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by inKin
04 Jul

Is Fasting Good For Your Health?

You've probably noticed that fasting has become popular over the past few years. Yet, surprisingly, fasting is nothing new; it's actually been done in different religions and cultures for centuries.

What's fasting? It's simply avoiding food for a certain amount of time. You should always check with your doctor before doing something like this.

 

Advantages of Fasting

1. Improves Blood Sugar Control

With fasting, your body tolerates carbohydrates better and allows for lower blood sugar levels. If your insulin sensitivity is raised, your body stands a better chance of being able to move glucose (sugar) easily from your bloodstream to your body's cells. In addition to this wonderful advantage, fasting can also help prevent crashes and spikes in your blood sugar. Just be aware that fasting might affect blood sugar levels in women differently than in men.

 

2. Boosts Brain Function

It may seem odd to think that your brain function can be improved with fasting, but it's true. How? Fasting increases the creation of a protein known as BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Brain stem cells are activated to transform into new neurons; likewise, BDNF encourages neural health by stimulating many other chemicals in the brain. Amazingly, this protein can protect your brain from the changes that come with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

 

3. Clears the Skin

If you fast, for a brief time your body is free from digesting food and allowed to turn its concentration on regenerating, regulating and removing toxins from other parts of your body—like kidneys, liver and…your skin. You can assist your body in doing so by fasting for at least 24 hours.

 

4. Increases Your Metabolism

Fasting can encourage your bowel to function properly and control your digestion which will aid in better metabolism. However, if you have bad digestion, this affects the capability to burn fat and metabolize food. As we just stated above, fasting gives your body a break from digesting; thus, your metabolism becomes energized to burn those calories more productively.

 

5. Aids in Weight Loss

Many people turn to fasting to lose a few pounds. In fact, for competition events, a lot of athletes fast to attain a decreased body fat percentage. Fasting can be a safe way to lose weight and more effective than dieting. For losing weight intermittent fasting is the best way to go. This is a controlled fast in a set amount of hours in which your body uses fat as its key energy source rather than sugar.

 

6. Strengthens Your Immune System

Did you know humans are the only animal that will eat despite being sick? Other animals do it right—when they're ill, they hide away to rest and don't eat. This is their basic instinct to let their body fight the ailment and heal. We need to learn from other animals. Fasting controls inflammation in your body, fights cancer forming cells and decreases free radical harm; thus, improving your immune system.

 

Disadvantages of Fasting

Those are great benefits of fasting (and there are even more). Yet you should be aware of the disadvantages too.

  • Do you have hypoglycemia or diabetes? If so, fasting can be quite dangerous for you since it could result in crashes or spikes in blood sugar.
  • Fasting could cause overeating, particularly for beginners. Don't be hard on yourself, you'll adjust over time. If, however, you have an eating disorder, fasting is definitely not recommended as it could worsen the disorder.
  • If you want to fast for longer than 24 hours, are on medication or have any kind of health issues, you must talk to your physician.
  • The first few weeks will be tough—especially if you're someone who eats small meals throughout the day. Try a shorter time for fasting at first, make sure you're eating enough calories and drink lots of water. If you feel sick or dizzy during your fast—stop!

 

Types of Fasting

It's pretty easy to find a fasting method that suits you since there are so many out there. But let's take a brief look at some of the most popular categories of fasting:

 Juice Fasting – You drink just fruit and vegetable juice for a specific period.

Calorie Restriction Fasting – Several days a week, your calories are limited.

Partial Fasting – Particular drinks or foods like caffeine, animal products or processed items are removed from your diet for a certain time.

Water Fasting – For a specific period, you only drink water.

Intermittent Fasting – For this fasting, you would entirely or partially restrict your food intake for a few hours or up to several days at one time. You can restart your regular diet on the other days.

 

Clearly, the benefits of fasting outweigh the disadvantages—but always speak with your doctor first. To begin your fasting, experiment with various fasting methods and discover which one is ideal for you. Fasting can be very beneficial to your health if you pair it with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

 

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

 

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