Whether you’re looking for quick information, or want something to impress your friends at dinner, here’s our Featured 5 of the Week!
We’ve all heard of intermittent fasting, but fasting for longer periods may have better and more long-term benefits to our health. Let’s look at some of these benefits and see if fasting is worth the pain!
1. Burning Fat
Fat burning is a primary benefit of fasting. Food is fuel; we’ve all heard that saying before. The carbohydrates from food are where this fuel comes from. When we’ve finished eating, the glucose from our food is used for energy, while the fat is stored as triglycerides.
However, the liver takes those fatty acids and converts them into ketones instead when you fast. Ketones are a significant energy source for our organs and may even affect health and aging.
2. Brain Activity
Ketones also help the brain. They help create a hormone called BDNF. BDNF strengthens neural connections in the brain and promotes new nerve cells for learning and memory, which may help prevent Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. Fasting may also help improve verbal memory, executive function, and global cognition.
3. Prevent Disease
After fasting, our cells go through autophagy, a cleanup of waste and other damaged parts in our cells. During this time, some proteins and other cell parts are repurposed and then directed to where they’re needed. Bad cells, or cells that show the early stages of disease, are flushed out. Other than fasting, exercise also enhances autophagy.
4. Cardiovascular Health
Fasting is key to maintaining our cardiovascular health. Fasting can help lower blood pressure and our resting heart rate, taking stress off the heart. It’s also been shown to increase parasympathetic tone, which in turn helps your body relax and become more resistant to stress. All of this takes stress off the heart and lowers your chance of developing heart disease.
Did you know that fasting is good for our muscles, too? Since protein and other foods help build and maintain muscle mass, you wouldn’t think so. However, fasting helps increase insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance, lowering your chance of developing type-2 diabetes. Fasting also enhances our endurance, increasing our ability to perform athletically and reducing inflammation in our muscles. So, fasting may be a great solution to improve your athletic performance and decrease the chance of injury.
The Bottom Line
Fasting for more extended periods can have many long-term benefits, including decreasing our chance of developing diseases later. To learn more about fasting and see if it’s right for you, click here (and always consult a doctor first!)