Fasting has really been propelled into mainstream media over the past few years, offering us mere mortals benefits we could only dream of. Often when it is spoken about in magazines and online articles, there is a focus on losing weight, but there can be many more benefits from fasting that can enable good health in the long run.
This piece is going to talk about what actually happens to your body when you fast!
What is Fasting?
Fasting is a practice that involves abstaining from food (and sometimes water) for a significant period of time as a chance to give the body a rest from digesting and time to focus on everything else it needs to do – which is a lot. There is, of course, a religious base to fasting too, but no one needs to be religious to practice fasting. It is also important to note that fasting is not for everyone, especially those who take certain regular medications or have had an eating disorder. Be sure to check with a healthcare professional if it is right for you.
Fasting Can Increase Your Metabolism
Having a low metabolism can be a serious issue that would need medical treatment and can cause symptoms such as ongoing fatigue, brittle hair and nails, depression, and constipation, to name a few. However, for those who just want to give themselves a boost, fasting is a quick way to do this! Fasting for up to 48 hours spikes the hormone norepinephrine, which is a stress response. While that might not sound ideal, exercise also causes this release too! It signals the body to help break down fat and increases blood sugar levels in the body to provide you with more energy.
Fasting Gives Your Digestive System a Rest
The average person is always snacking on something. Whether it is the biscuits in the office floating around or grabbing a chocolate bar after lunch, we often do not go 2 hours without eating! While this is not inherently bad for you, it does leave little room for your digestive system to rest apart from when you are sleeping. Fasting gives your stomach a break, as the digestive system is one of the hardest working parts in our body!
Fasting Can Help Retrain Our Bodies
Fasting was a natural state for our ancestors, specifically intermittent fasting, as they were not able to have access to food just whenever they wanted. The hunter-gatherer era meant that food was ‘intermittent’, which meant so was digesting, exercising, and everything else that contributed to their health.
Taking our bodies back to basics can help retrain them to understand how to use carbs and fats efficiently again, switching between the two burning modes, which is better for our energy usage and levels.
There is also an impressive mental effect that comes with resetting our body like this too, as it can clear away a foggy brain and improve clarity because of the lower insulin levels achieved through fasting.