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Fasting has been proven to have many benefits: it promotes growth hormone production, helps burn more fat, stimulates muscle growth, and slows aging. It also reduces inflammation in the body.
I have to say that when I do a complete fast for 24 hours, I always feel more energized. The most interesting thing to me is that I don’t feel hungry at all even though I haven’t eaten anything and I am still playing sports at the same time.
During fasting, insulin and blood sugar levels decrease greatly. The production of ghrelin (hunger hormone) also decreases, making it easier to control your appetite during the day.
Many studies have also shown that there are even more benefits of fasting: it helps limit the growth of cancer cells and improves cholesterol levels.
It also has positive effects on the brain and improves self-control. This is because many of the times we think we are hungry, but in reality we aren’t. Fasting helps us to become aware of this process, and distinguish real hunger from emotional hunger.
Benefits of Fasting according to Science
- Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress:inflammation is behind many ailments and also encourages premature aging.
- Improves our immune system: The process of autophagy, in which the body regenerates itself by eliminating damaged cells and anything that is no longer useful to the body. In addition it boosts the immune system, according to many studies.
- Avoid Overweight and Obesity: One of the effects of intermittent fasting is that it increases metabolism, which can greatly help in maintaining an optimal weight.
- Lowers blood glucose levels and insulin resistance: This effect especially benefits people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Increases longevity: studies with rats have concluded that rats who fast live longer and healthier lives.
- Helps fight degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer ‘s disease: At the moment only studies on animals have been done, but they are very encouraging.It seems that fasting protects the brain, increases the regeneration of nerve cells and improves cognitive capacity.
- Activates metabolism, improves muscle mass gain,and increases growth hormone production: There are various studies that have found that fasting can naturally increase levels of growth hormone, which just happens to also be the hormone responsible for increasing metabolism, muscle mass and strength.
Common mistakes while fasting
- Eating with no control: Fasting doesn’t mean that the next time we eat, we should eat twice as much. It is important to maintain a varied diet even after fasting. Making sure to have balanced meals with adequate amounts of what our body needs.
- Reduce total intake: It is not about eating less, especially if we are active and sporty. Fasting only means eating the same amount but in fewer meals. Make sure that at the end your body has received the necessary intake of vitamins, nutrients, proteins, fats…
- Not drinking enough water: There are people who forget to drink water while fasting and this is a big mistake. Remember that during the fasting phase the body starts autophagy, a natural process in which the body eliminates toxins, cleansing and regenerating itself. Water helps to cleanse and sweep the body of toxins, so it is important to make sure you drink water to help your organs that manage the waste elimination process, such as the kidneys, intestine and liver.
- Drinking Sugary Drinks: These kinds of drinks are never a good idea,and that is even more true while fasting. Sugary and sweetened beverages and soft drinks have a major impact on the intestinal flora and can create imbalances in the pancreas, biliary ducts, and hepatic levels...
How long should I fast to get all these benefits?
This is a question that we all usually ask ourselves and the answer depends on each one of us and how we feel. For example, I recommend that you start one day a week, it isn’t a huge sacrifice and doesn’t involve much change in your daily routine and is a good starting point. Afterwards, if you feel good, you can start to do it more frequently. Remember that the most important thing is to listen to your body and what it needs!
If we are honest, I’m sure that there are many days when we simply eat dinner because it is time, not because we are necessarily hungry, right? Well, that’s what it’s all about, listening to our needs. Did you know that animals stop eating when they are sick? They do it naturally, they instinctively use fasting to heal themselves. Applying that philosophy to our life, maybe we could fast after a big meal, it might just be for many of us the most logical and natural thing to do 😉
It is important that if we do a fast, for example, 16 hours daily, we make sure that by the end of the week in total, we have taken in all the necessary nutrients and vitamins our body needs. It is not about eating less, but about eating at specific periods of time throughout the day. If you only fast once a week, you don’t need to modify your menu the rest of the days, however, if you are fasting more than once a week be sure to account for all of this.