The wonderful Michael Pollan summed up food and health in only few simple words, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. However, could there be something more we could be doing to reach optimal health? Lets chat fasting….
Fasting has been utilised for many health benefits, dating back to Hippocrates. These benefits range from better weight management, cardiovascular heath, cell recycling, and mental performance, among many others.
There are many different types of fasting from water/juice fasts, bone broth fast, ketogenic fast and intermittent fast. The common goal of all of these fasts is a restricted caloric intake for extended period of time, resulting in optimal health. Fasting remains one of the most effective means of detoxifying the body and resetting your system for increased overall health.
1. Fasting can increase satiety and regulate hunger
Fasting causes leptin (a hormone that regulated appetite) levels to drop. However, as you lose weight, your response to leptin signalling increases, making it easier to eat healthier foods and smaller portions since you’ll feel more satisfied after a meal. Some weight loss authorities think leptin resistance might be a factor that prevents people who are significantly overweight from dropping pounds because they don’t get that hormonal signal telling them that they’re full.
2. Supports weight loss and encourages Ketosis
Ketosis, or the fat-burning state, is reached either by fasting or eating a diet mainly healthy fats. Ketosis helps you burn through your fat reserves. Excessive central fat stored around organs, like your liver and kidneys, interferes with organ function. Fasting, helps you reach ketosis and boost fat metabolism.
3. Fasting promotes healthy immune function
Fasting recycles old white blood cells which makes up majority of your immune system. Recycling these immune cells can lead to an enhanced immune system.
4. Fasting can reduce levels of triglycerides within the blood
Blood triglycerides can decrease during a fasting state. Having fatty blood increases your risk of developing narrowed arteries.
5. Fasting can decrease Inflammation
Inflammation has many causes, but an unhealthy diet is a consistent source of free radicals and the foods that cause inflammation. Refined sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, meat, dairy, and fried or charred foods provoke inflammation. Foregoing a few meals can help prevent food-related inflammation before it even starts.
6. Fasting promotes a healthy stress response
Very mild, low-levelled stress is good for you. It challenges your body, and you come out stronger. Moderate, short stress on the brain produces a similar result. Fasting exerts a small amount of stress on the brain. This stress sets of a cascade of actions that protect neurons from damage and death.
Things to consider before you fast:
Like any health regimen, it’s not a one size fits all. Some people will thrive from conducting short term fasts as needed, and for some it is the opposite so please keep this in mind. We also recommend consulting a health professional before starting anything new.
Fasting also takes planning and preparation. Before beginning any fasting regimen, you must get a handle on your schedule, water intake, stress, and nutrition. Be realistic about your goals when conducting a fast. Inadequate sleep, unhealthy or emotional eating patterns, and insufficient stress management can results in an adverse effect and reduced results.
SOME PEOPLE WHO SHOULD NOT FAST: Children, pregnant and lactating women, and diabetics should avoid fasting unless instructed to do so by their trusted health care advisor.