If the old saying “you are what you eat” is true, sometimes our overall health is more about what we DON’T eat. A number of studies have suggested intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, and reduced cholesterol.
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Fasting Is Not Starvation:
Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstention from all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. It promotes elimination of toxins from the body, reduces blood sugar and fat stores.
According to Martin Berkhan, “Starvation literally means starvation. It doesn’t mean skipping a meal or not eating for 24 hours. Or not eating for three days even. The belief that meal skipping or short-term fasting causes “starvation mode” is so completely ridiculous and absurd that it makes me want to jump out the window.”
Research suggests there are major health benefits of fasting, including a reduced risks of cancer. Fasting also reduces, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, and immune disorders. Fasting also helps in slowing of the aging process. One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan.
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Elson Haas, M.D , has listed these benefits of fasting in His book ‘Staying Healthy with Nutrition’
* Antiaging effects
* Better attitude
* Better resistance to disease
* Better sleep
* Change of habits
* Clearer planning
* Clearer skin
* Diet changes
* Drug detoxification
* Improved senses (vision, hearing, taste)
* More clarity (mentally and emotionally)
* More energy
* More relaxation
* New ideas
* Reduction of allergies
* Rest for digestive organs
* Right use of will
* Spiritual awareness
* Weight loss
Fasting Helps Weight Loss:
Fasting by itself is not a good weight loss strategy, but it does initiate rapid weight loss with little or no hunger. Fasting can reduce the store of fats in the body and also allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively. Intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss. Short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories.
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Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity:
Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity and anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes. In human studies on intermittent fasting, blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%. During longer periods of fasting, insulin has been reduced by 20-31%. One study shows that after fasting your insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from the blood.
According to a recent study, after fasting the body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
Fasting Clears the Skin And Prevents Acne:
When your body stops digesting for a period of time, it is able to better focus on its other processes. Our body’s ability to heal itself gives us a great boost. The rate of detoxification improves markedly when fasting, which clears the skin.
Fasting Rests Digestive System:
Fasting gives the digestive system a much-needed rest. After fasting, both digestion and elimination are invigorated.
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Fasting Improves Your Brain Function:
Fasting boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. Fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health.