“The Best Medicines of All are Fasting & Resting”
Would you believe us if we say that you can feel energetic, shed off those stubborn pounds, kick-start your metabolism and enjoy a whole array of amazing health benefits, all by doing nothing? Say Hello to the fantastic benefits of “Fasting.”
Fasting is nothing new to us. Our prehistoric ancestors, who didn’t eat anything during the day, as they took part in wild hunts, Hindu sages and rishis who went for days without food to the present day religious fasts during Navratras and Ramadan, fasting is something that’s entwined in our culture and beliefs.
Fasting is NOT Starvation
Many people wrongly assume that “fasting” means “starvation.” In fact, fasting isn’t skipping meals or a fad diet either. The actual definition of fasting is “Abstaining from food for a defined period.”
Studies show that over the last few decades, the amount of time, we spend not eating has shrunk significantly. In fact, we are now eating food throughout the day (be it the snacks you consume on your desk or the coffee you sip on every couple of hours), as compared to just thirty years ago.
In fasting, instead of three big meals a day and several snacks in between, you skip a particular meal(s) precisely at the same time every week (month/day).
Is there a Specific Way to do it?
No. In fact, there are several types of fasting like intermittent fasting (you don’t eat for 16 hours, usually this means foregoing breakfast), Alternate Day fasting, 5:2 fasting (where you eat for five days of the week and fast on two), 24-hour fasting (abstaining from food for 24-hours at a time) and plenty more.
Before, you jump on the fasting bandwagon; let’s take a look at some of the fantastic benefits of fasting:
- Lose Weight
Yes, numerous studies show that intermittent fasting is a safe and natural way to shed those stubborn extra pounds. This is because since your body doesn’t have any energy source to burn, due to the lack of food, it dips into your fat reserves, helping you lose stored body fat.
In fact, fasting is an efficient way to burn off body fat, than just regular dieting.
- Live for Longer
Believe it or not, the lesser food you eat, the longer you live. Let’s take a look at the ageing process to understand this better. As you age, your metabolism slows down, and it becomes difficult to digest foods as easily as when you were young.
When you fast, you eat way lesser than regular, reducing the burden to your digestive organs, thereby promoting longevity.
“In a fast, the body tears down the defective parts and build anew, when you eat again.”
- Boost your Metabolism
Periodic fasting gives rest to your digestive system, thereby helping your body burn more calories efficiently. When your digestion is weak, your metabolism takes a hit. This can be reset by intermittent fasting, which improves your bowel functions, which in turn speeds up your metabolism.
- Recognise Hunger Signals
Just think about this, when was the last time, you felt really hungry? Most of the times, we eat because we’re bored, or want to take a break from work. True hunger kicks in only when you haven’t eaten anything for 12 to 24 hours.
Fasting helps to regulate your hormones, helping you experience real hunger. One of the primary reasons for being overweight is that we’re unable to read the signals given by our body correctly.
Consider fasting as a reset button for your body. When your hormones are in order, you can read your body’s signals accurately, helping you feel full and avoid overeating.
- Improve your Brain Function
Fasting boosts the production of a type of protein called as BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). The BDNF is responsible for activating the stem cells in your brains to produce new neurons and trigger other factors associated with neural health.
Additionally, it also shields your brain cells from contracting Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Take care of your grey cells by intermittent fasting.
- Give a boost to your Immune System
Fasting prevents free radical damage and reduces inflammation in the body, all of which strengthen your immune system.
In the wild, when animals get sick, they stop their hunts and instead take time to recuperate. This is nature’s way of reducing the burden on our internal organs so that the body can concentrate fully on fighting the infection.
Take this cue from nature and try fasting to boost your body’s natural defence mechanism.
- Reduce the risk of Diabetes
Fasting helps to improve insulin sensitivity thereby reducing the chances of contracting diabetes. When you indulge in intermittent fasts, your body can better tolerate carbs than otherwise. It becomes more tuned to insulin production, instructing your cells to take up the glucose from your bloodstream, thereby reducing blood sugar levels.
Apart from the benefits listed here, fasting helps you to clear acne off your skin, offers you protection from the side-effects of cancer treatment, provides relief from rheumatoid arthritis, detoxifies and rejuvenates your body and much more.
Here are a few ways to make your fasting easier and more efficient.
- Decide on the type of fast you want to do – Set the period, you want to restrict your eating. 12-hour fast is ideal for beginners. If you have already fasted, then you can opt for alternate day fasting.
- Decide what you want to achieve – Lose weight, feel healthier, get more energy, spiritual experience, or rectify a medical condition?
- Make your menu –Will you be drinking fruit juices, or eating uncooked vegetables and fruits? Before you begin the fast, decide the menu and stock up your fridge.
- Above all, Listen to your Body – Feel lightheaded and dizzy halfway through the fast? No worries, take a healthy snack. The main reason for fasting is to tune into your body’s signals. There are no hard and fast rules, so no worries about messing up. You can start again when your body is ready.
Fast Your Way to Long-Term Health Benefits!
Disclaimer: All information, data and material has been sourced from multiple authors and is for general information and educational purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your treating doctor.
The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.