Improve Your Health by Fasting
By Paul Rothbart
Eating is an absolute necessity for survival. Everybody knows that. Most people also know that starving yourself is not a healthy way to lose weight. However, fasting for brief periods can actually boost your health in a number of ways. Traditional fasting is generally tied to religion or cultural practices. The type of fasting that benefits health is known as intermittent fasting. It involves brief periods of not eating placed between periods of eating normally. These fasting periods last between a few hours and a few days. One 24-hour period is considered optimal. If you are considering trying intermittent fasting, here are some health benefits which are backed by science.
Control Blood Sugar
There have been several studies conducted that have found that fasting may help control blood sugar. Research involving 10 people with type 2 diabetes showed that their blood sugar levels decreased significantly due to short-term fasting. Another study found that both intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting were as effective as reducing calorie intake in reducing insulin resistance. Lower insulin resistance increases the body's sensitivity to insulin allowing it to more efficiently transfer glucose from the blood to the cells.
Inflammation is part of the way the immune system fights infection. However, chronic inflammation can negatively impact health. Chronic inflammation can contribute to heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Research has discovered that intermittent fasting can help reduce inflammation and thus improve overall health. A study of 50 adult participants found that a month of intermittent fasting significantly lowered inflammation markers in their bodies. A small animal study found that intermittent fasting may be useful in helping to treat multiple sclerosis, a chronic inflammation condition.
Improve Heart Health
The leading cause of death worldwide is heart disease, estimated to cause 31.5 percent of all deaths. Research has found that fasting may be effective in improving heart health. One study found that eight weeks of alternate-day fasting lowered blood levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides by 25 percent and 32 percent respectively. Another study of 110 obese adults had them practice intermittent fasting for three weeks. The results were significantly lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol and triglycerides. This improves heart health and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Eating well is essential to good health Occasionally not eating can also be quite good for the body. Intermittent fasting has been proven to benefit one's health in multiple ways. Give it a try. It will also stretch your food budget.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Concord, N.C.