There are many reasons as to why people would try dieting, exercising regularly, and drinking more water; the health benefits of these methods have been studied and proven time and time again. Another interesting health-kick that has risen alongside these wellness behemoths, though perhaps at a slower pace, is the popular practice of fasting.
What is fasting?
Fasting is the practice of going without food and/or drink for a period of time; the process dates back centuries and has been widely practiced in many different cultures and religions. It is still popular today, not only for its roots in spirituality and religious beliefs but for creating a healthy balance of mind, body, and soul.
If you’re someone who thinks that you simply couldn’t live without food, then you’re probably wondering, ‘Why would I want to fast?’ Well, fasting actually promises many interesting benefits that might change your mind; these include improvements in cardiac health, brain functioning, weight loss, treating inflammation, and blood sugar control.
There are different ways to fast. One example is water fasting, which entails only consuming water for a certain amount of time. However, you’ll need to know what to expect when water fasting. There’s also intermittent fasting, which requires going without sustenance for a number of hours or days at a time, and maintaining a regular diet for the rest of the time. Partial fasting is having certain foods eliminated from your diet; juice fasting involves limiting your diet to drinking fruit or vegetable juice, and; calorie fasting restricts the number of calories that you can consume for a few days each week. Various different methods offer their own unique benefits, some of which we’re going to look at in more depth below.
The following are five reasons why people should consider fasting:
- Interestingly, how the brain reacts to fasting has been compared to how it reacts to rigorous and regular exercise; both practices promote protein production and encourage overall neurological health. This holds promise for day-to-day cognitive functioning, especially when combined with regular exercise.
- Changing your diet and making better lifestyle choices are some of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, and there’s research to suggest that fasting could be beneficial for blood pressure.
- Many people who fast do so in order to lose weight. Staying away from food and drink directly decreases your calorie intake, which in turn plays a significant role in weight loss. There have also been cases where fasting has acted as a metabolism boost by increasing levels of norepinephrine.
- Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting could help to decrease levels of inflammation; this is beneficial to the prevention and treatment of conditions such as multiple sclerosis, as well as the promotion of better health.
- Fasting can help to promote blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance. Decreasing this resistance means developing a stronger sensitivity to insulin, which allows it to move glucose from your bloodstream to your cells more efficiently. There have been varied results between men and women when it comes to the potential to lower blood sugar, but paired with the reduction in insulin resistance, the chances for this potential are heightened significantly.
It’s very important to keep in mind that fasting should be thoroughly researched and that you should consult your doctor before you make any decisions yourself; go at your own pace and find your rhythm, rather than immediately aligning yourself with whatever you’ve read online. It’s always best to start small and to adjust your methods and lifestyle according to what suits you best.
While the health benefits may be numerous, your own personal health should always be considered before investing in any kind of fasting; everyone reacts to certain stimuli differently, and it’s important to gauge your own reaction carefully before coming to any conclusions.