Most people think having a healthy lifestyle just includes a clean diet, good exercise, and plenty of sleep, but what most people don’t know is that occasional fasting is what makes your lifestyle truly healthy. Fasting means willingly abstaining from food and drink for a specified period of time. This is seen by some as unhealthy or depriving yourself, but as we will discuss below, it actually has many health benefits, given that it’s done in a proper way.
1. Decreased Risk of Metabolic Diseases and Cancer
Studies have shown that fasting on alternate days is very effective in preventing tumor formation in animals and that periodic cycles of fasting are as effective as chemotherapy in restricting tumor growth. It has even been proven to aid in chemotherapy, making it more effective on cancerous cells.
Fasting cleanses out toxins from our body which is a process that does not occur when there’s a steady intake of food into our bodies. When we don’t eat, our bodies look for other sources of energy and because we also conserve energy during this state, our resting metabolic rate improves, thereby reducing the risk of diseases caused by poor metabolism.
2. Better Weight Management
Because short-term fasting limits our calorie intake and makes our metabolic rate more efficient, it resultantly aids in weight loss as well. In fact, whole day fasting can significantly reduce body fat while still preserving muscle tissue.
Ketosis is a process that occurs later in the fast cycle where your body burns stored fats to release energy. It’s during this mode that your blood sugar levels get balanced out and the conditions required for weight loss are optimal.
3. Improved Cognitive Performance
Research has also shown that fasting boosts brain function, and helps prevent neurodegenerative disorders by improving both brain health and brain structure. It helps generate new nerve cells that enhance cognitive function and can be a good guard against conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Fasting improves both memory and learning and makes our neurons more stress-resistant. After fasting when we eat food once again, neurons go into growth mode, forming new synapses. Therefore, when it comes to fasting or even exercising, the recovery period that comes after is what optimizes learning, memory, and stress resistance due to improved neuroplasticity.
4. It Delays Aging
The studies cited here have been done on animals, however, the effects of fasting are thought to be similar in humans and animals. According to these studies, feeding animals fewer calories results in them living longer. Alternating fasting cycles as well as calorie-restricting diets, both prove to be effective in elongating the lifespan of an animal.
So, in order to be healthy, it’s not only recommended to eat healthily but also to fast regularly. Since it boosts your metabolism, it further improves your immunity which means being less prone to contracting diseases. Eating fruits that are rich in antioxidants after fasting can also improve skin health and make it age slower.
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