While it can be associated with just spiritual improvement and religious purposes, there are many reasons that one can fast in order to improve their bodies and mind.
What is fasting?
By definition, the act of fasting is to abstain from food and water for a period of time, often done for religious or dietary reasons. If you wanted to be super scientific about it, fasting can be described as the metabolic state of an individual who has not consumed anything overnight. There are many different ways in order to do this. Two of the most popularised methods are the simple fast (abstaining for a period of time) and intermittent fasting (a pattern in which you rotate between phases of eating and then abstaining).
A lot of people, understandably, assume that fasting can be simply done in order to build a better relationship with their faith of culture. While this may be the case for some, fasting has many physical and psychological benefits too!
Starting it off with the most in-your-face and obvious result of fasting, abstaining from food and water for a period of time does affect your weight. Fasting for periods that are shorter than 24 hours has been known to aid in weight loss in adults. Many tend to try intermittent fasting diets that dictate when they shall eat and when to refrain from eating and drinking.
Controlling Blood Sugar
Short intermittent fasting periods have been linked to studies of decreased blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes. By doing so, it increases your insulin resistance and can level your blood sugar effectively. It is important to note, however, that these results do vary.
Studies in animals suggest that fasting could protect you against Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, improve your memory skills and the way in which your brain processes things.
Fasting has also become linked to heart health as it has been argued to reduce risks of heart disease. Including it in your lifestyle can aid the way in which your body works. Factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels can significantly reduce when it has been done correctly.
Similar to what was previously mentioned regarding weight loss, fasting does improve your metabolic rate. When abstaining from food and hunger, there is an increase in norepinephrine in your blood levels which then causes fat cells to break down body fat.
What with all these benefits for your physical health, it only makes sense for fasting to extend your lifespan when it is done correctly! Due to the way it helps your body in the way that it works, many consider fasting as a way to improve aging. Studies have suggested that it does combat diseases such as cancer that can be detrimental to one’s health.
Personally, I feel as though your mind is just as important as your body – which is why we must talk about the benefits that fasting can do to your mental health! Consistent fasting has been suggested to brighten moods, alleviate depression as well decrease emotions such as anger and confusion. A fool-proof way to detox your brain just as well as your body.
- While there are many benefits to fasting, please note that everyone’s body is different so the results can vary from person to person! If you are new to this, perhaps look into different types of fasts and what you can gain from them.
- Currently, Muslims around the world are taking part in the holy month of Ramadan. This is where they fast from sunrise until sunset. If you would like to find out more about it, you can find an article right here!