Fasting: Helpful or harmful for your health?

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Fasting in simple terms is self-denial of food and drinks. Regardless of whether it is for religious purposes or for weight loss, researchers say that abstaining from food – TEMPORARILY- can bring oodles of health benefits.fasting

Around the globe people observe fasts for spiritual and religious reasons. But outside that context, several medical practitioners’ advice people to consider fasting an effective way of reducing heart risks, cholesterol and blood pressure. However, overdoing and pushing the level of deprivation will only lead to health hazards. So it’s extremely important that one understands what fasting really does to your body and how you can reap health benefits out of it.

Fasting is not for everyone

Medical experts believe that fasting is an advanced way of cleansing your body. If you’re someone who has never believed in the idea of healthy eating then fasting is not for you. Only if you’re committed to eating healthy at all times, will you be successful in holding a fast.

Going back to an unhealthy diet after fasting will only lead to more health concerns. And that is more dangerous than skipping the fast in itself. The yo-yo effort that you put your body through can take a toll on it.

Fasting in itself may not be a pleasant experience because your body will go through various mood swings, withdrawal symptoms, giddiness, headaches and more. However, if you’re someone who has always followed a healthy eating lifestyle then this will not affect you as much. And fasting actually has the potential to give your body countless doles.

Benefits of fasting

When you go without food for hours or even days, your body starts burning stored energy, including muscles. However, once your body realises that you’re fasting, it goes into a ketogenesis mode that spares your muscles and instead starts depending on ketones, a by-product of fat. It is at this point – the catabolic phase – when your body actually starts reaping benefits of fasting. Researchers say the longer we spend in catabolic phase the longer we live.

Studies show that fasting benefits our heart by significantly reducing various risks including lowering blood cholesterol. Fasting also combats obesity, blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

How to make fasting work for you

If you want to reap the benefits of fasting then one way to go is opt for alternate-day fasting or popularly known as ‘intermittent fasting’. Agreed that initially you might find it difficult to go without food, but if you let your body know that you will supply it with fuel the next day, it will keep your mind at peace. If you think you cannot go without food for too long then try having an early dinner and late breakfast the next day. For instance: You can have your dinner by 6 pm and have your breakfast around 11 am the next day. This will put your body in a catabolic phase for over 12 hours, which is an ideal way of profiting from intermittent fasting.

Remember, fasting should be your second option. Eating healthy and having control on your daily diet will always be the first and guaranteed route to better health. If you achieve this then fasting will only boost the benefits.


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