Fasting for good health
Fasting for good health
There are many fad diets out there that recommend fasting as a means to lose weight, but what they won’t tell you is that you gain the weight back if it isn’t done correctly. Fasting does in fact help in weight loss and controlling the weight, but you need to understand the way the human body works while abstaining from food and drinks for a specific period of time. Research has proven that fasting helps in the regeneration of the immune system, as well as powerful benefits for the body and brain. When our bodies are overworked and overwhelmed by stresses of day to day activities and food, it slows down the fat burning process, increases stress levels and disrupts sleep patterns, not to mention the irritability of the digestive system as it tries to process the excess of food while the stomach, colon and intestines go through major changes many of which have negative and disturbing outcomes.
While fasting, a number of chemical reactions take place, one very important change would be the drop of insulin levels which promote fat burning. Prolonged fasting forces the body to tap into the storage of glucose and fat, with help from the reduced insulin levels, the effect results in gradual and healthy weight loss. While the body does require a large amount of energy to move about through the day, to many contrary beliefs, fasting doesn’t tap into that energy and depletes it. The opposite is true, with the proper diet, digesting, assimilating and metabolizing, it’s estimated that more than 50 percent of the food intake is transformed to stored energy, and fasting balances food intake and energy use.
Research has also found that fasting reduces an enzyme called PKA, a protein dependent enzyme that has several functions in cells, regulation of glycogen, sugar and lipid metabolism. PKA is also linked to an aging hormone that increases cancer risk and tumor growth. Intermittent fasting cycles have been found to trigger changes in stem cell based regeneration of new immune system cells. A study conducted at the University of Southern California found that PKA is the key gene that needs to “shut down” in order for these stem cells to switch into regenerative mode, to gradually rebuild and rejuvenate the immune system. This finding is helpful to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, by which their immune system is surely depleted and in low dangerous levels. Physicians are now recommending prolonged fasting to their patients not only to help prolonging their lives, but also to help reduce infections and illnesses associated with age and low immune systems that can be very dangerous.
So now you ask, what about me? I’m healthy and young, do I need to fast too? The answer would be, yes, you could. Not only does fasting help the body on a cellular level, a physiological level, it helps on a mental level too by promoting inner stillness and enhancing spiritual connection. The utility of fasting in a spiritual or religious quest has been an integral part of human history. All major religions retain fasting as a fundamental part of their spiritual practice to gain enlightenment, clarity, self discipline and more importantly inner nourishment. During a state of fasting, the mind goes into a meditative and relaxing mode, enhancing the brain’s ability to regulate stress levels and help make better strategic decisions. On a psychological level, fasting resembles the renewal of oneself, a state of peace takes place and with repetition, the behavior changes into a more relaxed and less stressed individual. It’s through abstaining does one regain control of the nerves and can assimilate to the environment around him if and when it’s filled with negative energy.
Be sure to consult a physician if you’re suffering from certain health related complications before considering starting a fasting cycle.
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