Top 10 Intermittent Fasting Benefits
People interpret weight loss, calorie control, dieting and mere a lifestyle change by the word “fasting” but it is totally wrong how the word fasting is being understood in today’s era. Fasting used to be not only a practice but a routine in ancient era because of many benefits explained in the ancient medical texts which now even the modern science has approved and documented in it’s studies.
Intermittent fasting has proven to be effective not only in weight control but is also associated with a wide range of potential health benefits.
Although fasting can be difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, the top 10 physical & mental health benefits of fasting include :
- Weight loss, incase of obesity
- Improves overall fitness
- Boosts cognitive strength
- Reduces Inflammation
- Helps in boosting our digestive power
- Improves overall metabolism
- Boosts the immune system
- Helpful in blood related disorders
- Protection from chronic diseases
- Reduces the risk of diabetes and cholesterol
How long should you fast for?
Different types of fasting includes calorie restriction fasting, periodic fasting, seasonal fasting etc. Whereas most of these regimens advise short fast periods of 8–24 hours but some people choose to undertake much longer fasts of 48 and even up to 72 hours. Longer fast periods increase your risk of problems associated with fasting.
Does Sleep Count As Fasting ?
As strange as it may sound to some people but Yes, sleeping counts as fasting. If you are looking for significant weight loss, you might consider working up to 18-20 hours of daily fasting (OMAD or one-meal-a-day), alternate day fasting (fasting every other day, with up to 500 calories on fasting days) or a 5:2 schedule (fasting for two days per week).
Recent Studies on Fasting
The researchers say fasting flips a “regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, thereby regenerating the entire immune system. “It gives the “OK” for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild entire system,” said Prof. Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California. “And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged by chemotherapy or ageing, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.” Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose and fat but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells.
During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.
All these results are from a 72 hrs. fasting in trial humans who were asked to regularly fast for between two and four days over a six-month period.
Scientists found that prolonged fasting also reduced the enzyme PKA, which is linked to ageing and a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumor growth.
Fasting In Ayurveda
In Ayurveda fasting is called as Langhana and fasting is called as the best medicine by many Acharyas including Acharya Charak . He has quoted fasting more than 3000 years ago as :
लंघनम परं औषधं ( Fasting is the best medicine )
And this statement mentioned in the ancient texts has now been proven by the evidence and research based studies which have been and are being conducted on fasting.
Is Fasting Really Necessary ?
The bottom line. The latest research into alternate-day fasting finds significant health benefits, including reduced belly fat, body weight, and cholesterol levels. According to experts, it’s not necessary to stop eating completely on fast days or fast for a long period to see benefits.
So one can practice intermittent fasting for a time period discussed above to live a healthy, stress-free and immunity filled life.
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