Fasting means abstinence from food and or water. It might sound a little scary or even extreme to some people. But while many people practice fasting for spiritual and mental reasons, athletes practice fasting as a means to improve their health both mentally and physically since it can improve brain function and mental clarity. Multiple faiths also include fasting in their regimen including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. Here are top 4 health benefits of fasting.
1. Lose Weight and Belly Fat: According to many studies, losing weight has shown to be possible and effective when fasting. Fasting allows the body to burn fat for energy when there is no sugar or food. Moreover, fasting can enhance hormone function to help with weight loss. Increased amounts of norepinephrine, lower insulin levels, and an increase of hormone levels all contribute the breakdown of body fat. Multiple athletes fast to lose body fat percentage efficiently.
2. Improves Brain Function and Mental Clarity: Fasting has shown to improve brain performance because it boosts a protein called BDNF( brain- derived neurotrophic factor). BNDF activates the brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and stimulates other chemicals that promote neural health. Studies have also shown that it can increase the growth of new nerve cells, which could have benefits of brain functions.
3. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes: The American College of Cardiology has shown that people who fasted regularly had a 58 percent lower risk of coronary disease compared with those who didn’t. Two Utah studies supported the findings. Their research shows that fasting for a day once a month may prevent heart disease and insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes.
Fasting can reduce insulin resistance because it boosts the breakdown of glucose and reduces the body’s manufacturing of insulin allowing the pancreas to rest. The body helps with the breakdown of glucose by making Glucagon. The result of fasting is an overall reduction in blood sugar
4. Reduces High Blood Pressure: Fasting is a great way for reducing your high blood pressure. Fasting also lowers the risk that your arteries will become clogged with fat particles (atherosclerosis). When you fast, your body uses fat stores and glucose to produce energy. Your metabolic rate is lowered during fasting and the fear-flight hormone, adrenaline, is also reduced. All these factors work together to keep your metabolic rate regular and within proper limits causing an overall reduction in blood pressure.