Incredible Health Benefits of Fasting
Fasting isn't just done for an important religious endeavor or for losing weight. Fasting is also equally important and beneficial to increase overall health.
In fact, we often see the word "fasting" in health magazines. It seems that fasting is becoming widely practiced nowadays especially among Japanese people.
There are many kinds of fasting—morning fast, half-day fast, one day fast, one week fast, etc.
Although there are hundreds of magazines, literatures, and novels, regarding fasting, they are all somewhat difficult to follow or understand for the common people.
During my school days, I was taught to eat the right way and at the appropriate time three times a day. The question is, is it really right to eat three times a day? Many white-collars and businessmen with busy schedules, as well as housewives, often skip breakfast. Is this considered fasting? Does this give us any health benefits?
In this article, we'll tell you how fasting should be practiced properly and simply, and how it benefits your health.
"Fasting" in this context doesn't mean not eating at all. It means skipping meals, or restricting or eliminating some foods in your diet.
Note: Water or juice must be taken during fasting to prevent dehydration.
How Fasting Burns Fat
When you skip a meal (fasting), or when you lower your carbohydrate intake, our body activates a vital source of energy called "ketone bodies" in the brain and heart.
The ketone bodies are by-products created by the liver by breaking down fatty acids when no carbohydrates or glucose are available. It also helps make your body in fat-burning mode.
Too much ketone bodies can be problematic—when the level of ketone bodies in the body is too high, "ketoacidosis" occurs. In some cases, this can lead to loss of consciousness.
Although making use of ketone bodies to burn fat makes it highly effective in preventing obesity, the long-term effects of fasting are not actually known well.
Note: We do not recommend fasting for long duration (4-5 months), especially for young women, to keep their body in shape. If you are not obese, long-term fasting won't do you any good and can have detrimental effect to your health.
Fat isn't the only thing that reduces during ketosis, it also decomposes the body's muscles. It is recommended that an adult man take 60 grams of daily protein intake and 50 grams for adult women to prevent muscle loss.
Even during fasting, you need to pay attention to nutritional balance, too, while reducing the amount of your meal.
How Fasting Affects Constipation and Bowel Movement
Foods can contain elements that are toxic in nature. Therefore, if we do not eat the right kinds of foods, toxins will accumulate inside our body. This can create hordes of health problems and keeps the liver, kidneys, including the digestive tract, from functioning properly.
The overall energy of our body will also weaken, and the intestines and colon will lose their ability to remove waste as it no longer have the power to eliminate the feces.
Fasting can help the digestive system to get rest. The energy used for digesting the food will be saved and your body will able to use that energy to remove the toxins. It is a good idea to drink plenty of water or fluids during fasting so that the body can get rid of toxins through urine.
Once the toxins are eliminated from the body, the organs and the digestive system can work properly and become more sensitive. This will help you deal with many health conditions like constipation and fecal impaction.
It is worth noting that eating breakfast every morning helps stimulate bowel movement. Remember, it is 1 hour after breakfast when the bowels are most active.
How Fasting Increases Your Lifespan
Recently, researchers have found that fasting or cutting your calorie intake by 25% can be one of the secrets in longer life. In fact, our ancestors grew up in a world of food scarcity and fasting was quite common.
The idea behind this is that since aging is a product of high metabolic rate, the number of free radicals we consume increases. If you stress your body through fasting or restricting your calories, the metabolism will slow down. This appears to be the key for anti-aging and longevity as shown in fasting studies in laboratory mammals, which improved their lifespan, but it hasn't been established for humans.
However, we do believe that fasting is one of the factors that can lead to suppress aging and will less likely make you obese or having a heart disease.
How You Can Fast Safely
It is recommended that fasting should be done gradually especially if you have never fasted before.
For example, start with only half a day, and then only have one meal. Next week, extend your fasting to one full day.
Of course, throughout the day of your fasting, make sure to hydrate yourself by drinking water or juice. This will help you provide energy and wash away the toxins in your body.
If you are really hungry, you can just try to take some soup or juice. This will help prevent constipation, too.
Next time onwards, you can have one-day fasting every week.
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