Fasting is a deliberate or intentional act of stopping food completely or almost completely for a certain stretch of time.
Fasting can last from 12-24 hrs or even days.
In some cases, water, tea or coffee is allowed.Fasting can be intermittent, which is a schedule of fasting for a number of hours and eating one meal a couple of days in a week or Prolonged fasting, which is fasting for over 24 hours.
However, the best way to fast is regular ingestion of water and salt. Intermittent fasting can be eating around 12pm till 6-7pm till the next day (diet must be monitored and drinking water in between fasting is advised).
Fasting has been researched to help the internal body systems, some of which would be mentioned in this article.
Benefits of Fasting
1. Weight loss: when the body detects unavailability of ingested glucose, the liver cells are forced to produce energy by making use of stored products (i.e. non-carbohydrates) like fats, amino acids, lactate. They are converted to glucose in a process; this in turn helps in burning stored fats causing weight loss and in balancing blood sugar level in type -2 diabetics and improvement in insulin sensitivity. Hereby advice diabetics to observe intermittent fasting and ingest water for sugar balance.
2. Detoxification: In studies with animals, fasting is detected, to cleanse the body of toxins and endorphins (feel-good hormones) are produced in the blood.
3. Regeneration: During fasting, basal metabolic rate is more efficient due to lower levels of energy produced, cell mitochondrial shifts and maintains functions longer than normal to promote healthy aging and longer lifespan by clearing out old immune cells and regenerate new ones.
4. Cell repair: Fasting will also heal your gut and intestinal cells and reduce general inflammation due to reduction in monocyte (a type of white blood cell) therefore, promoting maximum absorption of key nutrients that enhance muscle repair and growth. It helps in treatment of ulcer as it allows the stomach to rest and reduce the production of stomach acid and gives chance for ulcer to heal up. Patients who are not malnourished can be advised to observe intermittent fasting meanwhile increases fluid intake.
5. Heart: Studies have shown that intermittent fasting improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors like dyslipidemia, obesity.
Written by: Ololade Oduyomi