Holistic Medicine

Discover the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

intermittent fasting health benefits

intermittent fasting health benefitsDid you know fasting has benefits beyond preparing you for medical exams? And that people aren’t just fasting for religious rituals and beliefs?

And no, I’m not advocating starving yourself to lose weight!

What I’m suggesting is that you open yourself to the possibility of exploring intermittent fasting.

Let’s be clear, normal fasting is definitely a test to your mettle. There’s a reason why it’s the go-to method of protest for many peaceful activists.

There are also inherent dangers, especially if you don’t know your limits. After a certain point, your own body can begin feeding on itself and this can be extremely dangerous and painful.

Also, since your stomach is empty, you are at risk of having more heartburn episodes because the acids in your stomach have no food to breakdown.

Finally, and probably the most annoying side effect is the persistent headache you get from being hungry for extended periods of time.

Fasting, especially if it’s unsupervised, can pose a serious health hazard to anyone with diabetes because it can continually sabotage your efforts to regulate your blood sugar levels.

However, by talking to your family doctor you can determine what your limits are when it comes to fasting.

Normal fasting, when executed carefully, can help boost your immune system and increase your stem cells’ growth rate. Both these benefits can also potentially aid you in preventing cancer.

Intermittent fasting is another story…

To be concise, intermittent fasting is about developing a meal schedule that allows you to technically fast on a regular basis without the dangers of a long fast. Some sources recommend placing twelve to sixteen hours between eating sessions.

For example, some people have only two meals scheduled at 11am and 7pm, thus allowing the requisite twelve hours to pass as they sleep.

If done right, intermittent fasting is proven to be significantly more healthy than eating the traditional three meals a day.

Besides fighting obesity, intermittent fasting has been linked to as an aid in combating diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and some forms of cancer.

This schedule is not set in stone. By all means, try to develop a schedule that best suits the rhythm of your life. For example, if your workday begins very early in the morning, maybe 7am is not the best time to break your fast… get it? Breakfast?.

I recommend experimenting to discover what schedule gives you enough energy to get through your day.

Another tip: don’t do the intermittent fast everyday; your body can’t handle that. I’d recommend evenly spacing two fasting periods over the course of the week. Try giving your digestive tract at least one day of rest before starting another intermittent fasting session.

It’s also really important to recognize how vulnerable you are to the temptation of binge eating right after the end of a fasting period. By giving in to the temptation of binge eating you can potentially undo all of the health benefits intermittent fasting can bring to your overall health.

If you’re feeling unwell at any point during this process, stop immediately and consult your doctor. Intermittent fasting is not for everyone and if it does not work out for you it’s not the end of the world.

Sources:

http://www.livescience.com/48888-intermittent-fasting-benefits-weight-loss.html

Why fast?

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyramadan/Pages/fastinghealthrisks.aspx

Image: Huffington Post

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