When you think of starving, everything that comes to mind is likely negative – extreme hunger, weakness, and eventual death. However, periodic starvation is another story entirely as extensive research has shown that temporarily restricting your caloric intake can quickly stimulate several healing responses in the human body.
National Institute on Aging Senior Scientist Dr. Mark Mattson has studied the effects of fasting and the diet in general on aging and healing for more than three decades. He told Psychology Today that periodic fasting can be very beneficial for the body. While eating supplies the body with nutrients, it also stimulates inflammation and oxidative stress that can damage your organs and accelerate aging over time. Therefore, refraining from eating or restricting certain kinds of food temporarily can reduce your risk of some chronic diseases and heal others.
Of course, prolonged starvation isn’t the answer to anything, so Dr. Mattson emphasizes that striking the right balance between eating and not eating is essential for reaping the benefits of periodic fasting. Dr. Mattson and other brain researchers say that periodic fasting can enhance the biochemical and genetic factors associated with less disease, better health, and a longer life in general. In addition, you can boost your mental function and reduce your risk of diseases of aging such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and brain decline.
A study carried out by researchers from the University of Southern California found that fasting for as few as three days has the power to regenerate a person’s entire immune system in a remarkable breakthrough that is even effective in elderly people. Immune cells wear out over time and stop performing at their optimal levels, and it was once believed that nothing could be done to make up for this beyond stem cell treatment. The researchers were surprised to find that fasting could have a similar effect.
During starvation, your body tries to save energy by recycling immune cells that are not needed, especially those that are damaged. Starving encourages stem cells to create new white blood cells to fight off infection in a process they liken to flipping a regenerative switch. Therefore, body systems that have been damaged by aging or chemotherapy, for example, can generate an entirely new immune system.
Fasting is also good for your brain
Fasting essentially forces your body to use its stores of fat, ketones, and glucose, serving as a type of detoxification. In response to the challenge of fasting, your brain will adapt stress response pathways. Your brain produces more protein, which promotes neuron growth and the strengthening of synapses. Moreover, it boosts the production of mitochondria in nerve cells, lowering your risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Therapeutic fasting is nothing new. It has been used for thousands of years. Hippocrates was an advocate of this approach and taught his followers that fasting prompts the body to heal itself. It’s also a popular method in the traditional Indian healing system known as Ayurveda.
Despite these benefits, it is important for people to use caution when fasting. There are lots of different approaches that can be used, ranging from severe calorie restriction once or twice a week to fully fasting for several hours per day regularly while confining low-calorie meals to a small window. It’s important to listen to your body if you feel weak or ill, however.
Nevertheless, the benefits that await from practicing intermittent fasting are tremendous. Of course, you won’t hear much about it in the mainstream media as the food industry doesn’t want you to eat less and pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to need less medicine.
See more news on the health benefits of fasting at Fasting.news.
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