The Top 10 Health Benefits of Fasting

Photo by Sunny Side Up!

By Josh Rueff on May 13, 2013
You don’t have to limit minimalism to simplifying your stuff. Cutting bad food and drink from your diet can be a life saving undertaking, and on the more extreme side of fasting, cutting out ALL food and/or drink (for a reasonable period) can be healthy too. Studies have been proving this since 1943, and many modern studies are coming out showing that fasting has a wide range of health benefits that the more disciplined of us can take advantage of.

Types of Fasting

There are two different types of fasting:

1. Absolute fasting: This type of fasting is, as the name suggests, absolute abstinence from food for a specific period of time, usually between one day and a week. 

2. Intermittent fasting: I often call this the snake diet because intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which you switch between time periods of fasting and periods of eating. There are many diets with different eating patterns, but they usually have a minimum fasting period of 8 hours. One common example of intermittent fasting is the Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) method, which is a continued cycle of one day (24 hours) fasting, one day (24 hours) feeding.

10 Fasting Health Benefits

1. Fasting helps you detox: Detoxing cleanses your body of harmful toxins, from the inside out. Although detoxing has only recently received popularity in the western culture, it has been practiced for centuries in Chinese medicine systems. Fasting is perhaps the simplest and most effective way to detoxify your body. “Fasting to Detox Your Body”

2. Fasting is good for your heart: No one wants a weak heart, and the importance of a healthy heart becomes increasingly apparent as you get older. Here’s a study that observed the cardiovascular health of individuals fasting during a month long fast: “Ramadan fasting is good for the heart: study”

3. Fasting lowers high blood pressure: According to vegsource.com, “Neither is it a new, expensive, and patented dietary supplement. It is supervised water-only fasting, a technique that allows for the induction of a potent, natural, adaptive, healing process in a professionally monitored environment. This technique is known to surprisingly few health professionals, though it has proved valuable in the treatment of a wide variety of health problems. Recently, this powerful technique has been shown to be an extremely effective method for allowing the body to rapidly normalize high blood pressure more effectively than any other treatment reported in the scientific literature.” Read more here.

4. Fasting reduces cravings and addictions: This may seem relatively insignificant at face value, but think about the implications here. Smokers, fasting might help you quit smoking. Alcoholics may find it easier to control their craving for alcohol. CNN reports: “We all know that what you eat can change your physical appearance. It also alters how your body functions, making it more or less difficult to pump blood, grow healthy bones or process insulin. New research presented this week at the Neuroscience 2012 conference suggests that what you eat can even alter your brain – and vice versa.” Read the full article here.

5. Fasting boosts your immunity system: Autophagy is cellular self-digestion; this is what happens when you fast. Studies show that autophagy has a myriad of health benefits, the improving of the immune system being one of them. Read more here.

6. Fasting helps you cut fat and cholesterol: A study conducted on Greek Orthodox Christian fasters showed that: “Fasters compared to controls presented 12.5% lower end-total cholesterol (p < 0.001), 15.9% lower end-LDL cholesterol (p < 0.001) and 1.5% lower end-BMI (p < 0.001). The end- LDL/HDL ratio was lower in fasters (6.5%, p < 0.05) while the change in end- HDL cholesterol in fasters (4.6% decline) was not significant. Similar results were found when the pre- and end-fasting values of fasters were compared. No change was found in control subjects.” Read the full study here.

7. Fasting balances blood sugar levels: This more important fro some than for others, but even if you don’t need to lower your blood sugar level, it can’t hurt. This in depth personal study shows the balancing effect of fasting on blood sugar levels.

8. Fasting increases your life expectancy: This study shows how fasting can help you live longer, and it’s just common sense. If fasting helps cut fat and cholesterol, lowers risk of disease, boosts your immunity system, helps you detox, and improves cardiovascular function, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that it helps you increase your lifespan.

9. Fasting lowers the risk of disease: Cancer, cariovascular diseases, diabetes, and insulin disorders are a few problems fasting has been shown to eliminate. Here’s an example from World Health: “Every Other Day Fasting May Reduce Cancer Risk”

10. Fasting improves your health just as much as exercise: This was a hard one to believe, but these study results are convincing! Study: Fasting improves health as much as cutting calories

-Josh

3 Comments

  1. Alex Norris May 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    Wow, I have always associated fasting with religious practices; had never considered the possible health benefits.

    Reply

    • Josh June 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      I didn’t either until recently – it sounds crazy but it’s true!

      Reply

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