8 Surprising Health Benefits of Fasting
“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.” These wise words, courtesy of Mark Twain, hail from a rich history of religious and family customs that encouraged the practice of fasting. Today, fasting is still widely practiced for reasons beyond age-old traditions—weight loss and healthier digestive system, to name a couple. A recent study conducted in Graz, Austria points to even more health benefits of fasting.
Here are Eight of those Benefits:
1) Fasting Can Help with Weight loss
Fasting is a tried-and-true method to losing weight. Historically, it was a sacrifice to the gods, and through the years, it has evolved into a popular weight loss method. The before and after weight loss pictures are living proof, and now we have a study to back it up. When you fast, your body automatically has a lower intake of calories, which is a proven way to lose weight. One study found that fasting helped dieters cut 4-7% from the waist circumference in only 24 weeks.
2) Fasting can Increase the HGH (Human Growth Hormone)
Many studies have found that fasting stimulates the release of the human growth hormone, which benefits growth, metabolism, and muscle strength. In fact, it has been shown to increase up to 5 times its original amount—thanks to fasting.
3) Fasting Speeds up Metabolism
Weight loss and quick metabolism tend to go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that fasting yields speedy metabolism. When you fast, you actually give your digestive system some time to rest. This resting period enables the body to burn calories more efficiently, while also training your body to get more energy from the food you eat.
4) Fasting Can Help Establish a Routine
A big part of any diet is establishing a routine and sticking to it. Our bodies thrive when we give them stability, and in some ways, predictability. It’s easier for the digestive system to self-regulate and to get the good out of food when it’s accustomed to a reliable routine.
5) Fasting Can Help Blood Sugar Control
You may have heard of fasting as a dietary strategy for diabetics. That’s because studies have found a positive correlation between fasting and blood sugar control. Not only that, but these studies also prove that intermittent fasting is likely to decrease insulin resistance.
6) Fasting Can Boost the Brain
Believe it or not, the benefits of fasting go beyond the digestive system. Fasting also positively impacts the brain! Fasting boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which impacts overall brain health. Also, when fasting, your brain shifts into survival mode, eliminating overdrive that is often caused by binge-eating. This leads to improved overall focus.
7) Fasting is Good for Your Immune System
Have you ever lost your appetite when you’re sick? There’s a reason for that. When your immune system is compromised, your body wants to allocate all of its attention to fighting off the sickness. Sometimes this means losing your appetite. It works similarly with fasting—when you choose to eat less for a period of time, your body can focus more attention on building a strong immune system.
8) Fasting Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
As you may know, there is bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL). Studies show that fasting reduces LDL levels by approximately 25%. The reason is simple: When you fast, your body decides to switch from burning sugars to burning fats. Your body will then get its energy from burning fat, which lowers bad cholesterol levels.
As diets come and go, it’s safe to say that intermittent fasting is likely to stick around. Not only does it have a history of success and tradition, but it’s also an effective way to boost overall health in your body. All good things come in moderation, so if you decide to embark on a fasting diet, be sure to ease your way into it and listen to your body throughout the process. Best of luck!!!