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Fasting facts: Potential health benefits

Fasting may be the most difficult challenge for you if you are a foodie. Certainly next to impossible if you think about food all day long. If the description fits you, you may be averse to the idea of fasting. 

But what if we tell you that fasting offers a lot of benefits that may be worth all the discomfort? Yes, you read it right. 

Fasting has a spiritual significance in our Indian tradition. It has been a part of Indian festivities for years now. You may have always looked at it from the religious and spiritual lens, but let’s take a moment to look at fasting from the perspective of science. 

Turns out, even science hails fasting. So, let’s discuss some of the benefits of fasting you probably didn’t know – 

Helps control blood sugar 

It may sound contradictory to what you have always believed in, but if you are a diabetic struggling with blood sugar, fasting may actually be good for you. 

As per some studies, reducing insulin resistance may increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, helping the body to transport glucose from your blood to your cells much more efficiently.

Along with the potential blood sugar-lowering effects of fasting, this can help keep your blood sugar regularised, preventing the glucose from spiking and crashing. 

However, as there is no solution that fits all, it’s best to seek advice from your doctor before proceeding with fasting. 

May help with weight loss

If you are looking to lose those extra kilos from your body, fasting can be a godsend.  Fasting can reduce your calorie intake, and help you lose weight in the long term. 

In fact, some studies conducted on animals showed that fasting increased metabolism by 9%. It was observed that fasting facilitated the release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. 

It may be more helpful than your effort to restrain calories rigorously. This means you may lose more body fat and belly fat as compared to continuous calorie restriction. 

Fasting may boost brain function

Fasting may have surprising benefits for your brain as well. It may boost brain function and improve cognitive functions such as concentration and memory. It may even prevent Alzheimer’s. 

As per studies, it may increase the generation of nerve cells that improve cognitive function. However, these studies are only limited and more are needed to reach a conclusive statement. 

May decrease high blood pressure and cholesterol levels 

Heart diseases are increasing by the day. Every day we hear stories of fatalities caused by heart attacks and cardiac arrests. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are the leading causes of heart disease. Hence, managing them becomes extremely crucial. 

Fasting can be helpful in controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As per studies, it can reduce levels of total cholesterol and control several risk factors for heart disease in overweight people. 

It may also lower the risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. 

Can support gut health 

A healthy gut equals a healthy you. Fasting has shown a positive effect on the growth of good bacteria in the body. This not only aids digestive function but can also improve metabolism and weight management. 

May help you reset your circadian rhythm 

Circadian rhythms influence several biological processes in the body. This includes alertness, appetite, sleepiness and body temperature. As per research, fasting can directly influence the gut microbiome, leading to changes in the levels of metabolites that act as signalling agents to our central body clock. In this way, fasting may help reset our circadian rhythm and may be beneficial for conditions like obesity associated with a disordered body clock.

Closing thoughts

The potential health benefits of fasting are a subject of growing interest and research in the field of nutrition and medicine. While fasting can offer various advantages, including weight management and improved metabolic health, it is essential to approach fasting with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. 

Fasting may not be suitable for everyone, and its effectiveness can vary from person to person. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate fasting approach for your individual needs and goals. With the right guidance and a balanced approach, fasting can indeed be a valuable tool in promoting better health and well-being.

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