Sunday, August 7, 2011
The Health Benefits of Fasting
Fasting technically commences within the first twelve to twenty-four hours of the fast. A fast does not chemically begin until the carbohydrate stores in the body begin to be used as an energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are used for energy, as opposed to protein stores. Once protein stores begin to be depleted for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass) a person is technically starving.
Short fasts actually improve insulin sensitivity and this is pretty big deal. When your cells are sensitive to the effects of insulin, they do a much better job modulating your blood sugar levels after meals and this makes life a lot easier for your poor old pancreas. Loss of insulin sensitivity is a risk factor for both heart disease and diabetes.
Short fasts also reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in cells. Many theorize that this helps prevent and repair DNA damage that could otherwise develop into cancer. There’s even some research suggesting that fasting slows the little clocks that tick inside our mitochondria and trigger senescence, or aging. In other words, fasting might help us live longer by keeping our organs youthful.
When properly utilized, fasting is a safe and effective means of maximizing the body’s self-healing capacities. The results can be truly amazing.