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10 Benefits of Fasting That Will Surprise You

10 Benefits of Fasting That Will Surprise You

Is it a good thing to ‘starve’ yourself each day, or a few days of the week? Well, a tonne of evidence indicates that timed periods of fasting are a good thing.[1]

Starvation literally means starvation. It doesn’t mean skipping a meal or not eating for 24 hours. Or not eating for three days even. The belief that meal skipping or short-term fasting causes “starvation mode” is so completely ridiculous and absurd that it makes me want to jump out the window. – Martin Berkhan

Fasting has become increasingly popular over the years, especially among the health community. Whilst most health practitioners are afraid to recommend eating less due to the stigma involved, it still doesn’t alleviate the incredible benefits of fasting when used sensibly.

In this article, we’ll explore 10 benefits of fasting that will surprise you, and how you can incorporate them into your own life.

1. Fasting Helps Weight Loss

    Photo credit: Source

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    Fasting can be a safe way to lose weight as many studies have shown that intermittent fasting – fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours – allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting.

    Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of sugar. Many athletes now use fasting as means to hitting low body fat percentages for competitions.[2]

    2. Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity

    Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity,[3] allowing you to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better than if you didn’t fast. A study showed that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood.[4]

    3. Fasting Speeds Up The Metabolism

    Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energise your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, this can effect your ability to metabolise food and burn fat. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.

    4. Fasting Promotes Longevity

    Believe it or not, the less you eat the longer you will live. Studies have shown how the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets[5]

    However, we don’t need to live amongst a foreign community to reap the benefits of fasting. One of the primary effects of ageing is a slower metabolism, the younger your body is, the faster and more efficient your metabolism. The less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system.

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    5. Fasting Improves Hunger

    Just think about this, can you actually experience real hunger if you eat a meal every 3-4 hours? Of course you can’t. In fact, to experience the true nature of hunger, this would take anything from 12 to even 24 hours.

    Fasting helps to regulate the hormones in your body so that you experience what true hunger is. We know that obese individuals do not receive the correct signals to let them know they are full due excessive eating patterns.[6]

    Think of fasting as a reset button: the longer you fast, the more your body can regulate itself to release the correct hormones, so that you can experience what real hunger is. Not to mention, when your hormones are working correctly, you get full quicker.[7]

    6. Fasting Improves Your Eating Patterns

    Fasting can be a helpful practice for those who suffer with binge eating disorders, and for those who find it difficult to establish a correct eating pattern due to work and other priorities.

    With intermittent fasting going all afternoon without a meal is okay and it can allow you to eat at a set time that fits your lifestyle. Also, for anyone who wants to prevent binge eating, you can establish a set time in where you allow yourself to eat your daily amount of calories in one sitting, and then not eat till the following day.

    7. Fasting Improves Your Brain Function

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      Photo credit: Source

      Fasting has shown to improve brain function because it boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.)[8]

      BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

      8. Fasting Improves Your Immune System

      Intermittent fasting improves the immune system because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.[9]

      In nature, when animals get sick they stop eating and instead focus on resting. This is a primal instinct to reduce stress on their internal system so their body can fight off infection. We humans are the only species who look for food when we are ill, even when we do not need it.

      9. Fasting Contributes To Self-Enlightenment

      Fasting has helped many people feel more connected to life during the practices reading, meditation, yoga and martial arts etc. With no food in the digestive system, this makes room for more energy in the body – the digestive is one of the most energy absorbing systems in the body.

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      Fasting for self-enlightenment allows us to feel better both consciously and physically. With a lighter body and a clearer mind we become more aware and grateful for the things around us.

      10. Fasting Helps Clear The Skin And Prevent Acne

        Photo credit: Source

        Fasting can help clear the skin because with the body temporarily freed from digestion, it’s able to focus its regenerative energies on other systems.[10]

        Not eating anything for just one day has shown to help the body clean up the toxins and regulate the functioning of other organs of the body like liver, kidneys and other parts.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2020

        The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

        The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

        You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

        Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

        Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

        An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

        Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

        1. The Paleo Diet

        The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

        The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

        In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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        How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

        The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

        With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

        It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

        Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

        2. Whole30

        The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

        With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

        During the month you are eliminating:

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        • sugar
        • alcohol
        • legumes
        • grains
        • dairy
        • soy

        Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

        At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

        Finding Out How Food Impacts You

        Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

        With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

        This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

        3. The Mediterranean Diet

        The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

        For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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        With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

        • Fruits & vegetables
        • Whole grains
        • Legumes & nuts
        • Replacing butter with olive oil
        • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
        • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
        • Moderate amounts of red wine

        Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

        Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

        With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

        4. The Alkaline Diet

        The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

        The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

        Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

        The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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        People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

        One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

        Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

        There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

        The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

        What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

        The Big Takeaway:

        Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

        Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

        Reference

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