Fasting is an ancient religious practice that may have some surprising benefits for modern health. While the scientific community is far from a consensus, there is evidence that suggests fasting stimulates a surprising array of positive influences on the body. While there are known risks involved with fasting that need to be accounted for, unexpected benefits are coming into clearer focus as well.
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Fasting influences everything from the immune system to mental health to weight loss. This may indicate that our obsession with what we eat has been misplaced. Instead, perhaps our focus should be on when we eat. Here are eight things you should know about fasting…
1. The Health Benefits of Fasting
Here is how fasting benefits your health in a nutshell. Fasting puts a mild stress on the body that stimulates a positive response, sort of like exercising a muscle. You need to put stress on it via exercise in order for it to grow stronger. Except in this case, depriving your system of calories puts stress on your entire body so there is a more broad-based effect, according to research from the University of Southern California.
With your immune system, hunger triggers a recycling process that reduces the amount of damaged or unused immune cells to save energy. This helps fight against many common autoimmune problems like arthritis, lupus, and type 1 diabetes. With detoxification, fasting helps expunge the toxins stored in your fat cells. Additionally, after a few days, fasting also leads to a higher production of endorphins in the bloodstream leading to a more positive sense of wellbeing. Finally, reducing caloric intake reduces stress on your internal organs and can help them go the extra mile later in life in effect prolonging your lifespan.