Given that most of us are currently Ramadan or lent fasting globally, we thought it necessary to shine some light on fasting. The enormous health benefits it can provide for our minds and bodies. Here we are describing 10 health benefits of fasting.
First of all, what is fasting?
Fasting, in simple terms, is willful temporary abstinence. It could be abstinence from people, food, alcohol, bad habits or anything else.
However, our focus in this blog is abstinence from food and drink consumption for particular periods not later than 24 hours.
How’s fasting different from dieting?
Although the words fasting and dieting are often used interchangeably and are similar, they connote different scenarios. Whilst fasting is restrictive of when you eat; dieting is restrictive of what and when you eat.
Can fasting be detrimental to health?
Yes. Fasting can cause health challenges such as migraines, low blood sugar, lethargy, and dizziness if done excessively or for long hours without the doctor’s approval or supervision.
Advantages of Fasting
Below, we identify 10 out of the numerous health benefits of fasting for our minds and bodies.
- It helps manage blood sugar levels and insulin reduction, thus, limiting the health risks for persons who have diabetes.
- Detoxifies the body: Fasting is a great way to eliminate toxins accumulated in the body and your body’s hunger for sugar cravings.
- Boosts cognitive performance and brain function: Fasting boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.) When produced adequately, BDNF promotes brain health and your brain cells from changes associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Fights obesity and aids in weight loss: Fasting is undoubtedly a great way to lose weight. This is so because reduced calorie intake forces the body to use already stored fat as its energy source.
- Revives skin: Fasting helps eliminate toxins that contribute to skin conditions, helping clear acne and ensuring radiant skin.
- Boosts energy: Because digesting food takes its toll on our system, constant eating burdens our digestive system and cause a decline in energy and mental performance.
- Improves immune system: Fasting triggers the regeneration of old cells within the body, leading to improved immune function.
- Better sleep: Fasting improves sleep quality, inflammation, indigestion and reduces heartburns at bedtime.
- Improves appetite: Fasting helps regulate hormones that allow the experience of what hunger is.
- Lowers blood pressure: Constant eating keeps the blood pressure high, and fasting is an effective tool to combat these.
How can I benefit from fasting as a beginner?
If you are interested in trying out fasting either for the health benefits, we advise that you do the following:
1. Ease Into It
Instead of a 24 hour fast on your first day, you can start by increasing your non-eating hours by an hour or two. Then as the days go by, you grow your fasting hours until you can comfortably fast for longer hours without binging or feeling weak.
Also, if you have never tried dry fasting, you should begin with wet fasting before proceeding to fast totally from food and drinks.
2. Plan Ahead
To prevent you from failing on your first day, make sure you consider important things like:
a. Where you’ll be,
b. If you’ve highly stressful activities planned out,
c. If you need to wean yourself off sugar etc.
3. Prepare Your Mind
Remember your first time at anything? How awkward and difficult it felt? It is the same now. And while it might seem difficult or even impossible to let go of food and water for a while, it is entirely possible with a determined mindset.
4. Listen to your body
While undoubtedly, your body might feel different adapting to fasting, listening to your body when trying to show or tell you its limits is very important. Fainting, intense migraines, extreme cold etc., are all signs to call it quits.
5. Break your fast with a healthy balanced diet
To fuel your body with the necessary minerals, it will need for the next bout of fasting.
There you have it, some of the health benefits of fasting.
We hope you decide to try out fasting if you’ve never. Also, you can run a health check with us to stay in the know of potential health issues ?.