If you know someone who has experienced intermittent fasting, you may have heard all about the greatness and benefits it brings to your mind and body. Or maybe you have tried it yourself. Fasting has been proven to have many benefits, but you have to be aware of the risks as well.
In this article, I am going to name some of the benefits that you can experienced from fasting.
First, let’s define it. Fasting is to abstain or reduce intake from all food for a certain period of time; for religious, medical or spiritual reasons.
In order to function properly, your body will draw its energy from the food you eat. When you stop eating, your brain will send a signal to your body to get its energy from the stored glucose, then proteins and finally, from the stored lipids (fat).
This process will help burning fat on the short-term. Practicing fasting also helps with losing weight as your calorie intake will decrease. For the weight loss to be effective, you need to keep eating regular portions when your resume your diet.
A study by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) found that fasting for 3 days could help “rebooting” the immune system. Basically by regenerating new cells and getting rid of the old ones. The study shows that even elder people and sick persons can profit from fasting. This could be particularly helpful for people with cancer and undergoing through chemotherapy.
Valter Longo and his team from USC show that a starving body will send a signal to the stem cells in order to start producing more white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infections. The body will then renew the white blood cells and automatically get rid of the old, damaged and ineffective ones.
The study also found that intermittent fasting (meaning fasting for 2 to 4 days a week) reduces the concentration of Protein Kinase A (PKA) enzyme, which is responsible for ageing and increasing the risks of cancer.
Now spiritually, fasting has the power of cleansing your soul. It’s a purification of the body.
It’s a way to show discipline and patience and a chance to reconnect and dedicate this time to focus, meditate and rethink your priorities in life. What’s important here isn’t how long you are going to fast for, but the reasons and motivations that drive you to fast. This is a spiritual time to focus and concentrate.
But you also have to be aware of the risks of fasting. First thing is, don’t over do it! You may experience dehydration, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, low blood pressure, increase of stress, disrupted sleep and heartburn as your body may produce more acid.
Lastly, I recommend that you only start fasting if you are in a good place in your life right now as it may have a strong emotional and psychological effect on you. Always refer to your doctor first. If you are pregnant, underweight or diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you should not experience fasting diets.