Google “fasting for health” and you’ll get more than 6.3 million hits, ranging from doctors who recommend it for treating a range of diseases, to spas that promise detoxifying food-free vacations, to bloggers who say that fasting makes them feel clearer mentally and more fit — and, increasingly, to fitness professionals touting diets that incorporate fasting as a method for weight loss.
Fasting has become increasingly popular over the years, especially among the health community. Whilst most health practitioners are afraid to recommend eating less due to the stigma involved, it still doesn’t alleviate the incredible benefits of fasting when used sensibly.
In this article, we’ll explore the 8 surprising benefits of fasting many don't realize:
1. Helps Weight Loss
Fasting can be a safe way to lose weight as many studies have shown that intermittent fasting – fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours – allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting. Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as its primary source of energy instead of sugar. Many athletes now use fasting as means of hitting low body fat percentages for competitions.
2. Improved Tolerance Of Glucose
For diabetics, fasting can be a fantastic way to normalize glucose and even improve glucose variability. Anyone looking for a natural way to increase insulin sensitivity should attempt an intermittent fast, as the effects of fasting can make a huge difference in how your body processes glucose.
Generally, insulin resistance is the result of the accumulation of glucose in tissues that aren’t built for fat storage. As the body burns through stored fuel in the form of body fat, that excess accumulation becomes smaller and smaller, allowing the cells in your muscles and liver to grow increasingly responsive to insulin – great news for anyone looking to be less dependent on medications to assist these processes.
3. It Keeps Your Brain Sharp
We all want to keep our brain sharp and fasting may help. Animal research suggests that fasting may help increase the production of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which may play a role in brain dysfunction and degeneration. Other studies suggest that fasting helps prevent short-term and special memory loss, can reduce brain damage and functional impairment, and even mediate the severity of Alzheimer’s in rats. While we’re still waiting on the credible studies on humans to draw any solid conclusions, it’s definitely some good food for thought.
4. Speeds Up The Metabolism
Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energize your metabolism to burn calories more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, this can affect your ability to metabolize food and burn fat. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.
5. Establishes Routine
Unless you’re following a random fast type of diet, having strict eating times followed by periods of fasting can help your body develop a solid routine. You’ll be able to recognize your own hunger cycles, you’ll sleep more regularly and soundly, and you’ll start scheduling appointments during convenient hours. It can be difficult to establish this routine at first, especially if you have a family or an inflexible work schedule, but once you’ve developed a consistent plan, you’ll soon start to see all the ways a set routine can benefit your life – and your health.
6. Improves Your Eating Patterns
Fasting can be a helpful practice for those who suffer from binge eating disorders, and for those who find it difficult to establish a correct eating pattern due to work and other priorities.
With intermittent fasting going all afternoon without a meal is okay and it can allow you to eat at a set time that fits your lifestyle. Also, for anyone who wants to prevent binge eating, you can establish a set time in where you allow yourself to eat your daily amount of calories in one sitting, and then not eat till the following day.
7. Boosts Immune System
According to scientists, fasting has the power to “regenerate the entire immune system” by boosting the body’s production of new white blood cells, which is how your body fights off infection. Fasting in cycles, like practitioners of intermittent fasting, will do on a daily or weekly basis, enables your body to purge the damaged, old, or inefficient parts of the immune system, and replace them with newly generated immune system cells.
8. Contributes To Self-Enlightenment
Fasting has helped many people feel more connected to life during the practices reading, meditation, yoga and martial arts etc. With no food in the digestive system, this makes room for more energy in the body – the digestive is one of the most energy absorbing systems in the body. Fasting for self-enlightenment, allows us to feel better both consciously and physically. With a lighter body and a clearer mind, we become more aware and grateful for the things around us.
Fasting is not only about not eating, but it’s also about taking your body to a much higher form self-improvement. In this post, I shared with you the 8 surprising benefits of fasting many don't realize.
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