Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Fasting For Health: The Top 10 Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Apart from eating healthily and exercising regularly, there’s something else you can do that will have a dramatic impact on your long term health – not eating! Going without food for short periods of time on a regular basis (i.e. intermittent fasting) will cleanse, heal and rejuvenate your body like nothing else. And this can lead to some exceptional health benefits.

Fasting has been known for its remarkable healing properties for thousands of years, and today it's becoming more popular than ever. Intermittent fasting simply involves going without food for around 24 hours (i.e. from dinner one day until dinner the next day) once or twice per week. During this time you drink only water (and perhaps some green tea if you wish).

So if you are interested in fasting to improve your health, in this post I'll outline the top 10 benefits you can expect to experience from doing this...

1. You'll Lose Weight Easily

With intermittent fasting you’ll be eating fewer meals per week, so your weekly calorie intake will automatically be reduced, even if you eat as you normally would the rest of the time. This means you can lose weight without worrying about calorie counting or restrictive eating plans. So dieting will be a thing of the past.

But that’s not the only reason why fasting for weight loss is so effective. Fasting increases your output of fat burning hormones and enzymes. And it also shifts your metabolism towards burning fat for energy instead of sugar. The result of this is you’ll lose excess pounds effortlessly. But you should of course stick mostly to healthy food choices when you are eating if you want the weight loss to continue beyond a certain point.

2. You'll Cleanse Your Body Of Toxins

Toxins and impurities, stored in your fat cells and lodged elsewhere in your body, will be released and eliminated during a fast. So fasting will help to cleanse and purify your entire system. And the impurities, once released, will be expelled from your body in your urine, feces, breath and through your skin.

The downside of this is you could have bad breath and a coated tongue for a while, but just brush your tongue with toothpaste a couple of times a day to relieve this.

3. You'll Experience Healing Of Your Entire Body

During a fast energy that would normally be used for digesting and assimilating food can be diverted to other tasks instead. These include healing and repairing damaged tissues, organs etc. And this results in a rejuvenating effect on the entire body taking place at the cellular level.

So over time you’ll find that any health complaints you have will begin to clear up, and may even disappear entirely.

4. Your Immune System Will Function Better

Fasting increases the effectiveness of the immune system, so you’ll find you’ll be more resistant to coughs, colds and other minor infections. You’ll also be able to recover more quickly when you do come down with something.

Even auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as allergies and asthma (caused by inappropriate immune response) can be significantly improved over time.

5. You'll Have More Energy

Contrary to what you might expect, you’ll find that during a short fast you’ll actually have more energy. This is due partly to the fact that you are not using energy to digest food, and partly because production of energy enhancing hormones and enzymes is increased when in the fasting state.

You’ll have more energy on your non-fasting days too because of the improvements in your overall health and condition.

6. You'll Have Clearer Skin

As toxins are purged from your body, you’ll notice skin blemishes and pimples will clear up. You’ll also notice fine lines will decrease, and your skin will take on a clearer and more youthful appearance.

7. Your Digestion Will Improve

Fasting gives your digestive system a rest, so it will work more effectively when you do eat. In fact your entire digestive and elimination system will start to function better, so you’ll get more benefit from the food you eat, and you’ll eliminate waste more effectively too.

8. You'll Have Less Risk Of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer

Regular fasting will help to remove the causes of these and other degenerative conditions.

During a fast arteriosclerotic plaques are gradually broken down and removed. Blood sugar levels are stabilized. Insulin production is reduced and your cells will become more insulin sensitive. And any abnormal cells are removed more effectively. This will greatly reduce your risk of developing these ailments.

And if you already suffer from any of them, most of them can be significantly reversed over time.

9. You'll Have Improved Mental Clarity And Function

Fasting stimulates the release of chemicals in the brain which give you better mental focus and clarity. Cognitive functions, such as memory and concentration, are improved and conditions such as senility and dementia can be prevented or even reversed to an extent.

10. You'll Experience Slower Ageing And Increased Life Expectancy

Because fasting has such a powerful healing and restorative effect on the body, it will slow down your rate of aging, and could potentially increase your lifespan too. Many people practice calorie restriction as a means of extending lifespan, and although this is known to be effective, intermittent fasting will do the job at least as well, but without any of the drawbacks or discomfort.

It has even been observed that fasting slows the rate of shortening of the telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes – an effect which should further increase life expectancy.

On top of all this fasting also reduces inflammation in the body and helps combat oxidative stress too.

So as you can see, the benefits of intermittent fasting are extensive and far reaching, and you should start to experience some of them within a few weeks. But the effects are cumulative, so the longer you do it the more you will benefit. In fact fasting is probably the best thing you could do to improve your long term health and your longevity too. So if you haven’t tried it yet, why not give it a go?

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