Lately Fasting has been gaining popularity for its health promoting effects. Fasting has been there since ages and different fasting diets has been studied clinically for its benefits and as a preventive care in certain diseases and health conditions. Different variations of Fasting diets are popular now a day such as Intermittent fasting, Fast Mimicking Diet, Water Fast, Alternate Day Fasting, 5: 2 Diet and others too. The idea is to disengage the body from digestion and give it a rest for healing and rejuvenation. You can try different kind of fasting to see what works best for you according to your lifestyle or keeping the pros and cons of each kind of Fasting methods.
The Fasting is not recommended for people who are under chronic stress, pregnant, malnourished, suffering from eating disorders, fatigue syndrome or thyroid issues.
The Top 5 Health Benefits of Fasting are;
- Anti-ageing – The Fasting has been proved in many studies for increasing longevity. The positive effects of Fasting on ageing is linked to a process known as Autophagy. By fasting we induce starvation and during starvation cells breakdown proteins and structures and use them for energy. In the same process many bacteria and viruses are killed and body get rid of damaged structures and cells and repair or renew the existing cells like servicing of your car by replacing engine oil or replacing worn out parts. Autophagy repairs the damaged cells, replace the worn out and form new ones. The Fasting induce stress response at cellular level for a restricted period of time and that acute stress act as a primer or signal to body to repair and recover again. Fasting for 12-16 hours without food increases Growth Hormone levels which is known as Youth Hormone. The fasting also shown to reduce oxidative stress (free radical production) which is directly proportionate to the ageing.
- Weight Loss: Fasting has shown to help in weight loss among adults. The body uses sugar as primary fuel under normal circumstances, when depleted use glycogen stored in muscles and liver as secondary source. When that glycogen is also depleted body uses stored fat as a source of energy. It is similar to ketosis where body uses fat and ketones as source of energy. Be aware if you are chronically stressed and eating junk or processed food while fasting, it can do more harm than good by increasing cortisol production eating up muscle and slowing down the BMR. What your eat is more important when you break the fast. Eat more natural, nutrient dense foods rather than highly processed foods or high carb, high sugar meal. Fasting also helps in controlling hunger and appetite by lowering the circulating leptin levels in obese patients. Leptin when in excess causes leptin resistance in cells which lead to excessive appetite due to which your brain doesn’t get signal to stop eating when full.
- Anti-inflammatory: Fasting reduces inflammation by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. The fasting helps by inhibiting pro inflammatory cytokines like IL-6 which has been linked to various inflammatory conditions. Fasting also reduces pain and inflammation in joints of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in as minimum as one week of fasting and dietary changes. It also helps in conditions associated with brain issues like Alzheimer and cognitive decline by reducing oxidative stress.
- Blood Sugar Management – Fasting helps to improve insulin resistance by lowering fasting blood sugar levels. When applied with correct nutrition and active lifestyle, it helps in managing Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders as well.
- Anti-Cancer – Fasting has been shown promising results in controlling certain types of cancers by inducing Apoptosis and Autophagy. Apoptosis is programmed cell death while Autophagy is repairing or replacing old cells with new one. The studies in mice have shown promising results in lowering down the Cancer risk by 50% and also act as strong support while undergoing cancer therapy by increasing effectiveness of treatment and reducing the side effects.