Fasting is a centuries old practice that is present in many religious and cultures.
Today, fasting is also a popular dieting trend.
So…what is fasting?
Google defines fasting as: ‘to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink.’
That seems to be a lot of grey area.
One popular means of fasting is to do what is called intermittent fasting, which is where one cycles between periods of eating and fasting.
And according to science, fasting has many health benefits, from physical to neurological.
Here are 6 science based benefits of fasting:
1) It Boosts Metabolism While Lowering Calories.
Many people look to drop a few pounds by fasting.
Research has shown that short-term fasting increases levels of norepinephrine, which can enhance weight loss.
One example showed that whole-day fasting could reduce body weight by up to 9%.
Further, another review suggests fasting was found to be better at losing fat (while keeping muscle) than lowering one’s calorie intake.
2) It Improves Cholesterol Levels and Blood Pressure.
Making a change to your diet is an effective way to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Some research has discovered that intermittent fasting may be helpful with your heart health.
One study revealed that eight weeks of alternate-day fasting reduced levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol by 25%. Additionally, blood triglycerides saw a drop of 32%.
Another study in obese adults found that three weeks of intermittent fasting (under medical supervision) significantly decreased blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Yet another study suggested fasting would lower the risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes.
3) It Reduces Insulin Resistance Controlling Blood Sugar.
Several studies show that fasting can lower blood sugar control, reducing the risk of diabetes.
In fact, intermittent fasting heavily decreased blood sugar levels in participants of one study.
Plus, another review found that both alternate-day and intermittent fasting were just as effective at reducing insulin resistance as limiting one’s calorie intake.
Lowering insulin resistance can improve your body’s vulnerability to insulin, helping your body to deliver glucose to your tissue cells more effectively.
Combined with the lowered blood sugar from fasting, this could help keep your blood sugar steady, preventing harmful fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
4) It Helps Your Look Younger and Live Longer.
Several animal studies have seen exciting results on the life extending results of fasting.
In one study, rats that fasted every other day lived 85% longer and showed a slower aging rate than rats that did not fast.
Other animal studies have shown similar outcomes, suggesting that fasting could be a cause of increased survival rates and longevity.
Results for studies involving humans is not yet available.
5) It Can Help Improve Brain Function.
Though research has been limited with humans, several studies have shown that fasting can have a huge effects on the health of your brain.
One study in mice showed that intermittent fasting improved both brain function and structure over an 11 month period.
6) It Fights Inflamation.
Though acute inflammation can be helpful to the body, research has shown that chronic inflammation can have serious effects on your health, such as heart disease, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Some studies have shown that fasting can help reduce inflammation and promote better health.
One study found that intermittent fasting for a single month sharply decreased levels of inflammatory markers.
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