Fasting is a practice which has been in existence for over centuries, playing an essential role in various regions and cultures.
The method involves abstaining from some or all types of food or drinks for a given amount of time.
Most people go for about 24 to 72 hours without taking food.
The practice has a lot of health benefits associated with it including weight loss and increased brain functionality.
Here are 12 Proven Benefits of Fasting.
1. Blood sugar control.
For those who have diabetes, fasting has been proven to improve blood sugar control.
In a study carried out, one out of ten people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had lower blood sugar levels after intermittent fasting.
Another study showed that fasting had a similar effect of reducing insulin resistance as lowering calorie intake.
With reduced insulin resistance your body is more sensitive to insulin allowing it to transport glucose from your bloodstream to your body cells effectively.
Fasting is therefore essential for controlling your blood sugar.
2. Fasting Reduces inflammation.
Acute inflammation is right for your body immune system as it assists in fighting infections.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is dangerous as it has a severe health risk.
This includes heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
Fasting has been proven to lower inflammation.
In a study done on 50 people, results showed that intermittent fasting for a month reduces inflammation levels.
On another study done on animals showed that low-calorie intake significantly decreased inflammation and this made it easy to treat chronic inflammatory conditions.
3. Healthy heart.
Heart-related conditions account for 31.5 % of deaths and are considered the leading causes of death worldwide.
Studies have shown that fasting does have some positive impact on the Health of your heart.
One particular study showed that fasting on alternate days for about eight days reduces LDL cholesterol levels by 25% and blood triglycerides by 32%.
Another study done on obese test subjects showed that fasting reduces blood pressure.
Other studies associate the practice with reduced risk of artery diseases and diabetes.
For those wishing to avoid heart problems, fasting is a recommended practice for you.
4. Boost brain function.
Some research done on animals prove that fasting has a positive effect on the health of the brain.
On a study done on mice showed that intermittent fasting about a year increased brain function and improved brain structure.
It does this by raising the generation of nerves which improve cognitive function.
The practice also reduces neurodegeneration as it lowers inflammation.
Fasting also aids against prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
These tests, however, have only been done on animals and more research needs to be carried out on human subjects.
5. Weight loss.
Abstinence from specific food intake decreases calorie in the body which leads to weight loss.
Fasting also increases metabolism as it boosts levels of neurotransmitter norepinephrine which leads to weight loss.
A study showed that intermittent fasting for 3 to 12 weeks was effective in reducing weight by 16%.
The practice was found to be much more effective in weight loss than calorie restriction as it also preserved muscles.
6. Increases Growth Hormone Secretion.
The growth hormone is an essential protein hormone in your health.
It is responsible for growth, metabolism, muscle strength and weight loss.
Studies have shown that fasting increases the levels of the hormone.
On one particular study, nine women after fasting for two days had an increase in the growth hormone rate by 5-folds.
Since the practice reduces insulin levels, it, therefore, increases the growth hormone level.
This is because increased insulin reduces growth hormone level.
Research done on animals show an increase in life expectancy.
On a study done on rats showed a reduction in ageing.
The rats that participated in fasting outlived those that did not by 83%.
Other studies also show similar results proving that fasting increases longevity.
The research, however, is only limited to animals and more research on humans still need to be done.
8. Cancer Prevention.
Test-tube and animal studies indicate that fasting reduces the risk of cancer.
One particular study on rats showed that the practice aided in preventing tumor formation.
A similar test-tube study proved that subjecting cancer cells to intermittent fasting reduced the growth of the tumor.
Further studies are being done to investigate the effect on humans as the current studies are limited to animals.
9. Increase in cellular repair.
When you fast, your body cells start a waste removal process which is called autophagy.
The process involves
This is very useful to your body as it protects you against diseases like cancer.
10. Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
This is a common neurodegenerative condition which has no known cure.
The only way to be safe from this disease is by preventing it.
Studies show that fasting reduces the risk of the disease.
In some case reports, some patients improved Alzheimer’s symptoms after fasting.
Other animal studies report that the practice does reduce neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.
11. Improves hunger
You cannot experience hunger if you eat very often.
Fasting enables you to experience real hunger by adjusting hormones in your body.
Obese people are not able to know when they are hungry as they don’t receive correct signals.
The more you fast, the more your body learns to send the right hormone to inform you that you are hungry.
When your hormones are working correctly, you are also able to get full faster.
12. Fasting Helps clear the skin.
When you fast, your body is freed from digesting and can focus on other things like regeneration of energy.
Studies show that abstaining from food for a day helps the body clean the toxins and adjust organ functions like the kidney.
Fasting has a lot of health benefits associated with it.
The list gives 12 Proven Benefits of Fasting to show you its importance.
Some people only consider fasting to be just for religions or those with the intent to lose weight, but it is much more than that.