The fasting culture has gained momentum rapidly as fitness enthusiasts and celebrities are singing praises for it. However, the fasting culture is not new as people all over the world have been practicing fasting over the centuries for religious and cultural issues.
There are different types of fasting performed and the potential benefits of fasting are supposed to be backed by science. Therefore, if you are curious to know all about the interesting benefits of fasting and more, stick to the article till the end then as we share all the details.
A. About fasting
Fasting refers to the set period of time where a person observes complete abstinence from food and beverages. It can be also defined as a period of partial or total restriction on all foods, selected foods, or processed foods. Fasting limits calorie intake and helps in reducing weight to improve brain function.
Some research has found that fasting reduces inflammation and helps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One study reported in 10 patients having type 2 diabetes, fasting had significantly lowered blood sugar. Another review said that intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting were as effective in reducing calorie intake and helped in reducing the risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association states that regular fasting can help patients kill cancer cells, start burning fat, reduce body weight, and improve metabolism. Those who fast routinely have a less than 45 percent mortality rate than those who don’t fast.
Fasting can also help in alleviating inflammation and prevents several neurodegenerative disorders. According to some studies, fasting can be used to slow down aging and inhibit the development of diabetes and thyroid disorders, thus boosting a person’s chances of living long and healthy.
B. About intermittent fasting
People performing fast feel a constant pang of hunger. However, during intermittent fasting, the cycles between periods of eating and fasting are quite flexible and therefore it provides more benefits than other types of fasting.
Intermittent fasting is an eating regime that involves cycles of fasting and eating. There are many different methods of intermittent fasting, including the popular 16/8 and 5:2 types.
It has been observed that intermittent fasting can help improve insulin resistance and subsequently reduce blood sugar levels. Intermittent fasting is a safe and effective method to lose visceral fat while enhancing your immune system. It can reduce potential risks of several ailments and also reduce oxidative harm and inflammation.
Intermittent fasting is safe and effective, however, scheduling the fasting and eating periods correctly is very important. Evidence suggests that correct scheduling is essential for effective weight loss, blood pressure control, blood sugar levels regulation, and diabetes prevention.
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C. Why does fasting help?
Fasting triggers numerous cellular functions and not only helps in losing weight but also aids in eliminating toxins and damaged cells, thereby, lowering the risk of chronic ailments. It also helps in enhancing brain functions. Fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood sugars, lessens inflammation, and improves health ailments from chronic pain to asthma. However, the benefits of fasting depend upon the medical history of an individual.
Intermittent fasting is deemed safe and effective for people undergoing heavy exercise and is considered appropriate to prevent a high-risk relapse. Early restriction on the feeding increases insulin sensitivity to blood pressure and inflammation.
We, human beings, follow a day-night cycle, i.e. our circadian rhythm. Our metabolism adapts to the day’s diets and to sleep. People tend to find the benefits of fasting dubious or anecdotal. However, research suggests that if fasting is regulated through a schedule, it can be reasonable, effective, and sustainable.
People diagnosed as having diabetes or taking certain medication to control them shouldn’t feign fasting unless they have been observed to do so by a healthcare entrant who has a diagnosis of diabetes. Those pregnant or lactated can avoid intermittent fasting unless they do exercise daily. These are some overall benefits of fasting.
D. Benefits of fasting
Fasting means the unwilling abstinence or reduction of food or drink or both for a long period. Short-term fasting can have excellent health benefits. Also, the benefits of fasting are numerous.
Fasting involves zero-calorie beverages and no high-calorie junk food which helps in maintaining overall healthy body weight.
As statistics suggest, fasting has become more widely accepted as a legitimate means of regulating weight and preventing disease.
Fasting also helps in boosting the working capacity of the brain. Anecdotal experience suggests that one can actually observe improvement in neurological functions.
After your body frees itself of toxins, your brain has access to a cleaner bloodstream. This improves brain clarity and memory and increases sharpness. To capitalize on the benefits of fasting, selecting to fast and resisting short-term gratification to pursue long-term goals requires mental strength.
How does fasting work?
Our body uses glucose to produce energy. Now once the glucose reservoir diminishes, the body begins to burn fat to produce the required energy. This is considered metabolic switching. Fasting causes the body to search for alternative measures to produce energy and continue the daily functions. Fasting puts the body under mild stress and it changes how our cells adapt to cope.
E. Benefits of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan which switches between eating and fasting in a scheduled way. It can be described as time-restricted feeding. It is a popular way to handle weight and prevent several ailments. It maintains blood sugar levels in the bloodstream and can cure chronic conditions under medical supervision.
Some studies show intermittent fasting is extremely effective for losing weight. In the long run, losing weight helps in reducing the risk of diseases associated with unhealthy weight. Most people try fasting intermittently to lose weight or to treat chronic diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, or osteoarthritis. Intermittent fasting is also the best preventative measure used against preventing chronic disease.
Intermittent fasting is safe for people, however, one should always consult their medical advisor before including a fasting regime in their daily routine. If are under treatment for ailments like kidney stones, gastroesophageal reflux, diabetes, or other chronic ailments, consult a medical professional before committing to intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
Intermittent fasting help in prolonging the period where it can burn the calories consumed at your last meal. According to research when the body continues working for several hours without food, the body begins to use the sugar stores and burn them.
It sometimes takes two to four weeks to become accustomed to intermittent fasting. Episodes like 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours fast periods do not necessarily improve your health and can be dangerous instead. According to the research, the 5: 2 diet plan can be extremely effective for your health. It involves eating regularly five days a week and then one 500 – 600 calorie meal a day is taken for the remaining two days.
Another recommended diet plan can also be, eating for eight hours a day and fasting for the rest or you may decide to eat only one daily meal two days a week.
F. What should be eaten while fasting?
During intermittent fasting, hydration is an absolute must. Cups of black coffee and tea are also allowed. At the same time at mealtime choose complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean proteins. You should also eat with others and share the mealtime for comfort and support.
You must stay away from sugary meals and processed items. Try to eat your food at a slow pace and fill up your plate with items like wholewheat pasta, rice, meat, beans, and potatoes rather than unhealthy processed food items.
Try not to physically exhaust yourself. Light exercises are however recommended. You should consult with a dietician or nutritionist to help you chalk out a diet plan to maximize the benefits of fasting.
The benefits of fasting can be numerous, however, it does not act as a substitute for mental health problems. Do not use fasting as a method to treat chronic mental health problems. Consult a professional medical advisor for proper guidance and treatment.
There have been several studies proving the benefits of fasting. But fasting as a method of weight loss needs some additional information. The benefits of fasting are numerous, however, people taking certain medications should not fast unless recommended by a healthcare professional. Pregnant or lactating women should avoid intermittent fasting as well.
If you want to start fasting, please consult your doctor. Fasting can be hard and sometimes unpleasant but the physical results can be observed.
Fasting too much or too often can create severe dehydration, mental stress, and disruption of sleep. Doctors advise against fasting if you feel any symptoms that come from dehydration or depression. Don’t eat big meals at first and spread the meals to yourself then let your body go and get used to processing. Stop carefully and stretch each meal gradually and spread slowly until you get into your fasting rhythm.
Content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. Reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.