Can Fasting Be Good for Your Health?
By Paul Rothbart
Fasting has a long history that dates back to ancient times. The practice is important in many world religions including Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam. In some places, it is a vital part of the culture. In recent years, fasting has gained in popularity as a way to improve health. Denying oneself food seems counterproductive to good health. Can fasting actually be good for you? When done properly, the answer is yes.
It Boosts Metabolism
Fasting is a way to give your digestive system some time off. Just as with any other part of the body, your digestive system can get weaker from overuse. Research shows that a weak digestive system slows down the metabolism. Intermittent fasting allows the system to rest and restore. When you eat again after a fast, your metabolism receives a boost from your now stronger digestive system.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Intermittent fasting has been shown to aid weight loss. The metabolism boost is certainly a contributor but there is more. Since you are not taking in any calories, your body starts burning its fat stores for energy. Fat cells burn while muscle tissue stays intact. You lose weight and fat and end up with healthier body composition.
It Detoxifies Your Body
Many foods that people commonly eat, especially those that are processed, contain unhealthy substances. These chemicals are toxic to the body. They are stored along with fat and remain in your body where they can be harmful to health. While fasting, your brain adjusts by burning fat. The toxics are used up along with the fat and are flushed from your body. The occasional fast is a cleansing that can help you stay healthier and toxin-free.
It Can Enhance Insulin Sensitivity
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease that is partly caused by reduced sensitivity to insulin. This can increase blood sugar levels in the body and cause unhealthy spikes. Over time, as sensitivity lowers, the body becomes unable to produce sufficient quantities of insulin. When fasting, the body burns up its glucose. This increases sensitivity and the effectiveness of insulin. The result is a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
It Can Boost Your Immune System
When you're sick, you often lose your appetite. There is a purpose to this. By taking the load off the digestive system, the body's energy can be focused on the immune system to fight the illness. Burning fat and releasing toxins also boost the immune system. Fasting can help you get well more quickly.
People have been fasting for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. Today, people still practice intermittent fasting for health reasons. These benefits are backed by science and make fasting a worthwhile practice.
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