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Benefits of Fasting


People might think that ‘fasting’ is only for people who live a life dedicated to God – priests, nuns, monks, etc.  They undertake fasting in order to do penance and focus on God; it helps them to live out their vocation to serve God.  Fasting has come under close scrutiny from the research doctors who are studying ‘brain damage and dementia’.   Their study found that fasting is good for our brain: It stops our brain from shrinkage and cures dementia.  So, next time you go to a doctor complaining about your brain health issues, he/she might very well recommend ‘fasting’. 

Fasting is not only good for our normal brain function, it also lowers the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and several other diseases.  It just about tackles every disease that originates from our vital organs.

In those days, fasting was recommended by doctors to cure certain disease.  Even though the medical science wasn’t much advanced in those days, doctors had found the health-benefits of fasting and recommended it along with their prescribed medicines.  We don’t know how the doctors in those days found out, but recent research shows that fasting stimulates metabolic and hormonal changes in our body, and this change corrects all the imbalances in our body that are responsible for illnesses.


When we fast, the free radicals in our body that causes sicknesses and expedites aging become less and less active, and over a period of time, these free radicals weaken and their activities curtailed to a great extent.  

Professor Mark Mattson from the United States National Institute on Aging says that when we drop our food intake dramatically, this stimulates a protective process in our brain, similar to the benefit we get from exercising everyday.   Fasting and cutting down on calories, especially animal calories are very, very beneficial.  The more we reduce our calories, the longer we can live.  

In an experiment conducted for a week last year to study the effect of cutting calories, Professor Mark selected a group of obese women and divided them into two groups: One group received a diet of 1,500 calories and the other were given 500 calories for two days, and was increased to 2000 calories for the remaining days of the week.  They – both the groups – were made to eat healthy foods, but with less calories.  The result, professor Mark said was astounding.  He found that both the group of women lost about the same amount of weight and their risks of developing cancer dropped dramatically.  The biomarkers that could trigger both weight gain and cancer dropped as the doctor hoped.

The professor says that fasting two days in a week and reducing calorie intake in our food will help to live a more healthy life.  Adults who maintain a healthy diets and lifestyles can live long and disease-free.  However, the professor says and his team of researchers has to undertake more experiments to study this more closely to rule out any side effects. 

If you want to fast, go ahead but consult a dietitian first.  Fasting and indiscriminately cutting down on the calories, essential vitamins, proteins and minerals on your own can lead to osteoporosis, Infertility, and loss of weight.

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