“Fasting” is the practice of abstaining — both wholly or partially — from food, water, or both for a specific period of time. Some people fast for several hours up to a day, while others claim to have fasted for several days at a time!
What is really interesting, though, is the reason or purpose for fasting. For many people, fasting is a religious practice. Some Catholics refrain from eating meat during the Lenten season, while Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown during the holy month of Ramadan.
Still, there are people who fast not because of spiritual reasons, but rather because of health and physical reasons. Athletes have been known to fast, as improves their physical condition, mental health, and even brain function. In this article, we will focus on the health benefits of fasting.
10 Reasons Why Fasting is Good for Your Health
Based on research studies and observations, here are 10 possible health benefits of fasting:
#1 – Fasting can help you lose weight.
Your body needs sugar (from food) to produce energy. Without food or sugar, your body will burn fat instead, helping you lose weight in the process. Studies also show that “intermittent fasting” or controlled fasting within a number of hours, can help burn body fat effectively.
#2 – Fasting can speed up your metabolism.
Every time you eat or drink, your body’s digestive system goes to work. Too much food and not enough exercise, however, can slow down your metabolism. But when you fast, your digestive system can “take a rest.” This will eventually help to regulate and speed up your metabolism.
#3 – Fasting can help prevent breakouts.
Since fasting can help improve digestion, it affects other parts of the body as well. It can help clean up toxins and regulate the functions of kidneys, liver, and other organs. As a result, you will feel better, healthier, and your skin will look great, too!
#4 – Fasting can help improve the immune system.
Did you know that when animals get sick, their natural response is to stop eating? Apparently, this helps them to fight off infections. Similarly, fasting can help you improve your immune system, as it regulates your body’s conditions and reduces the damage caused by free radicals.
#5 – Fasting can help improve brain function.
Have you heard of a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)? It is responsible for activating your brain’s stem cells, which transform into new neurons and other chemicals that support neural health. Well, fasting can boost the production of BDNF, thereby improving your brain function and protecting you from diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
#6 – Fasting can lower your risk for diabetes.
Studies have shown that fasting can help improve insulin resistance. This means that when you fast, your body can tolerate sugar better than if you don’t fast. Consequently, improved insulin resistance means lower blood sugar levels and reduced risk for diabetes.
#7 – Fasting may improve your cardiovascular health.
Aside from lowering your risk for diabetes, fasting may also improve your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and sugar level. In other words, it could be beneficial to your heart and overall cardiovascular health.
#8 – Fasting may help prevent cancer.
Studies indicate that fasting can help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Conclusive results have yet to be found, but these studies suggest that fasting may actually help prevent cancer.
#9 – Fasting can help regulate your eating patterns.
These days, some people don’t have a regular eating pattern because of unusual work schedules. Also, there are those who suffer from binge eating and similar disorders. Fasting can help solve these problems. By setting specific periods for fasting and eating throughout the day, you can regulate your eating patterns and prevent binge eating.
#10 – Fasting may help you live longer.
Studies show that in certain cultures, people tend to live for a long time because of their diets. Naturally, the older you get, the slower your metabolism becomes. Through fasting, you can allow your digestive system to rest, thus improving your chances of living longer, and healthier.
All of these benefits indicate why fasting could be good for your health. It can improve metabolism, immunity, and brain function. It may help prevent diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Indeed, the benefits of fasting prove that eating “less” means gaining so much “more”!