Health Benefits of Fasting

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Fasting is common in many cultures; however, its benefits have since been recognized within a health capacity. From Ramadan in Islam to Lent in Christianity, fasting has been around for thousands of years. Generally speaking, fasts are executed over 24-72 hours and have since been proven to offer an array of health benefits. So, how can fasting benefit your health?

Promotion of Blood Sugar Control

First thing’s first, fasting is proven to aid blood sugar control since it effectively reduces insulin resistance. This could be helpful to people who are at risk of diabetes, with a study displaying that short-term intermittent fasting significantly reduces blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. Similarly, alternate day fasting and intermittent fasting are considered as successful as controlling calorie intake when it comes to minimizing insulin resistance. Reducing this resistance encourages your body to become more sensitive to insulin, which aids it in transporting glucose to your cells in a more efficient manner. 

By lowering your blood sugar levels, you equip your body to keep your blood sugar consistent, which will prevent crashes and spikes. With this being said, it’s important to note that the effects for men and women differ. 

Promotion of Better Health

Acute inflammation is a bodily process that allows you to combat infections; however, chronic inflammation can be detrimental to your health. Certain studies have shown that fasting is effective in reducing inflammation, resulting in better health. In fact, inflammation can result in chronic conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease, so it’s always a good idea to do everything that you can to prevent this. One study displayed that intermittent fasting for one month reduced the levels of inflammatory markers. Another showed that the same effect came into play when people fasted for 12 hours a day throughout one month. 


Enhancement of Heart Health

Heart disease is recognised as the leading cause of death worldwide, causing around 31.5% of all deaths. Despite this, there are precautions that can be taken to put you in better stead to combat the threat of heart disease. These are primarily dietary measures, including the introduction of fasting into your routine. 

One study found that eight weeks of alternate day fasting minimized the levels of blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol by 32% and 25% respectively. On top of this, a further study of 110 obese adults displayed that a three-week fast under medical supervision notably reduced blood pressure. Finally, an extra study showed that 4,269 people linked fasting to a minimized risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease. 

Boosting of Brain Function

Studies surrounding this have mainly only been applied to animal behavior, but this can also be transferred to the human brain. When a group of mice were subjected to intermittent fasting for 11 months, scientists found that both brain structure and brain function saw significant improvement. Similarly, other animal studies have displayed that fasting could protect brain health and improve cognitive function through the production of nerve cells. As previously mentioned, fasting can help reduce inflammation, which may be linked to neurodegenerative disorders. On top of this, studies have also indicated that fasting can improve the conditions of the likes of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Weight Loss Aid

Losing weight is the most common health reason that people turn to fasting. Since this is a quick way to reduce your calorie intake, it could well lead to an increased weight loss over time. Similarly, short-term fasting is thought to boost metabolism, as the levels of neurotransmitter norepinephrine are increased. 

Will you be taking up any fasting practices in aid of your health?

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