Fasting is simply a break between meals, however, when people refer to fasting as a part of their lifestyle, they are referring to when they take an extended period of time off from eating a meal. This describes any period of time, such as something small like skipping breakfast to something more extreme such as only consuming water for a couple of
days of each week. Below are a few benefits of fasting for your health and some issues to look out for when fasting goes wrong. How long you are able to fast and how long you should fast for can vary depending on your personal goals and your health. As a rule of thumb, fasting is not appropriate when you are very ill or weak because your
body will need energy and nutrients to survive and heal itself.
Potential benefits of fasting
Fasting once in a while has been shown to slow ageing, keep your metabolism working efficiently and can help alleviate the symptoms of gut-related problems such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or Crohn’s disease. The science behind fasting as a way to prevent premature ageing is relatively new but promising. When a person hasn’t eaten in a
while, their body may revert to using ketones as an energy source instead of energy it would normally take from food. The presence of these ketones in the body causes blood vessel cells to multiply and divide, keeping blood vessels young and in good shape. Having healthy blood vessels means that your body is better supplied with the
nutrients it needs and ageing can be slowed down. Ketones can also be present in the body after a tough workout session.
If you suffer from IBS or Crohn’s disease, fasting can give your irritated digestive system a much-needed break. Usually, food sensitivities or allergies can cause a flare-up, but sometimes the digestive system can become disturbed due to outside factors such as stress or a lack of sleep. During a flare-up when everything is irritating, even safe foods can be unpleasant, so sticking to a fluid diet is a great method when the digestive system needs a break to heal.
Whether or not fasting is right for you can depend on your personal goals. Perhaps you are hoping to achieve one of the benefits mentioned above to improve your overall health. However, it is quite common to use fasting as a diet technique to help lose weight. For example, if you decide to give yourself only a 5-hour period out of 24 hours to eat, then you are fasting for 19 hours in one day.
You can only take in so much food during this time, which means that exercise will create a calorie deficit and your body will burn fat as energy. Many people who are overweight simply eat more calories than they are capable of burning in one day, so this is a great method to control calories without having to necessarily count them before each meal. Some people consider juice cleanses as fasting. Often, juice cleanses do not achieve the desired weight loss results. This is because the juice is often loaded with added sugars and lacks nutrients and protein to help your body recover after exercise. If you decide to do a juice cleanse, it is best to invest in a good juicer that allows you to make juice with whole fruits and vegetables without adding sugar or removing all the fibre. Always read the labels on juices that you purchase from the store.
Potential risks when fasting
Fasting isn’t a great idea for everyone. If you suffer from diabetes, a fast could result in dangerously low blood sugar. A person with diabetes would be best to reduce their meal size instead of eliminating meals altogether. Even healthy individuals can experience low blood sugar or low blood pressure when fasting for the first time or if they fast for too long. Being cold and feeling irritable or lightheaded are common when fasting has gone too far. There is also a risk of developing anorexia or bulimic tendencies. This is especially true for women who may have struggled with image issues in the past. Fasting can encourage self-starvation, so it is important to keep an eye on loved ones who seem to be fasting to the point that they look ill or if they take too much pride in skipping meals. Overall, fasting has many potential benefits and can help improve overall health. Achieving a healthy body weight is always a great way to avoid health problems and to maintain a youthful appearance. It is excellent news that fasting can improve the symptoms caused by digestive issues since it gives the body time to recover fully before foods are reintroduced into the diet. Hopefully, more studies about fasting will begin to show up and we can one day truly comprehend how fasting can keep us looking young and healthy, just like exercise can. Why not try fasting today?