5 ways fasting can improve your lifespan and overall wellbeing
(NaturalHealth365) These days, you can’t seem to have a conversation about longevity without talking about fasting. Fasting is now considered a promising way to help people live longer – just one of the many health benefits of fasting we’re now seeing in the research.
And boy, is there a lot of research. Scientists are exploring different types of fasting (including time-restricted eating, where you eat for 6-8 hours per day and fast for the rest) in both animal and human models – and, the results may make you want to close up the kitchen for the next half day or so.
Exciting research: How to slow down the negative effects of aging with fasting
A recent literature review published in the New England Journal of Medicine has concluded that, based on years of prior data, fasting can help you live longer! This is consistent with other data from institutions such as the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Louisiana’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, where researchers found that daily fasting improves health and longevity in animal models – independent of what or how much the animals ate!
Aside from maximizing your lifespan, a consistent fasting routine may also help you optimize your healthspan, too. Here are five other benefits of fasting based on the current research:
- It lowers blood pressure – so may reduce your risk of heart disease
- It promotes fat loss and may help treat or prevent obesity
- It enhances blood sugar control by minimizing insulin resistance – and thus may treat or prevent type 2 diabetes
- It slows tumor growth and therefore poses as a promising holistic treatment against cancer
- It may promote growth hormone production, which helps build stronger muscles and a healthy metabolism
5 tips on how to fast successfully
- Get medical supervision first: Fasting has been studied on individuals from all walks of life, and it’s shown to be safe and effective even for people with chronic health conditions like obesity and cancer. However, fasting isn’t for everyone, and there are some risks (such as dangerously low blood sugar in people with diabetes). Get your doctor’s approval prior to testing out fasting for yourself – especially if you’re about to explore a prolonged fast lasting 24 hours or more.
- Find a fasting template that works for you: Whether you choose an alternate day fast, time-restricted eating, 5/2 fasting, or some other model, it helps if you something you actually like and will fit your lifestyle. This may require some front-end research and trial and error on your part, but be willing to give fasting an honest go (fasting apps like Zero can be helpful!).
- Drink lots of pure (clean) water: This will keep you hydrated and keep those hunger pangs at bay. Most fasting practitioners also say that calorie-free beverages like black coffee, teas, and seltzer waters are A-OK on a fast, too. To keep yourself from getting cramps or headaches, add a pinch of sea salt to replenish your electrolytes.
- If you’re already a regular exerciser, feel free to be active during your fasting window. Just don’t overdo it. In fact, some research suggests that performing aerobic workouts in a fasted state may enhance endurance and muscles’ ability to use oxygen. Just use caution, stay hydrated (see the previous tip), and modify or stop what you’re doing if you start to notice any exercise intolerance symptoms like lightheadedness or heart palpitations.
- Break your fast with a normal sized meal: Try not to gorge yourself, as this could cause gastrointestinal upset. And if you want to extend the fat-burning state your body is in after a longer fast, consider eating a meal that’s rich in proteins and healthy fats, along with some low-carb foods like kale or cabbage.
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