Many religions and cultures have fasting as part of their rituals, and these practices date back to centuries. However, we’ve only just recently realized the true benefits of fasting which are, in fact, back by science. It has been found that fasting can be highly beneficial for people suffering from obesity, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. While it may seem hard to refrain from eating a meal until a certain time of the day, just think of the benefits of fasting — as the famous saying goes, “no pain, no gain”.
Controls Blood Sugar Level
Several studies and research have shown that fasting helps diabetic patients by improving blood sugar control. It also reduces insulin resistance, thereby helping glucose to move from the blood to the cells more effectively. In one study, it showed that short-term intermittent fasting helped a lot in lowering blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes. Fasting also helps in preventing the sudden spike or crashes in blood sugar levels that can wreak havoc to our health system and make us feel sick.
Chronic inflammation can be the reason behind several deadly diseases including cancer, heart diseases, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting for a month can decrease the levels of inflammatory markers. Another study found that following a low-calorie diet also helped in treating inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Promotes Better Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world and accounts for more than 30%of deaths in the world. The only way to prevent it is by switching over to a healthier lifestyle and diet. Recent research and study have found that fasting regularly can be immensely beneficial for heart health. In another study, it was found that alternate day fasting for two months resulted in a 25% decrease of bad cholesterol or LDL and a 32% decrease in blood triglycerides. Overall fasting has been associated with lower levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar – all of which contribute to keeping our heart healthy.
Boosts Brain Health
Though research has been conducted on animals only, it has proved again and again that fasting is also related to boosting brain health by improving brain function and brain structure. The test was conducted on mice which were made to do intermittent fasting for 11 months. It can also increase cognitive function and help prevent neurodegenerative disease. Though there is no solid proof yet, some studies indicate improved outcomes in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Hence, fasting can be highly beneficial for aging adults. Fasting has also been associated with long life and delayed aging. However, since the tests have been limited to animals, research is still ongoing.
Aids In Weight Loss
Finally, it goes without saying that fasting helps in weight loss, too. But how? The answer is easy: just by limiting your calorie intake, you can lose a few pounds. However, research has shown that it is not limited to only fewer calories — fasting over a short period of time helps in boosting metabolism. Fasting increases the levels of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, which helps in weight loss. Intermittent fasting over 3 to 12 weeks has helped in weight loss by restricting calories continuously. The Human growth hormone (HGH) has been associated with growth, metabolism, and even weight loss, and fasting can increase this kind of hormone. In another study, it was found that fasting for just 2 days increases the body’s HGH level by five times.
So, now you know that fasting is not bad at all! In fact, it helps the body in various ways, and some tests have even proved it to be effective for the prevention of cancer. There are various kinds of fasting, and if you are a beginner, starting with intermittent fasting for a few hours is a good idea. As you become acquainted with the rules, you can try other types of fasting, and it’ll be easier for you to control your hunger pangs and develop the kind of discipline needed to complete this. However, it is best to talk to your doctor if you want to start it. Depending on your health condition, they will be able to guide you best. Also, do not forget to have a healthy diet and combine exercise into your daily routine for better results!