Fasting has been part of human lifestyle for centuries, mostly for religious and medical purposes. More recently there are a large number of researches to support the health benefits of fasting which includes improved disease state, reduced oxidative stress and preserved learning and memory functioning.
Here are some of the top benefits of fasting:
- Promote longevity and reduce aging.
- Increase autophaghy, which is your body’s way to recycle old and worn cells. It’s linked to many health benefits including reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Increase human growth hormone, which helps increase energy, increase bone density, and increase/retain muscle.
- Fasting can help you get into a state of ketosis, where you’re running on fat instead of glucose.
- Reduce inflammation and improve gut health.
- Fasting can help with weight loss.
Fasting, though, is not for everyone. If you are like me, staying without food for a whole day will make you anxious but there is a better solution – Intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. The good news is that you get the same health benefits as regular fasting without stressing your body too much.
There are many ways to “intermittently fast” but the approach I liked best is the 16:8 rule, where you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour window. The good news is that you will be sleeping for part of your “fasting” 16 hours window so it is not that hard to follow.
There are some rules to follow before you start intermittent fasting
- Reduce the intake of processed foods
- Increase raw foods in your diet – fruits, vegetables and nuts
- Eat balanced meals – Protein, complex carbs, and fats
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day
- Reduce the amount of sugar, especially processed sugar, from your diet.
Once you believe you are ready to start Intermittent Fasting, start small. Start with 12-hour fasting window and see how your body reacts. Gradually increase it to 16 hours. During fasting window, drink only plain water – no lemon, honey or any other additives. No tea, coffee!
Have a combination of fruit and nuts to break the fast. I usually have banana and walnuts as my first meal. Here are some other good options – Dates/Almonds/Raisins.
It is very important to listen to your body when eating and fasting. Women, especially should not starve and stress their body too much as it impacts the hormonal balance so it is highly recommended to start slow on your fasting. Try incorporating intermittent fasting once or twice a week.
I have experienced many health benefits by incorporating intermittent fasting so I assure you that it is not a fad but a tried and tested recipe to improve health, increase energy and eventually weight loss.
Remember Intermittent Fasting is not a Diet but a Lifestyle change. It is a tool for healthy living.
Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions.
<Please consult with your doctor before starting Intermittent Fasting if you have any medical conditions that might get aggravated from prolonged starvation>