What is fasting?
Fasting is when you go for a longer period of time without eating. Fasting can be anywhere from 12-24 hours.
Fasting doesn’t have to be as hard as you think it is. You can simply stop eating at 7pm (after dinner) and eat a breakfast at 9 or 10am to get 14 or 15 hours of fasting in.
In our ancestors, fasting wasn’t an unheard of thing. Before we had fridges and food preservation, they only had food of what they could harvest and hunt at the time. Seasons change, which limited some types of foods, and all these natural processes actually made fasting a part of life.
Health benefits of fasting
When we fast, our body is able to focus on repairing, fixing, and doing all the “under the hood” work without having to divert energy into digesting food.
Studies show that HGH, human growth hormone, increases during fasting. Which can help with gaining muscle and helping burn fat. It also lowers levels of certain growth factor hormones, like IGF-1. IGF-1 has been shown that the higher rates of IGF-1 you have, the higher risk of certain cancers. The signals by insulin or IGF-1 can promote tumour development by inhibiting apoptosis, and by stimulating cell proliferation.
So, like I just mentioned that insulin plays a role in our health and fasting helps balancing your insulin levels (which not only contributes to lowering your risk of cancer, but promoting weight loss as well)
Fasting also helps our body use up what we’ve stored like glycogen and fat.
A study that was done in the Nutrition Research Journal showed that fasting also helped decrease inflammation by suppressing pro inflammatory expressions and decreased body fat.
Fasting also showed an increased production of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which increases the resistance of neurons becoming dysfunctional.This ultimately protects us from neurodegenerative diseases.
Should you fast?
Fasting for long periods of time isn’t for everyone. I do believe we should always aim for an overnight fast, so after you eat dinner that would be your final meal of the day and wake up and eat breakfast 12-13 hours later.
If you aren’t sleeping good or super stressed out, I wouldn’t put your body through fasting. That could making fasting into a negative thing and put more stress on the body. If you’re interested in fasting, you have to make sure that you’re getting the right amount and quality sleep and your stress levels aren’t chronically high.
For some people, especially women and our hormones, it’s best just to fast a couple times throughout the week. Fasting for long periods of times every single day can make our hormones a little wonky or thrown out of wack, so to prevent that dial back the amount of days that you fast.
Fasting isn’t recommended for women who are nursing or pregnant either. If you’re wanting to fast for longer periods of time and have a health condition, always check with your doctor.