Fasting means abstinence from food and or water. It might sound a little scary or even extreme to some people. Fear not, as many people fast for spiritual, mental and physical reasons. Athletes practice fasting as a means to improve their health both mentally, and physically since it can improve brain function and mental clarity. Multiple faiths also fast including fasting in their regimen including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. Below are top 10 health benefits of fasting:
Lose weight and belly fat:
According to many studies, losing weight has shown to be possible and effective when fasting. Fasting allows the body to burn fat for energy when there is no sugar or food. Fasting can enhance hormone function to help with weight loss. Increased amounts of norepinephrine, lower insulin levels, and an increase of hormone levels all contribute the breakdown of body fat. Multiple athletes fast to lose body fat percentage efficiently.
Improves brain function and mental clarity:
Fasting has shown to improve brain performance because it boosts a protein called BDNF( brain- derived neurotrophic factor). BNDF activates the brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and stimulates other chemicals that promote neural health. Studies have also shown that it can increase the growth of new nerve cells, which could have benefits of brain functions.
- Improves insulin sensitivity/ lowering risk of type 2 diabetes:
Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin resistance, enabling you to tolerate carbs better than normal. Fasting has been shown to have crucial benefits for insulin sensitivity and can lead to a reduction in blood sugar levels.
May help prevent cancer:
There is some evidence on cancer patients, showing that fasting reduces various side effects of chemotherapy. Despite the fact there are human studies needed to be done, promising evidence from animal studies shows that fasting may help prevent cancer.
May help you live longer:
Studies have shown how the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets. Studies in rats have shown that fasting extends their lifespan. In some other studies, rats who have fasted lived 83% longer than rats who haven’t fasted.
May be beneficial for your cardio health:
Heart disease is a worldwide killer. Fasting has shown to improve countless risk factors, such as blood pressure, LDL and total cholesterol, blood triglycerides and more.
Can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body:
Oxidative stress enhances aging and many chronic disease. Multiple studies show that fasting may enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress.
Improves blood fat levels:
In 1997 the Annals of Nutrition Metabolism demonstrated that fasting lowered bad cholesterol, LDL, by 8 percent, triglycerides by 30%, and increase good cholesterol, HDL, by 14%. Fasting may be the perfect time to reprogram your body to get to eating healthy.
Can help improve eating patterns:
With today’s food abundances, people have developed multiple eating disorders such as binge eating. Fasting all day and eating at a set time and allow yourself to eat appropriately.
Can curb hunger:
Fasting helps regulate the hormones in your body so that you understand what true hunger is. Fasting can be like a reset button- the longer you fast, the more your body can regulate itself and correct hormones. It will also help you get full quicker.