What is fasting and why does fasting have such profound health benefits?
When we fill our stomachs with food and drink, our body must focus on digestion. And digestion is a very complex and tedious process for our body and organs. When our stomach is empty and our body is not working on digestion, it gives our system time to concentrate on performing dozens of other tasks that will keep our body, organs and brain healthy.
Digestion can distract our system. Fasting allows our body time and energy to do other important things besides digestion that help our system reboot, reset and recycle itself.
24 Hour Fasting – How to do it?
The 24-hour fast is simple and clear: you have to fast directly for 24 hours; from breakfast to dinner or the meal of your choice.
For example, if you plan to do the 24-hour fast from dinner to dinner, you would eat dinner at 7 pm and fast until you eat dinner the next day 24 hours later. Not to confuse, this basically means one meal a day (during a 24-hour period).
Benefits of 24-hour fasting
1) It tends to help you lose weight.
The most obvious benefit of abstaining from all or certain foods and beverages is that you will tend to decrease your total caloric intake. This caloric restriction could help you lose weight over time.
2) Increase your metabolism
Our metabolism tends to slow down with age. A 20-year-old will have a better digestion capacity than a 50-year-old. But, with frequent 24-hour fasting, you can increase your body’s metabolic rate.
While fasting, you are technically giving your digestive system a rest. This gives it plenty of time to repair damage. It will also give your body time to eliminate toxins, which in turn will allow your hormones to regulate.
3) Restores your immune system
When you are fasting, there is no food supply for your body, so the system begins to look for alternative sources of energy. One of the sources it quickly finds is cells that no longer work well for your body. Over time, millions of our immune cells break down and become inefficient. So, to find energy during a fast, our bodies begin to recycle and consume the old immune cells that are damaged or no longer needed…. basically cleans out the immune cells that don’t work well for your body and uses them for energy.
4) Provides improved productivity
This is pretty straightforward. When your stomach is full, the enthusiasm to work and stay productive instantly decreases.
The best example of this can be seen in wild animals. When hungry, a lion runs after its prey, catches it and eats its fill. Then, once it is full, it will not rush after any other prey, even if it is nearby.Why? Because it is already full and satisfied. This reduces productivity after eating and this same principle also applies to humans.
5) Eliminates toxins
There is no denying that our Western eating and drinking habits create toxins in the liver and kidneys. One of the key benefits of fasting is that during a fast, the body tends to eliminate these harmful toxins that are stored in the liver and kidneys. Your liver and kidneys are basically your body’s filtration system and tend to trap and hold many of the most harmful things we ingest. Fasting gives your liver and kidneys time to flush out many of these toxins.
6) It can balance your blood pressure
For most people, fasting has a real impact on their blood pressure. At first, when you start a fast, you may feel your blood pressure drop. But that’s normal, as your body is trying to get rid of unwanted fats and salts. Once your body begins to adapt to your fasting system, your blood pressure will begin to drop.
7) It’s good for your heart
Fasting for 24 hours for one or two days a week can potentially improve risk factors associated with your heart health. People who fast show self-control in calorie intake. This behavior can further aid in weight control and better food choices when they are not fasting. Basically, fasting gives people the mental strength and willpower to make better food choices when they are not fasting. Better eating will undoubtedly result in better heart health as obesity will be avoided.
24-Hour Fasting – Weight loss and more
Some important tips as you think about your 24-hour fast:
Complete Your 24-Hour Fasting Successfully with these Interesting Tips:
- Consider trying a 16-hour fast before trying your first 24-hour fast.
- Eat a healthy, hearty meal before embarking on your 24-hour fast.
- Get a good night’s sleep. You can use it to your advantage during a fast.
- Drink plenty of water during your fast.
- Keep busy during the fasting hours.
- Stay positive, be strong and listen to your body.
- Make your post-fasting meal very simple and healthy. Don’t gorge yourself on junk
The best ways to break the 24-hour fast:
- Drink plenty of water
- Break your fast with a small healthy meal that is packed with nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t eat fast. Chew well – it is recommended to chew 30 times for each bite
- Choose some foods that are easy to digest. Consider eating steamed vegetables and lean meat.
- Prefer to eat foods that your body has previously accepted well. Avoid experimenting with new foods.
- Do not eat to make up for lost calories. Eat moderately.
Dr. Mansi Shah
Functional Wellness Network