Ritual fasting has been part of religious traditions for thousands of years. But a recent growing body of research shows that abstaining from food intermittently may have physical as well as spiritual benefits.
But is fasting a good idea for your health?
Every day, organs such as the liver, kidney, and spleen work to remove and neutralize toxins from the body to keep our cells healthy.
â€œWhen you fast, you eliminate input of additional toxins from food,â€ says Dr. Katz, â€œand there is a potential biological benefit to that.â€
Hereâ€™s how your body reacts when you stop feeding it:
However, ketosis also makes your blood will also become more acidic, and can cause bad breath, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms; long-term, it can lead to kidney and liver damage.
â€¢ Fasting may help your heart - Fasting for a day once a month may prevent heart disease and insulin resistance.
During fasting, your fat cells are being metabolized and used as fuel, . â€œIf fat is being used for fuel, in the long run you have fewer fat cells in your body.â€ This may mean less insulin resistance and a lower risk of heart disease later in life.
â€¢ Thereâ€™s a chance fasting can cut cancer risk.
â€¢ Fasting wonâ€™t help you lose â€” and keep off â€” weight.
Fasting for weight loss is just another form of yo-yo dieting.
The pounds that come off on a short-term fast are mainly water and stored carbohydrates
â€¢ Fasting canâ€™t take the place of a healthy diet.
Eating well every day plays a major role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Focusing on consistently eating enough nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains snowballs into proven powerful benefits over time.
â€¢ Talk to your doctor before you start a fasting regimen
While fasting may have the potential to play a role in wellness, itâ€™s definitely not for everyone
Even if your doctor gives the go-ahead, donâ€™t jump head first into fasting â€” itâ€™s crucial that you understand how to do so safely, and in the context of a healthy lifestyle.