The Risks and Benefits of Fasting

The Risks and Benefits of Fasting

Fasting is a concept that is rarely unfamiliar to most people. Different faiths have people fast at particular times while other people choose to fast as a sign of devotion or to work on personal discipline. What you might not know is that there are actual potential health benefits to fasting. Most people miss out on this potential, but it is there. The catch is that fasting is a fairly finicky way to work on your health. It requires careful attention to how often you fast and a clear understanding of what your body is trying to tell you. Knowing the right signs can lead you to better health and skin than you had before though. You might have heard these ideas before, but been wary of trying out these ideas. We’ve put together this quick guide to the risks and benefits of fasting so you can make an informed decision the next time you opt to change your lifestyle for your health.

Things To Be Aware Of
You’re probably going to be miserable when you first start. There honestly is no way of getting around this. Most people are used to the diet they maintain and beginning to fast disrupts your body’s expectations. It isn’t any happier than you are about not getting to eat the things you enjoy, but your body can’t see past this immediate problem. So expect to deal with issues such as headaches and generalized weakness. Another thing you need to remember is that people enjoy addictive substances regularly too. Do you like coffee? A fast is going to mean giving up on that coffee most of the time. The same is true of sodas and other sources of caffeine. Fasting will take willpower to ignore this and it can help you say no to a habit eventually, but breaking the habit will likely put you through withdrawal symptoms. Just go slowly and listen to your body.

What You Get
Strangely enough, your body starts focusing on something other than food once it realizes that food is going to be in short supply. It turns inward and focuses on maintaining the body in the ways that it can without food. Your metabolism will slow, but your body will start pulling from fat deposits for energy. It has been shown to actually allow your body to reduce the risk of age-associated illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes to a degree. This inward focus can actually benefit some skin conditions as well. Conditions like psoriasis or eczema, in particular, seem to respond to routine fasting. It helps the body to repair the damage and reduce the irritation. You should be aware that it only helps to make these conditions clear up faster. Fasting is not a cure like some people suggest. Fasting will also not remove nebulous “toxins” from your body. It is a decent way to try to learn to “reset” your dietary habits and help you learn to eat healthier. This will have a long-term positive benefit in and of itself, but the fasting itself isn’t a panacea.

The Downsides
Fasting is hard. Like we cautioned at the start, fasting takes discipline just to get past the initial discomforts. It remains difficult as your body wants to maintain its habits. Even once you start getting into the habit, you run the risk of taking it too far. Not finding the right point to break the fast can lead to you developing an unhealthy eating pattern and other issues. Too little food chronically can result in lethargy and affect your mood over time to the point it is difficult to properly take care of yourself. It can also lead to a dulling of the skin or making already existing skin conditions worse if you don’t eat in a healthy way after the fast. Your body will be craving nutrients and failure to treat it right will necessarily show on your body eventually.

Fasting is sometimes proclaimed to be a cure all by proponents of alternative medicine. It isn’t anywhere close to that though. Fasting can be a part of a healthy lifestyle with effective consultation with your doctors. It offers a way to help your body heal from particular things a little easier when you do it correctly, but it is very easy to do it improperly without guidance and end up hurting yourself. You can certainly consider fasting an option for helping your body to become healthier, but you should always remember to do so responsibly for your own sake.

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