How Healthy Is Fasting?
Why People Fast
Irrespective of whether cutting down on calories can increase longevity, no person could still be able to think of eating a small chunk every day. In such a case, resorting to something that makes you stay away from food (fasting) for a brief period would certainly serve the purpose.
Fasting is referred to as partial / complete abstinence of food or water or both, for a certain period of time. It is also sometimes observed as a necessary component for diagnostic tests and procedures, besides being taken up as a traditional practice in many cultures and religions. Some also resort to fasting as a therapy for certain conditions or merely as a weapon to showcase their response for a protest, or for a feeling of spiritual attainment.
Whether fasting can prove beneficial or whether it can have adverse effects on health Is a topic of debate. However, people who intend to fast for health, need to thoroughly understand it it will be good for the body or will just end up doing more harm. Also, those who fast for their beliefs need to be aware of the health implications it will have on their body and the ways to counter any negative after-effects fasting may have.
Effects Of Fasting
While fasting, the body ¡s devoid of any new supplies of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. And the body has already utilized the available energy it has, thus it begins turning to other sources for fuel. However, it is crucial to understand that the body will eventually run out of these reserves as well, for energy and would have to seek some other source for energy in order to carry out the basic physiological functions.
Once the carbohydrate stores are used up, the body moves onto the protein stores of the body which mainly comprises of the muscles. At this juncture, tasting ends and the person has begun to starve.
Benefits Of Fasting
During a fast, as the body utilises tat stores in the body as a source of fuel it results in the loss of tat cells. This is considered a positive outcome for those looking for weight loss as it renders aesthetic appeal resulting in a more toned and slim physique.
The rejuvenating, healing and restorative power of fasting has long been used therapeutically.
Fasting provides the body with more energy and thus gives the body the time to rest, cleanse and rejuvenate. This is because during fasting, the body’s efforts and energy are not directed towards processes like digestion, but rather the same energy is utilized for other body processes, protein synthesis, repairing of damaged cells and detoxifying various systems.
Fasting stimulates the production of the growth hormone that triggers building of tissue and healing of wounds.
Fasting improves cognitive function by increasing a person’s ability to focus and thus have a clearer view of aspects with refreshed energy levels.
Drawbacks Of Fasting
Fasting for a prolonged period of time can lead to thinning of the hair, imbalance of the electrolytes as well downy hair which is a peculiar feature of eating disorders.
It can result in an abnormal heartbeat, renal complications and starvation leading to death in extreme cases.
Instructions For Fasting
It is important to enable your body to make the transition during a fast smoothly and in a gradual way. Slow training your body can activate the body’s restorative powers. Do not load up on a heavy calorie-dense meal prior to beginning with a fast. Stick to something that is light, fresh and healthy, preferably, vegetables, fruits, and water.
Listen to your body’s cues, respond and analyse what changes you are experiencing during the process of fasting, as it is common to experience irritability and sluggishness at the beginning of a tasting regime. However, these symptoms will begin to ease as your body settles in the routine. Remember, these changes are mainly because of the disruption in what your body is usually accustomed to and is expecting and due to the sudden deviation in the general pattern.
Fasting provides the body with more energy and thus gives the body the time to rest, cleanse and rejuvenate.
A pregnant or nursing woman and also children, should refrain from observing a fast as their bodies are under increased demands for energy and are undergoing physiological changes.
In addition to this, those who have a kidney or liver disease, suffering from an eating disorder, high blood pressure, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or impaired functioning of the immune system should always seek medical advice from their healthcare provider before attempting any kind of fast.