People wrongly assume, that “fasting” means “starvation.” In fact, fasting isn’t skipping meals or a fad diet either. The actual definition of fasting is “Abstaining from food for a defined period.”
Studies show that over the last few decades, the amount of time, we spend not eating has shrunk significantly. In fact, we are now eating food throughout the day (be it the snacks you consume on your desk or the coffee you sip every couple of hours), as compared to just thirty years ago.
In fasting, instead of three big meals a day and several snacks in between, you skip a particular meal(s) precisely at the same time every week (month/day).
let’s take a look at some of the fantastic benefits of fasting:
1. Lose Weight
Intermittent fasting is a safe way to shed those extra pounds. This is because since your body doesn’t have any energy source to burn, due to the lack of food, it digs into the fat reserves, helping you lose stored body fat.
In fact, fasting is an efficient way to burn off body fat, than just regular dieting.
2. Live for Longer
The lesser food you eat, the longer you live. As you age, the metabolism slows down, and it becomes difficult to digest foods as easily as when you were young.
When you fast, you eat less than regularly, reducing the burden on your digestive organs, and promoting longevity.
3. Boost your Metabolism
Periodic fasting gives rest to your digestive system, thereby helping your body burn more calories. When your digestion is weak, your metabolism becomes weak. This is reset by fasting, which improves your body functions, which in turn improves your metabolism.
4. Recognize Hunger Signals
True hunger kicks are felt only when you haven’t eaten for 12 to 24 hours.
Intermittent Fasting helps to regulate your hormones, helping in experience real hunger. One of the primary reasons for being overweight is that we’re unable to read the signals given by our body correctly.
5. Improve your Brain Function
Intermittent Fasting boosts the production of a type of protein called as BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). This hormone is responsible for activating the stem cells in brains to produce new neurons and trigger other factors associated with neural health.
it also shields your brain cells from contracting Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
6. Give a boost to your Immune System
Fasting prevents free radical damage and reduces inflammation in the body, in return strengthening the immune system.
7. Reduce the risk of Diabetes
Fasting helps to improve insulin sensitivity. When you indulge in fasting, your body can better tolerate more carbs than otherwise, this can reduce the overall risk of Diabetes.
Here are a few ways to make your fasting easier and more efficient.
- Decide on the type of fast you want to do – Set the period, you want to restrict your eating. 12-hour fast is ideal for beginners. If you have already fasted, then you can opt for alternate-day fasting.
- Decide what you want to achieve – Lose weight, feel healthier, get more energy, spiritual experience, or rectify the lifestyle
- Make your menu –Will you be drinking fruit juices, or eating uncooked vegetables and fruits.
Above all, listen to your Body – Feel lightheaded and dizzy halfway through the fast? No worries, take a healthy snack. The main reason for fasting is to tune into your body’s signals. There are no hard and fast rules, so no worries about messing up. You can start again when your body is ready.
Dr. Adithya Hande
Naturopathy & Yoga Physician