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Today as times have progressed, the ancient knowledge that used to be the core of our existence has been lost. In addition to this, the unhealthy lifestyles that we lead have led to various health problems, like obesity and due to this obesity, the humankind has been exposed to many more health issues.
Then comes the fact where we want to go to gyms to lose weight and consult various dieticians and trainers regarding the weight loss programs that we need to follow. This has further led to various misconceptions of how frequently food needs to be consumed. This has led to various myths and misconceptions about the meals that we intake, like “Don’t skip breakfast”, “Having meals every 2-3 hours” and “If you don’t have frequent meals, you will put on weight”.
Today when it comes to various forms of dieting, the most popular is intermittent fasting. So what has changed in recent times? Science has advanced, the secrets of ancient times have now been revealed, and myths and misconceptions related to fasting have been broken.
Benefits of Fasting
A person can survive 24 hrs without food before he or she starts feeling weak. Also, the non-consumption of food means putting a halt to the digestive system. It is important to understand that from the energy that has been generated in the body, the maximum energy is consumed for digesting the food that you consume.
During the fasting phase, when the digestive system is not working, the energy thus saved is diverted to the repair and the rejuvenation of the other parts of the body. Due to which there are a number of benefits of fasting.
Let’s quickly take a look at them
1. Strong Willpower
Due to the stress around us, today various harmful and self-destructive habits and addictions have made their way into our lives.
Fasting in itself means that you are going against nature. When you are fasting, that, in turn, means that you are willingly refusing to eat. Also, it is important here to make a note of the difference between fasting and starving. Fasting is when you are willingly choosing not to eat for a certain amount of time; while starving is when you are forced not to eat and don’t know when you would consume the next meal.
As we all know, food is the basic need of the body and hence you are choosing to fast, you are exercising your willpower. When you are able to give up something so primary that is needed for our very existence, giving any other addictions becomes a piece of cake.
2. Extensive alertness and increase in brainpower
Due to short-term fasting, the body goes into a mode known as “neuronal autophagy”. Autophagy has to do with the fact that since the digestive system of the body has been paused, the energy used by the digestive systems are now used to complete the various other processes of the body. Neuronal autophagy enables brain cells to recycle waste materials and reduce the wasteful processes taking place along with repairing itself. This process causes the brain to not only function at its optimal level, but also helps the brain develop.
As fasting is carried out over a long period of time, brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF levels increase. BDNF is a protein that deals with neurons in the various parts of the brain, i.e., the cortex, the hippocampus, and the part of the brain that works on memory and learning, which is the basal forebrain. BDNF not only helps the existing neurons to survive, but it also initiates the growth of new neurons along with causing an improvement in the neuro-synaptic connectivity.
As a result of the varied changes in the neurons of the brains, there is not only an improvement in the learning and the memory functions, but also a visible increase in the individual’s ability to concentrate and focus.
3. Health Benefits
As mentioned earlier, due to the various myths and misconceptions that we have with regards to the diet, our brain gets reprogrammed to receive incorrect signals regarding when we are full and when we are not. As you start fasting, the entire hormonal system of the body reboots itself. This results in the correct signals being sent out to the brain and the various related neurons. The body is now able to correctly assess when it is full and when you are really hungry. Thus, binge eating of all kinds is curbed.
4. Benefits to Skin and Immune system
In addition to this, you notice that your face will start to glow in a healthy and vibrant way, along with this even the acne starts to clear up.
Due to fasting, along with the hormonal system, even the immune system reboots itself. As a result, the body frees itself of any radical damage and regulates the inflammatory conditions of the body. This also causes a reduction in the formation of cancer cells in the body.
5. The obvious one – Lowers cholesterol
Finally, the cholesterol and even the insulin sensitivity levels changes, causing any overall improvement of the health of the person or individual. Also, there is an increase in the levels of HGH or the growth hormone in the body, which further increases the metabolism i.e. the fat burning capacity of the body and increases in the muscle gain.
Why the wait ?
As a bottom line, fasting reboots the entire bodily systems, resulting in an overall increase in the physiology of the person. When you are fasting, all the other systems and the entire body is on high alert due to autophagy. You are able to feel and see everything around you with heightened senses. If you haven’t started fasting already, it’s time to start now and feel the difference.