Proven Benefits of Fasting
What makes fasting seem so novel is that, with all the diet advice out there, the easiest might be to simply not eat. Of course, fasting isn’t the same as starving yourself, which is what many people think when they hear “fasting.” And yet, fasting isn’t a diet, either. The literal definition of fasting is to abstain from food and drink from a specific period of time; it’s been around for thousands of years, as spiritual fasting is a part of many religions. But in this context, I prefer looking at fasting as simply a change in eating patterns.
In place of three square meals a day or a handful of smaller meals throughout the day, you’ll have a specific window of time when you’re eating, whether it’s a few hours a day or certain days of the week. During that time, you can eat whatever you want. Of course, I say that within reason.
If you’re eating processed foods and potato chips, it’s unlikely you’ll reap the benefits of fasting. If that’s you, I encourage you to examine your diet before trying a fast. But if you practice fasting and stick to a mostly whole food diet, rich in fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and raw dairy, you will see changes — and those occasional splurges on chocolate or cheese won’t haveas big of an impact as they might if you were on a calorie-restrictive diet.
The beauty of fasting is that there isn’t one “right” way to do it. In fact, there are several types that are popular.
excellent tool for weight loss :
Most people who try intermittent fasting do so to lose weight.
The good news : Fasting is a great resource for shedding a few pounds.
Not only does it help you naturally eat fewer calories, but when compared to calorie restriction diets, intermittent fasting has proven to be more effective.
promotes the secretion of human growth hormone :
Human growth hormone, or HGH, is naturally produced by the body, but remains active in the bloodstream for just a few minutes. It’s been effectively used to treat obesity and help build muscle mass, important for burning fat. HGH also helps increase muscle strength, which can help improve your workouts, too. Combine these together and you have an effective fat-burning machine on your hands.
good for athletes :
Fasting has been found to have positive effects on body mass as well as other health markers in professional athletes. This is because, as previously mentioned, fasting can effectively shed excess fat, while optimising muscle growth, because of HGH production. Traditionally, athletes are advised to consume high-quality protein half hour after finishing their workouts to simultaneously build muscle and reduce fat. Fasting is advised for training days, while eating is encouraged on game days.
May help prevent cancer :
he best study so far behind this claim is the positive effects fasting has on those going through chemotherapy. People who received 4 cycles of chemo used 48-hour fasting protocols to minimize side effects. Shockingly enough, the only negative side effects reported were lightheadedness and hunger.
That’s not all.
Various animal studies have also shown positive effects including:
- Better survival rates.
- Blunting tumor growth.
Improves brain function :
The nerves and synapses in our brains are important to care for. The more efficient they are, the better. Fasting has been shown to increase the growth of new nerve cells in the brain. This will improve how your brain functions. Well, it’s not just that. It also increases the production of the brain protein (BDNF). This protein protects against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s!
Promotes Heart Health :
Another animal study found that fasting leads to improved heart health. In animals, researchers found that intermittent fasting improved heart muscle performance, reduced free radical damage, and increased the growth of blood vessels within the heart.
Protects Your Brain :
Studies on aging and brain function have substantially increased in the last decade. Life expectancies have increased well past what was once even thought possible. The public’s profound interest in brain health throughout all stages of life reflects a desire to age gracefully, healthfully, and with full mental faculties intact. Fortunately, fasting seems to specifically kickstart protective mechanisms in your brain.
Improves your immune system :
Intermittent fasting can help keep the body from getting sick. By reducing inflammation, the body becomes more resistant to common illnesses.
So, fewer colds and a stronger immune system! Sounds good right?
Not only does fasting improve health in the short-term, but the long-term as well…
lower triglyceride levels :
When you consume too much bad cholesterol, your triglyceride levels may shoot up, increasing your risk of heart disease. Intermittent fasting actually lowers those bad cholesterol levels, decreasing triglycerides in the process. Another interesting thing to note is that fasting doesn’t affect the levels of good cholesterol in the body.
Fasting may slow down the aging process :
While not yet proven in humans, early studies in rats seem to link intermittent fasting with increased longevity. One study found that intermittent fasting decreased body weight and increased the life span in rats. Another found that a group of mice who fasted intermittently actually lived longer than the control group, although they were heavier than the non-fasting mice. Of course, it’s not clear that the same results would happen in humans, but the signs are encouraging.