8 Health Benefits of Fasting- Backed by Science

Health Benefits of Fasting- Backed by Science
Health Benefits of Fasting- Backed by Science

Fasting is practiced by people from a religious perspective or as a form of political protest. But, does fasting have any health benefit? In this article, we try to figure out the answer to this question.
Let’s see the top 8 health benefits of fasting – backed by science…

Health Benefits of Fasting

1. To improve Immune system

Fasting boosts your immune system. While fasting, your body recycles many of your damaged or old immune cells. This process leads to the generation of new immune cells which are stronger and more active.[12] Besides this, fasting improves your immune system by reducing free radicals and removing toxins from the body. Hence, fasting may be a treatment to improve your immune system.

2. To boost brain activities

Fasting aids to enhance memory performance, recover from brain injury/ stroke, and helps to grow the neurons.[10] Fasting accelerates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a protein. This protein is required for the conversion of stem cells to neurons. Also, BDNF boosts the release of some other chemicals good for your brain. Moreover, it protects the brain cells from changes linked with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. It is shown by a study on rats that fasting can also prevent memory loss.[11]

3. To prevent cardiovascular diseases

Fasting can support you to keep your heart away from heart-related disease. But how can it possible? Fasting helps to improve your blood pressure.[2] It mainly works by reducing systolic blood pressure.[3] Research says that fasting can lower the risk of Coronary Artery Disease which is a cause of heart attack.[4] Also, the reduction of cholesterol (mainly Low-Density Lipoprotein /LDL) is aided by fasting which is responsible for narrowing the blood vessels. All of these activities diminish the risk of getting attacked by any cardiovascular disease.

4. To resist cancer

According to several studies, fasting is effective to fight against cancer. Fasting can decrease the risk of cancer by reducing the development of lymphoma, reducing the growth of the tumor, and resisting the spread of cancer cells.[8] The study also finds that fasting is helpful for patients who are going under chemotherapy. [9] So, fasting can be a weapon for cancer.

5. To check diabetes

Fasting helps to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the study, fasting can enhance insulin sensitivity.[7]
In type 2 diabetes, your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to reduce your blood sugar level. Consequently, your blood sugar becomes high. But if you fast, your blood sugar is used for energy production. As a result, your blood glucose level decreases.[5] Another research, conducted on diabetic rats, finds that fasting helps to prevent damage of the kidney resulting from diabetes.[6] So fasting is beneficial to diabetes type 2.

6. To promote metabolism

Fasting gives a rest to your digestive system. It promotes to renew your digestive power. Fasting may increase the level of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, in the bloodstream which also improves your metabolism system.[14] Bowel system is also boosted by fasting. Thus, fasting has a positive effect on your digestion metabolism.

7. To lose weight

Fasting has an important role in losing weight. Learn more ‘how to lose weight fast in two weeks‘. [1] When you eat something, it is converted to energy through the digestive system. But a portion of your consuming food is deposited as fat in the body which leads the body to become bulky. In the time of fasting, this process is disrupted. Moreover, deposited fat may burn to produce energy during fasting. By this, fasting assists you to control your weight.

8. To extend lifespan

Longevity is promoted by fasting.[13] As you grow older, your body’s metabolism gets weakened. This leads to loss of body tissue. Your cells also become weak and old. But if you fast, your older cells are broken down by a process known as autophagy. Then, metabolism is promoted. As a result, your aging becomes slow down. For this, the lifespan of a person who starves is longer than a person who doesn’t.

In addition, generally almost all Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan. They change their eating habits. It helps to health. Again, dates are the main fruits of Ramadan. It has lots of health benefits. Learn more about ‘the health benefits of dates‘.

Hope this article will make you think about fasting from a different angle. If this is helpful to you, just comment below.


References:

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/17/well/eat/the-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting.html


[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22963582/?from_term=Effects+of+Ramadan+fasting+on+cardiovascular+risk+factors%3A+a+prospective+observational+study&from_pos=1


[3] https://content.iospress.com/articles/nutrition-and-healthy-aging/nha170036


[4] https://www.st-va.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2572991/


[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193152441400200X


[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17316625/


[7] https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00683.2005


[8] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/86/1/7/4633143



[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20157582/


[10] http://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/46/15139

[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29307281/


[12] https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/doctor-note-fasting-ramadan-boost-immunity-200423151647666.html


[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6848584


[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837292

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