Fasting is often acknowledged as a process that is part of one’s common religious practice. Other than that, fasting is also enforced by doctors on patients prior to undergoing surgery or going through medical procedures. For whatever reason, fasting is defined as the practice of abstaining from consumption of food and drink for a specific duration of time.
Biologically, fasting refers to the change of metabolic status of the body after not eating overnight, or more specifically, after 12 hours without eating.
So, fasting is often linked to religious practice and medical advise, but is there any health advantage to fasting? Here we lay out the health pros of fasting for 12 intermittent hours, tune in:
- Help to lose weight
Well, perhaps this is the most predictable and obvious benefit you may know of. The reason is not just because you stop eating for a number of hours, but because when the body goes into the metabolic state or the ‘starvation’ state, it does not mean that the body itself stops finding a source of energy for your organs.
Instead, the body goes for an alternative source of energy, which are all the fats that you have been longing to get rid of. Other than that, the body is composed of 70 percent of water. And most of that water will be drained through urination and sweating (unless you do not pee all day, and no, crying does not release body water) with no water consumption to replace their loss. In return, you will also lose water weight. You may also read about Health Benefits of 7 Days Fasting
- Control diabetes
There are many health benefits of fasting 12 hours a day. For those attempting to regulate blood glucose level, 12 hours of intermittent fasting may provide a natural method to do so. In people with diabetes, their body is usually resistant to insulin, which is the hormone that is crucial for normalizing blood glucose levels and regulating the distribution of glucose. You may also read about Health Benefits of Fasting
This is due to the accumulation of glucose in tissues. When a person fasts, the storage of fat is burnt, and as a result, the excess build up is minimized. This will increase increase insulin sensitivity and eventually normalize the blood glucose level.
- Improve brain function
Previous studies on the effect of intermittent fasting on brain health demonstrated that humans and animals who fasted induced growth of new nerve cells, helped in the recovery of stroke and other brain injuries, and improve memory function.
It has also been scientifically proven to potentially prevent the risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions such Alzheimer and Parkinson’s, and stimulate cognitive function and improve quality of life of people already living with the conditions. You may also read about Health Benefits of 30 Day Juice Fast
- Enhance heart function
The first benefit that an intermittent fasting can offer is losing weight, including losing a certain percentage of fat. Reduction of fat correlates to improved heart function. This has been confirmed by studies that show lower number of deaths due to heart problems in a population where people do not smoke, drink, or eat large amount of meat.
The lower amount of fats in the body also relieves the kidney function and lower blood pressure. Moreover, intermittent fasting can also lower the cholesterol level, especially the triglycerides, as they are used by the body during fasting as alternative source of energy. You may also read about Health Benefits of 30 Day Fast
- Prevent early death
It is believed that people who adopt intermittent fasting tend to have increased longevity than people who do a three times meal a day. According to neuroscientists, intermittent fasting exposes the body to a condition of stress, which the body perceives as a constant threat.
This way, the natural cellular defenses increase in alert against damage. Furthermore, intermittent fasting triggers the body to undergo maintenance and tissue repair, to keep the organs function effectively.
- Healthy for the skin
Many of us are familiar with the notion that consumption of certain food may help rejuvenate the skin in a natural way. But apparently, abstaining from food also comes with benefits for the skin. Fasting means that we abstain from food and drinks, this includes abstaining from unprocessed foods and dairy products that contribute to development of acne. You may also read about Benefits of Korean Skin Care
Many of us are unaware that each of us have sensitivity to certain food, which may lead to inflammatory reaction to the skin and cause acne. When fasting, we lessen the amount of food that we eat and therefore reduce the amount of exposure to food that we are sensitive to. Fasting is also beneficial for the hair and nails, the practice of fasting help the hair and nails to grow well and strong. Yup, we can take many health benefits of fasting 12 hours a day.
- Combat chronic disease
The first step to developing chronic disease at cellular level is initiated by the existence of molecules called reactive oxygen species. They are bad, unstable molecules that contribute to chronic diseases, such as cancer, by causing oxidative stress and eventually damage proteins and DNA.
Intermittent fasting may help reduce the level of oxidative stress in the body and therefore prevent the development of chronic conditions.
- Promote mental and spiritual health
Almost every religion that exists in the universe adopts the practice of fasting, hence the routine practice of fasting may develop the sense of spirituality. People who fasted on daily basis claimed to perceive the feeling of peace during the practice, and studies have demonstrated that fasting may lower levels of anxiety and stress. Nowadays, many specialists recommend fasting as a natural therapy to deal with emotional problems.
Cautions Before Fasting
If you start to feel a rising urge to go for fasting, it may be difficult to establish the practice at the beginning, especially if you have work or plans that require you to be physically and mentally active.
There are some symptoms that you may experience at the start of intermittent fasting. They usually surface because the body is trying to adapt to the change of metabolic status. The symptoms you might expect to experience are heartburn, headache, low energy and brain fog. With long-term intermittent fasting, these symptoms tend to dissipate.