4 health benefits of fasting that may keep you fit

fasting

Sankashti Chaturthi has immense importance in Hindu culture. It involves fasting and worship of Lord Ganesha. People break fast after giving offerings to the moon. Many people do not even drink water during this fasting. Fasting has been a part of Indian tradition and the discussion about whether it is beneficial for us is always on. Although it may not be helpful for everyone, fasting may help a lot of people stay healthy and fit. Among many benefits, fasting could aid in weight loss, improve body composition, and enhance insulin sensitivity. Fasting may also boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote detoxification and cellular repair. It may improve your mood and mental clarity as well. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any fasting regimen, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.

Weight loss and body composition

  • Regular fasting may promote weight loss by utilising stored fat for energy.
  • Fasting primarily targets fat stores and minimises muscle loss.
  • It is effective for weight loss and improving body composition.

May improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control

  • Fasting enhances insulin sensitivity, beneficial for individuals at risk of or with type 2 diabetes.
  • It may lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity by depleting glucose stores and utilising stored fat for energy.
  • Intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating patterns show promise in reducing fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.

May enhance immune function

  • Fasting can stimulate the regeneration of immune cells through a process called autophagy.
  • Regenerated immune cells strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight infections and diseases.
  • Fasting reduces inflammation, which supports overall immune system health.

Detoxification and cellular repair

  • Fasting provides a period of rest for the digestive system, allowing energy allocation to detoxification and cellular repair processes.
  • Fasting can stimulate autophagy, a cellular process that removes damaged molecules and waste, promoting cellular repair and rejuvenation.
  • Increased production of endorphins during fasting can contribute to improved mood and mental clarity.

Expert insights

Yoga Practitioner

Discussing the potential benefits of fasting, Dr Ayush Chandra, Consultant Diabetologist and Founder of Nivaran Health, Delhi NCR, says, “Individuals with diabetes must consult their doctor before attempting any fasting regimen, as eligibility may vary depending on the type of diabetes and current medications. Fasting allows the body to detoxify and rest, while also causing a significant drop in insulin levels and promoting fat-burning and cellular repair. Fasting can reduce insulin resistance and the risk of other inflammatory diseases, while also helping reduce the body’s oxidative stress levels. It is crucial to work with a healthcare professional to determine the safest and most suitable fasting approach for individuals with diabetes.”

Interventional Cardiologist Dr Mohit Bhagwati said, “Fasting has been a hot topic and has been studied for its potential impact on heart health. Intermittent fasting, where individuals restrict their eating to specific time windows, may help lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce body weight. All of this can contribute to heart health. The benefits of intermittent fasting include decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension.”

Dr. Mohit Bhagwati

“Fasting stimulates the body to break down toxic cells and get rid of waste. When you fast, your cells live longer and produce more energy. Fasting has also been found to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, factors linked to cardiovascular disease. However, one must approach fasting with caution, especially if they suffer from certain medical conditions like diabetes or are taking medications. Consulting a healthcare professional is advisable before incorporating fasting into your routine for heart health benefits,” he added.

In spite of all the potential benefits of fasting, you must seek professional medical advice. Such guidance will ensure your safety and help you make informed decisions regarding fasting. This will maximise potential benefits while minimising risks. Prioritising your health and seeking expert advice is key when considering fasting as part of your lifestyle.

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