A Fine Fast

Ever dream of being able to eat whatever you crave while dieting? Well, your dream may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. The approach for losing weight that we’ll highlight here doesn’t just help reduce your waistline and stabilise your blood sugar levels; it can also reduce inflammation and keep your heart healthy.

But first, since it’s the holy month of Ramadan – a period of blessings, sacrifice, self-discipline, and self-control – let’s talk about the benefits of the fasting that is observed during this month.

Ramadan Fasting  Muslims around the world observe Ramadan by fasting for a month every year. During this holy month, they fast from dawn to dusk.Their day begins with a meal before sunrise, followed by abstinence of any food or drink until after sunset. Here’s why you should consider following this type of fasting, irrespective of your religion.

Fasting gives the digestive system a rest, which is good for your gut.

Blood sugar and cholesterol levels drop.

Your body gets in shape!

The mental benefits of this type of fasting are significant as well. You will:

Gain self-discipline and self-control.

Begin to evaluate even small things differently.

Learn to forgive others’ and your own mistakes.

Share your happiness more freely.
Apart from this, Ramadan teaches you to avoid anger, and this month presents a good opportunity to give up unpleasant practices and start making healthier, more appropriate choices. While fasting, you tend to refrain from distasteful language and thoughts. You’ll be amazed at how different you will feel and think after such a harmonious experience.

Intermittent Fasting Also known as cyclic fasting, intermittent fasting (IMF) is a good way to improve your health and simultaneously achieve your weight loss goals. This type of fasting is simple: fast for a portion of the day (or multiple days), limiting the consumption of food to a few hours. There are actually several types of fasting to choose from, including: alternate-day fasting, warrior diet, 16/8 fasting (time-restricted feeding), eat-stop-eat, and the 5:2 diet.

Intermittent fasting is hardly a new concept, as this type of fasting was followed in the olden days when food was scarce. The two major benefits of intermittent fasting are lowered levels of oxidative stress to the cells in the body, and improved ability to deal with stress.

There are a multitude of benefits of intermittent fasting for your health and overall wellness:

Promotes weight loss. You don’t need to meticulously measure your food and track your calorie intake. Intermittent fasting revs up fat burning and helps slide off the unnecessary pounds. Here’s how. When your body doesn’t get glucose, it begins to break down the glycogen to use as a fuel. After the depletion of glycogen, your body seeks alternative sources of energy, such as fat cells. It is then broken down to help generate power in your body.

Improves blood sugar. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in your bloodstream after you consume food. As insulin is responsible for carrying this glucose out of the bloodstream into the cells that are used to produce energy, your blood sugar levels are well-regulated, thereby preventing spikes and crashes.

Keeps your heart healthy. Improve the condition of your heart by lowering the risk of certain heart diseases. Since fasting influences several components of the heart, the good HDL cholesterol is increased and both bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are decreased. 

Reduces inflammation. Inflammation is an ordinary immune response to injury. Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic diseases, and some research has even linked inflammation to conditions, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Protects your brain. Fasting enhances the cognitive function of the brain. It also protects against changes in memory and learning function, and slows the progression of neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s, due to the anti-inflammatory effects of this type of fasting. 

Decreases hunger. The leptin hormone in the body helps signal when it is time to stop eating. Its levels are lower when you’re hungry and higher when you’re full. Since it’s produced in the fat cells, the amount of leptin circulating in the body is high in those who are overweight or obese. Moreover, a higher amount of leptin causes leptin resistance, which makes it harder for it to effectively switch off hunger. Conversely, lower levels of leptin translates to less leptin resistance and less hunger, potentially leading to weight loss.

So why not check out the different types of fasting and find out which one best suits your lifestyle and goals? You may just start shedding those extra inches!      --- Sumana