The Health Benefits and Types of Fasting
By Laura McElroy

Public perceptions of fasting as deprivation and extreme dieting have changed. Now, health-conscious people practice fasting to assist digestion, weight management and disease-prevention goals. People who are interested in fasting have smart, safe methods to start according to their health, lifestyles and goals.

Health Benefits of Fasting

Increased alertness, boosted metabolism and controlled appetite are some many benefits of fasting. The body feels less heavy and sluggish. Once people realize they’ve been freed of mindless eating, they feel empowered to more confidence in other areas of their lives.

Fasting helps people break the habit of feeling hungry or believing they should eat because of hormonal, psychological and even social media cues. Then, they can attune to the actual quantities of food they need and how often.

Internal improvements, transformations and signs of cell renewal from fasting can include:

  • Faster metabolism
  • Healthful, gradual weight loss
  • Less gas, bloating and distension
  • Balanced insulin and glucose levels
  • Lowered inflammation
  • Oxidative stress reduction
  • Human growth hormone promotion
  • Decreased night eating and better sleep
  • Decreased alcohol use

Fasting also boosts mental health. People save money and time when they conquer habitual, but unnecessary, turns to fast and processed foods.

Types of Fasting

Intermittent fasting rotates periods of eating and not eating. Some fasters delay the first meal of the day. Others restrict food for several hours at night. Advanced fasters avoid food consumption on certain days regularly each week.

Juice fasting substitutes solid food for raw fruits and vegetables in liquid forms. The method concentrates plant-based fiber and nutrients for maximum absorption.

Water fasting restricts meals in favor of water, with some herbal tea supplementation possible, for powerful cleansing and hydration effects.

All these methods may be mixed and matched to fit individual aims.

Is Fasting a Diet?

Diets restrict people to low-calorie amounts. Most diets fail because they are not customized to different ages, sizes, personalities and lifestyles. Fasting is not a diet but a calm, as-needed approach to eating.

It is also more sustainable and regenerative than dieting. During this food break, the human body slows down and regenerates through autophagy, the body’s reversal to feeding off itself instead of food. This self-feeding attacks diseased and damaged elements first.

Is Fasting Starvation?

Human beings must go without food for nearly three weeks, and water for three to four days, before they can perish. Fasting, on the other hand, relies on the human body’s natural self-preservation responses when it only thinks it might be starving. Water comprises 60% of the human body, so fasting’s emphasis of water over food balances its optimal organic state.

No matter the style or reason for fasting, it should be safe. A fast may be broken any time someone feels weak or unwell. As with any new health practice, no one should start fasting without consulting their doctor.

Ideally, fasting becomes a lifestyle change and long-term “food as medicine” technique. Often, the short-term rest from a well-fed stomach and overworked digestive system becomes the new habit. People look forward to not eating just as much as eating once fasting’s benefits transform how they feel.


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