What is Fasting? What Are The Benefits of Fasting?
What is fasting? What are the benefits of fasting? More and more people ask these questions on a regular basis, given the extreme popularity a ‘fast lifestyle’ has gained throughout the past couple of years. If up until now it wasn’t considered such a revolutionary way of changing your life, fasting is now one of the fastest growing nutrition & lifestyle trends worldwide.
According to the English dictionary, ‘fasting’ means to ‘abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance’ (example: “the ministry instructed people to fast”). Synonyms: abstain from food, refrain from eating, deny oneself food, go without food, go hungry, eat nothing, starve oneself; go on hunger strike. The technical definition of the word means to ‘be deprived of all or some kinds of food, especially for medical or experimental reasons’ (example: “all patients were fasted before surgery”).
Niraj Naik, owner of The Renegade Pharmacist blog, created this very insightful and useful infographic to better explain the benefits of taking up a fast. Nutritionists now recommend that eating healthy during a 7-8 hour interval, between for example 10 AM-6 PM or 11 AM-7 PM, and then fast for the remaining 16-17 hours could bring huge benefits to your body’s health.
The period of time people decide to fast daily is up to them, but it should be the same period of time every day. However, you can still juggle around with the number of hours you fast at the beginning, just to see which period best suits your lifestyle.
Latest research shows that cycles of prolonged fasting can protect the immune system from damage and it even helps in regenerating it, in time. A fast can shift stem cells from dormant state to self-renewal state.
Besides the numerous benefits it can have on the body, fasting also helps the brain to maintain it’s agility and lucidity. Be sure to check out this TEDx Talk for more info on this subject. Mark Mattson, Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging explains how a fast can lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Also, the BBC documentary ‘Eat Fast and Live Longer’ features some of the world’s top scientists in the field of nutrition. They explain how adopting a fast as your daily routine can completely change your lifestyle, health and state of mind.