You might’ve heard of intermittent fasting before since it’s grown in popularity online, but fasting is a practice that’s been around for centuries.
Fasting is sacred to many religions, including Christianity and Islam, and cultures, and it’s defined as abstinence from all or certain foods, drinks, and activities for a predetermined period. But you’re probably wondering what health benefits the practice might offer, particularly when fasting from food.
According to research, the health benefits of fasting are bountiful. So, if you’ve considered fasting for weight loss or other health reasons, you’ll be happy to discover these five science-backed health benefits of fasting:
Helps fight against inflammation
We all deal with inflammation as it’s our body’s natural response to protect us from infection. While inflammation is a regular occurrence, chronic inflammation can lead to serious health concerns such as arthritis. Luckily, research shows that fasting can result in decreased levels of inflammation, leading to better health and a lower risk of developing arthritis, cancer, or heart disease.
Promotes weight loss
This is the health outcome you’ve probably been waiting for, so here it is! For starters, decreased caloric intake naturally leads to some type of weight loss, but you also have your metabolism to thank, too. Research suggests that short-term fasting may boost metabolism, which enhances weight loss.
Could aid in delayed aging and increased lifespan
Are you on the hunt for the fountain of youth? Fasting might be the thing you’ve been looking for because, according to studies performed on rats, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than the animals that didn’t fast, and they experienced delayed aging. Of course, studies still need to be carried out on humans to ensure quality results, but this research is certainly promising.
May improve brain function and aid in protecting brain health
The older you get, the more critical it is to stimulate the brain to keep it up and at ‘em. But some animal studies report that fasting not only protects brain health but it increases the generation of nerve cells that enhance cognitive function. Again, more studies need to be carried out on humans, but this research gives you something to think about.
Enhances heart health and lowers the risk of diabetes
African Americans were 30 percent more likely to die from heart diseases than non-Hispanic whites in 2018. So it is paramount that we especially take our heart health seriously. Studies have found that fasting could decrease “bad” cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and even lower the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
The bottom line
Fasting has been associated with many health benefits, but this doesn’t mean that this practice is suitable for everyone. You should always do your research and, most importantly, consult your doctor before beginning any fast or diet, especially if you have diabetes or low blood sugar.
Written by Reese Williams