Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstention from all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. 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. Fasting has been practiced for centuries. Although fasting has been practiced for thousands of years, the question is still a subject of intense medical debate.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Numerous studies show that it can have powerful benefits for your body and brain. Intermittent Fasting Changes The Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones.
Fasting is an excellent tool for weight loss- There have been studies that support fasting as an excellent tool for weight loss. Fasting promotes the secretion of Human Growth Hormone, which is important for burning fat. Fasting can also promote muscle building, while decreasing insulin levels.
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.
Fasting promotes elimination of toxins from the body, reduces blood sugar ans fat stores. It promote healthy eating habits and boost immunity. Research suggests there are major health benefits of fasting to caloric restriction. Benefits include reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, immune disorders, and more generally, the slowing of the ageing process, and the potential to increase maximum life span.
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The body enters into the fasting mode only after 7-8 hours of having the last meal, since that is when the body typically finishes utilizing the nutrients from the food. Usually, the body draws its energy from the glucose that is present in liver and muscles. When the body undergoes fasting, this stored glucose is the first thing to be utilized. If the fast continues long enough and the glucose runs out, then the body depends on the accumulated fat for further energy requirements.
You need to be sure no health concerns prevent you from fasting. People with a history of eating disorders, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children, and people recovering from surgery wouldn’t want to try intermittent fasting.
Ancient hunter-gatherers often ate only intermittently, the researchers noted in their article. This suggests that the ability to function at a high level both physically and mentally during extended periods without food may have been crucial in human evolution, and that the human body may have adapted to perform at its best with intermittent fasting.
Research suggests that in animals, intermittent fasting can fend off or even reverse such illnesses as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting provides these benefits by allowing the body to respond better to stress that might otherwise damage it.
Intermittent fasting is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings. Since most of us are carrying excess fat we just can’t seem to burn, this is a really important benefit. When sugar is not needed as a primary fuel, your body will also not crave it as much when your sugar stores run low.
Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
Alternate-Day Fasting: Yet another variation that is quite common is the alternate-day fast. This fasting protocol is exactly as it sounds: one day off, one day on. When you include sleeping time, the fast can end up being as long as 32-36 hours. The drawback is that it requires you to go to bed with an empty stomach every other day, which can be tough for most people—at least initially.
Intermittent fasting is appropriate for most people, but if you’re hypoglycemic or diabetic, you need to be extra cautious. People that would be best served to avoid fasting include those living with chronic stress (adrenal fatigue), and those with cortisol dysregulation. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also avoid fasting. Your baby needs plenty of nutrients, during and after birth, and there’s no research supporting fasting during this important time.
Beginners should choose a day that is stress free, with relatively less activities planned. Do not consider any heavy work or excessive travel during that day. Light activities, like reading, slow yoga movements, working on your computer, walking in the woods, meditation, watching television, driving short distances, etc., are acceptable. But avoid stressful activities, like heavy exercises, going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, running long distances, as these consume a lot of calories and will make you unnecessarily hungry.
The best time to start the fast is during early morning. After getting up from bed and brushing the teeth, drink about two glasses of water. This will also help with bowel movements. The rest of the day, one can drink water any time. There is no restriction on the quantity of water to drink each time or the number of times to consume water. Continue this for a whole day, till the next day morning.
The Physiological Changes of Fasting: Many of the most dramatic changes that occur in the body during fasting take place on the first three days of the fast. These occur as the body switches from one fuel source to another. Normally, the primary form of energy the body uses for energy is glucose, a type of sugar. Most of this is extracted or converted from the food we eat. Throughout the day, the liver stores excess sugar in a special form called glycogen that it can call on as energy levels fall between meals.
Fasting and Healing: Fasting has been found to help a number of disease conditions, often permanently. There have been a number of intriguing clinical trials and studies treating numerous disease conditions with fasting.
Fasting is exceptionally beneficial in chronic cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure, reducing triglycerides, atheromas, total cholesterol, and increasing HDL levels.
Fasting may help you overcome addictions: Addictions can come in all shapes and forms and fasting provides an excellent opportunity to ditch them. You will come to realize that forgoing your addiction all together may not be has hard as you think!
Even if calorie restriction could add years to our lives, almost no one can muster the willpower to eat so little day after day, year after year. An alternative that might be more, er, palatable is fasting, the temporary abstinence from food. Fasting can slow down the aging process.
Fasting Speeds Up The Metabolism: Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energise your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, this can effect your ability to metabolise food and burn fat. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has become incredibly common in recent decades. Its main feature is high blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance. Anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes.
Fasting is not only a religious obligation but it has many health benefits. Fasting is a good practice, if properly implemented. It promotes elimination of toxins from the body, reduces blood sugar ans fat stores. It promote healthy eating habits and boost immunity. Research suggests there are major health benefits of fasting to caloric restriction. Benefits include reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, immune disorders, and more generally, the slowing of the ageing process, and the potential to increase maximum life span.
Fasting boosts immunity if one is careful not to break their fast with an abnormally excessive amount of food. Fruits contain vitamins A and E which boost immunity so one should take care of their balanced diet in between fasts if this is to take place. Fruits should be eaten a lot while breaking the fast.
Fasting Resolves Inflammatory Response: Some studies show that fasting triggers resolution of inflammatory diseases and allergies, examples of such being arthritis and skin diseases such as psoriasis. Some experts even suggest that fasting could magically heal the inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Long-Term Fasting: Long-term fasting refers to prolonged fasting where the time period ranges from 48 hours to 30-40 days without food. This type of fasting is usually advised for patients suffering from chronic medical conditions and should be done only under strict medical guidance.
Healing Mechanism: Fasting also promotes the healing process in the body. When food is no longer present in the stomach, the body focuses on other vital functions like metabolic activity and the immune system, rather than digestion which is not necessary until the next meal.
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Who Should Not Fast? In spite of the multidimensional benefits and acceptable side effects, fasting can prove dangerous in certain medical conditions. It is not recommended for people already suffering from malnutrition, diabetes, and chronic ailments like gout, advanced stages of cancer, and cardiac arrhythmia, in which the heart beats irregularly. It is also not advised for pregnant or nursing women.
How to break a fast? Learning how to break a fast is very important. During the fasting period, there is hardly any digestive activity. One should be gentle on the stomach when breaking the fast. Do not overload the stomach. The best way to break a fast is with lime juice or orange juice.Half a spoon of honey may also be added to the juice. If needed, even fruits can be taken, as they are easy to digest. Boiled vegetables are also fine. Use little or no spice with vegetables as it can irritate the linings of the stomach.
Diseases that have responded to fasting are: psychosomatic disease, neurogenic bladder, psoriasis, eczema, thrombophlebitis, varicose ulcers, fibromyalgia, neurocirculatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, bronchial asthma, lumbago, depression, neurosis, schizophrenia, duodenal ulcers, uterine fibroids, intestinal parasites, gout, allergies, hay fever, hives, multiple sclerosis, and insomnia.
Intermittent fasting improves the immune system because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation. 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.