Nobel prize winner Yoshinori Ohsumi won the prize as he discovered an amazing breakthrough and changed our whole understanding of how the body cleanses and cleans itself. Autophagy is the process where cells clear away the body from damaged cells and make room for new cells, therefore regenerating at a higher rate and making sure the body stays healthy and keeps functioning properly.
The amazing discovery talked of the benefits of fasting as it triggers the autophagy process and enhances the body’s ability to clean itself and to replace damaged cells with new ones.
It seems our bodies have a naturally integrated reset button helping us fight diseases and illnesses and boosting even the production of T cells, the body’s elite warriors.
This discovery shed light on the prevention of cancer, as cancer often starts from damaged cells multiplying at a higher rate than the other cells. Therefore, fasting has become a growing trend in the last few years, and intermittent fasting has been practised by athletes and celebrities. In the text below, you can find out more details on the pros and some cons of fasting.
It helps reduce sugar and blood pressure
A lot of doctors agree upon the fact that fasting actually regulates the insulin levels within the body and reduces the amount of sugar we have in our blood.
Also, doctors agree upon the health benefits it has for the heart, and there are numerous studies showing the positive effects it has on the heart and keeping it healthy and strong.
During the process, the body is treated to get rid of all the fats, and cholesterol levels drop within the first two hours. That is when most people, due to the low fat and sugar content, feel the need to lay down and take a nap as the body is adapting to the new conditions.
The types of fasting
There are several ways to fast, and across different cultures around the globe, there have been several variations. Some cultures practise abstinence from certain foods, avoiding fat, sugar and solely living on liquid and veggies. Other cultures practise complete abstinence of any kind of food or drink from one point during the day until another, often making breaks between meals up to ten hours. There is also the controversial method of fasting, the water fast, which some people try.
This method includes fasting for three days and solely living on the water, therefore allowing the body to completely get rid of all the accumulated toxins. This has been tested several times and people did report miraculous results. Some even argued how they cured cancer by completely avoiding the consumption of food. Doctors advise against doing this without first seeking expert advice and following their instructions since it can damage the immune system in the first 24 to 48 hours, which is not recommended for people who are already sick.
Intermittent fasting has a similar concept, meaning you eat early in the morning and do not consume any food, though you can drink water, until evening.
Muslims practice fasting from sunrise until sundown, avoiding any sort of food or water. Autophagy and the process of regeneration are mostly triggered through the process of complete abstinence, therefore it is advised to avoid consuming anything for most of the day. The idea is basically giving the body time to regenerate and reorganize, rather than keeping all the organs constantly busy by processing the food and drinks we consume.
It reduces the number of gut bacteria
Another common problem because of high fat and sugar-based diets is a complete disbalance of gut bacteria. Candida and other forms of fungal and yeast infections can affect the body due to improper diet and bad lifestyle habits. Fasting actually regulates this by balancing out all the bacteria we have, reducing the numbers of the ones multiplying uncontrollably. This has been supported by several studies and the results are most outstanding and positive.
It can help weight loss
Another more than obvious pro of fasting is weight loss. Fasting has been proposed as an alternative to overweight individuals rather than taking any sort of medication and supplements. Fasting regulates the body’s fat and sugar storage and makes sure all the extra hidden and stashed away is used up as the body faces a lack of nutrients during the day.
Low energy levels and lack of concentration
Of course, without the proper intake of certain nutrients we get accustomed to overtime, our bodies will struggle in the beginning. We can expect a lack of concentration because our sugar levels are low, and we probably didn’t have that first coffee in the morning.
We can also expect low energy levels for the exact same reasons and a lack of motivation. Our senses are sharper but mostly because we are hungry and can smell food miles away. Yet, all these are no life-threshing scenarios, just normal reactions of our bodies and what they are going through.
Fasting has been found to be incredibly healthy and useful, yet it is not suggested for persons with diabetes or major cardiac problems because it can do more harm than benefit.