports fat loss:
When you are fasting, the process of ketosis sets in. This is the state when the body burns the fat to keep the organs functioning well. With ketosis setting in, fat reserves are stimulated and made to work. This results in loss of fats and better body shape. Intermittent fasting is especially helpful in this case as you can reach the stage of ketosis faster than when you are restricting calorie intake.
Enhanced insulin sensitivity:
Individuals suffering from insulin resistance will find that their insulin sensitivity gets better when they are fasting. This is so because the fat reserves that cause insulin resistance are stirred and made to work when you fast. When you fast, you keep the body away from subtle doses of sugar. When there are low levels of sugar to be processed, the insulin resistance goes away, steadily.
Better cardiovascular health:
One of the main reasons for the risk of cardiovascular problems is high blood pressure and sugar. However, when you fast, you can keep the blood pressure and sugar under control thereby improving your cardiovascular health. Nevertheless, as a hypertensive or diabetic patient, you must fast in consultation with your dietician or physician.
Slow Ageing and Enhance Longevity:
Fasting also invokes longevity and slows down aging. With better blood composition and enhanced metabolism, the body stays healthier. With this, you can enjoy a longer lifespan.
Lower Blood Pressure:
When you fast, the blood pressure lowers. The reason for the lowering of the blood pressure is not due to any effect of fasting but mainly because you have cut down on your salt intake as compared to the regular intake. When you fast, you lose quite a lot of salt by way of urine as well. Therefore, it is a two-way process where you are not taking as much salt as you did normally and on the other hand, you are losing salt by way of wastes.
Lower Blood Sugar:
Fasting also invokes low blood sugar. Your sugar levels go down by nearly 30% when you fast. This might initially lead to low energy levels making you feel lethargic but the blood sugar levels stabilize when you continue fasting. Here it is important to remember that diabetic patients should not fast as low sugar levels can be dangerous. Moreover, such people should fast only after consulting their physician.
Better Cell Recycling:
As the body works on its various functions and processes, cells, both foreign and in-body keep proliferating the body. These cells can cause damage to your tissues which can lead to several progressive diseases. When you fast, you are saved from these diseases as the body goes into the mode of autophagy. This process is like eating your own cells. The body recycles its cells and self-digests them to sustain bodily functions. The body selects the cells and tissues that are malfunctioning to protect the healthy cells from being utilized unnecessarily. As there are limited resources due to lesser intake, the body protects the healthy tissues so that they can respond in a better way when needed in situations like fasting.
Better Brain Protection:
There is no denying the fact that studies on brain functioning and aging have increased tremendously over the past few years. With better technologies known and use of advanced research, it has been seen that fasting induces better brain protection. As the body goes into a self-recycling and progressive mode, overall better health is experienced by the individual. The mind and body age gracefully as the cells are recycled and regenerated selectively. Protective mechanisms are stimulated when you fast thereby invoking the otherwise dormant cells.
Production of harmful protein reduced:
There are several types of proteins and other products that stimulate and cause inflammation, especially in the brain. When you restrict your calorie intake or observe a fast, you inhibit the production of these irritating proteins and free radicals in the brain. Inflammatory cytokines, a type of proteins are known to cause premature aging. Fasting reduces the production of these proteins thereby protecting your brain from their onslaught. On the other hand, studies also suggest that fasting increases the production of protective cytokine that actually protects your brain.
While there are several reasons that might cause inflammation in the body, primarily it is due to the intake of an unhealthy diet that promotes the growth of free radicals in the body. Inflammation is caused by foods like alcohol, dairy products, charred or fried foods and refined carbs and sugar. When you avoid a meal or observe a fast, you are preventing the inflammation that might have been caused by food. Alternatively, fasting induces better balance of hormones. This leads to decrease in inflammation. When your insulin levels lower in the body and there is better insulin sensitivity, the oxidative stress that is caused due to the free radicals, decrease thereby giving you relief from inflammation.
Recovery from Injury in a shorter time:
While you are fasting the glucose in the body starts reducing. This might make the brain a little sluggish initially. However, with the selective cell recycling and the use of the cells and tissues in an optimal way because of the limited resources, the brain functions improve. Studies are being conducted to validate the process of fasting for better brain functioning and faster recovery from injury.
It is a known fact that your diet has an important bearing on the appearance of your skin. If you are eating healthy, your skin will appear healthy. In addition, if you fast, you are giving the cells time to pay more attention to other processes of the body and not just concentrate on digesting the food. The cells regenerate and recycle selectively. This enhances better metabolism. When you are eating and digesting well, your skin also becomes nice. In addition, when you fast, your blood sugar is lowered. This causes the resilience and strength of the collagen in the skin to weaken. Healthy collagen gains prominence and your skin starts glowing.
A sluggish or slow metabolism is the root cause of so many problems. Much of these problems are caused due to unhealthy eating habits. When you fast, you deprive your body of these harmful foods which causes the body to go into the autophagy mode. There is a better production of hormones to support the body functions. Thyroid, insulin and other vital hormones get boosted when you fast regularly. Better metabolism improves your overall health.
Improved blood triglycerides:
Tests have shown that when there are increased triglycerides in the blood there is increased the risk of heart-related problems. The arteries get narrowed due to the deposits in them. When you fast, the triglycerides in the blood reduce, thereby saving you from heart-related ailments.
Better Stress Response:
While it is said that continued stress on your mind and body is not good, a small amount is not that bad. Moderate stress on your brain stimulates it and the neurons in the brain. They are protected from premature damage and death.
Weight gain is mainly caused due to unhealthy eating habits and slow metabolism. When you are fasting, you are depriving your body of the unhealthy food. On the one hand, you are not feeding it harmful food and on the other the body goes into autophagy mode, eating its own fat resources. Therefore, you are sure to lose weight when you fast.
Improved satiety or hunger:
You truly feel hungry when your body is deprived of food for at least 12 hours. However, you are in the habit of eating after every 3-4 hours, not because of hunger but because you regularly do so. When you fast, the hormones in your body work better. The body regulates itself and can send signals correctly. You can experience real hunger only when you fast for long times. Similarly, you get proper signals that you are full when the hormones are working properly.
Improves the Eating Patterns:
When you observe a fast then you control yourself from eating at all times. You set a particular time when you will eat. This prevents you from binge eating. You can set a particular time for eating and putting in calculated amounts of calories in one meal without eating for the rest of the day.
Overall health and wellness:
There is no denying the fact that fasting promotes overall health and wellness. Right from taking care of the cardio health to weight loss and from better brain functioning to thorough body cleansing, fasting is one of the easiest and the safest methods of ensuring overall health and wellness.
The above benefits indicate the power of fasting. You can fast in varying ways depending on your willpower and your body acceptability. Some people are able to fast in a much better way than others. This is because of their internal system and mechanism. Nevertheless, slowly and steadily, you can train your body to be without food for long intervals. This will cleanse your body, get rid of the toxins and promote overall wellness.
While researchers are still studying and researching the effects of fasting, it can be safely concluded that fasting is beneficial in all respects. There are no known side effects of fasting if pursued in the right manner. Individuals suffering from certain ailments like diabetes and hypertension need to fast only under the guidance of their doctor as the non-intake of proper food could interfere with their medication. It is recommended that such individuals should either not fast or do so only after thoroughly under the supervision of their doctors.
For all the others, fasting is the easiest and the least expensive method to stay fit, fine and healthy. So, start fasting for a day from now and experience good health and well being.