Fasting is one of the healthiest choices you can make in your life. Food in most places is extremely abundant.
But we’re not designed to eat constantly. When you fast intermittently you allow your body to rest from digestion.
During this rest many health benefits take place.
Fasting reduces inflammation which is the cause of chronic disease
Inflammation creates diseases like arthritis and cancer. If you constantly eat a diet of processed foods the risks of these diseases increases.
Fortunately, fasting can quickly reduce inflammation and lower your risk in a matter of weeks.
One study done with 50 healthy people who practiced Ramadan fasting saw:
- Lower weight and body fat percentages
- Improved blood pressure
- Immune cells significantly decreased (this is a good thing)
Ramadan is about one month so these changes happened quickly.
Long-term fasting will lower your risk even more.
This, of course, is not possible without a healthy diet filled with minimally processed foods.
Your blood sugar and insulin stabilizes
Fasting also allows you not to have drastic spikes in blood sugar. When this happens it can cause you to feel hungry in a short period of time.
The other day I was chatting with a lady who said that her husband's blood sugar dropped 100 points after only 10 hours of fasting.
This is amazing!
It goes to show you that our bodies don't need food constantly. Doing so can lead to adverse effects down the road.
Being resistant to insulin can cause you to become pre-diabetic or diabetic.
Insulin is a fat-storage hormone.
Resistance to insulin keeps weight on creating a cascade of other health problems.
Another study that examined participants with type 2 diabetes found that when they practiced intermittent fasting short term:
- They had an immediate reduction of caloric intake
- Participants saw improved fasting glucose control
- Had a high compliance rate with fasting
The study was done for only 2 weeks so it was not enough time to see insulin sensitivity.
A longer-term study would most likely have positive findings with insulin levels and fasting.
Weight loss and maintenance is easy to achieve
One of the biggest health benefits of fasting is weight loss. Many people (myself included) started fasting to lose weight.
Most diet protocols are too restrictive.
You may have found yourself trying many different ways to lose weight only to gain it back… plus some.
Fasting is a long-term weight loss solution that will work for most of us.
When you couple fasting with a robust exercise routine you’ll keep lost weight off for good.
Like the participants in the diabetic study, there’s no need to count calories.
Fasting allows you to automatically reduce your caloric intake.
Fasting has the potential to delay the aging process
The study of the effects on fasting and anti-aging is in the beginning stages but the preliminary results are promising.
A popular article in Scientific American explored the benefits of fasting and anti-aging.
The article cites a popular mouse study done by Mark Mattson head of the National Insitute of Aging neuroscience lab.
In the study, Mattson found that:
- By some measures mice who fasted regularly instead of continuous caloric restriction had lower levels of insulin and glucose in their blood.
- This signified an increased sensitivity to insulin and decreased the risk of diabetes.
Over the years Mattson and his team have put forth the idea that fasting regularly results in decreased brain degeneration.
His team has also found that fasting protects against stroke damage and suppresses motor deficits in a Parkinson's mouse model.
Mattson himself skips breakfast except on weekends. He finds that it makes him more productive.
If you're curious about fasting I encourage you to give it a try. The benefits are boundless and will serve you for years to come.