One of the most effective means to maintain good health naturally is by fasting. It is also one of the least discussed or understood health habits. In this article, we will discuss five amazing benefits of fasting and some of the best ways to perform a successful fast.
What is Fasting?
Simply put, fasting is not eating food for a long time. Man has been fasting for centuries for various reasons, including religious, medical, cultural, or as a form of protest.
A popular form of fasting is intermittent fasting, where food isn’t consumed for a specific period during the day or week. There are three common ways to intermittent fast:
- Time-restricted fasting. Food is consumed only within an 8-hour window.
- 5 to 2 fast: Food is normally consumed five days per week while fasting twice weekly.
- Alternate day fast: Eat a normal meal one day while fasting the next. Note: the fast day can be one small meal of less than 500 calories or no food.
Top Fasting Benefits
There have been many scientific studies performed on fasting and its benefits.
It may improve blood sugar.
Also known as blood glucose, blood sugar is the primary sugar found in the blood. It comes from consumed foods and is the body’s primary energy source. Blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin, which alerts cells throughout the body to absorb it and use it for energy.
If the body becomes insulin resistant, it has difficulty converting glucose into energy, which could raise blood sugar levels to dangerous levels. Too much blood sugar could lead to health complications impacting the liver and cardiovascular system and increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. 
Studies indicate intermittent fasting may be effective in reducing insulin resistance and decreasing fasting insulin. Note: Researchers advise diabetic patients to consult with their physician before attempting to intermittent fast.
The process of not eating or restricting calories while intermittent fasting encourages weight loss. During fasting, the body is forced to use stored fat for energy because the body’s first choice of energy (carbohydrates) has been depleted. This process, called ketosis, occurs when the body breaks down stored fat into ketones, using it as fuel.
Studies on the three types of intermittent fasting that lasted 12-24 weeks report positive changes in body fat and reduced body weight in both normal-weight and obese individuals. 
Cholesterol is produced naturally by the liver and is needed by the body to build healthy cells. However, too much of this waxy substance could increase the number of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, impeding blood flow in the arteries. A recent study from JAMA Cardiology found that over 40% of US adults are unaware they have high cholesterol and are not being treated for it.
High cholesterol levels can have a severe impact on heart health and increase the risk of various cardiovascular diseases. In addition to reducing body weight, intermittent fasting helped lower triglyceride levels, lower total cholesterol, and improve blood lipids.  In another study, alternate-day fasting could decrease blood pressure along with total cholesterol levels. 
Intermittent fasting is believed to have a positive impact on cognitive functions in the brain. These are the mental processes that enable a person to receive, store, develop and transform information. This would also include the following:
Fasting is believed to prompt a metabolic state that optimizes neuron activity in the brain that may counteract neurological disorders. While human studies are limited, studies on animals indicate fasting improves cognition, stalls age-related decline and reduces brain damage. Future studies on humans might find similar effects. 
Autophagy is widely thought of as the body’s “protective housekeeping” to eliminate damaged cells, proteins, and invading pathogens. Autophagy occurs only while fasting, and this food deprivation is believed to prevent the spread of tumors in the body by depriving them of the nutrients needed to grow and multiply.  Autophagy has also been shown to be a defensive mechanism against oxidative stress and inflammation, which may increase the risk of cellular mutations and poor heart health. 
Top Fasting Tips
The transition from eating several times per day to fasting can be a challenge for some. Here are some of the most popular ways to succeed with intermittent fasting and long-term fasting.
1. Choose the type of fast you want to try.
This allows you to get mentally prepared for what you want to do. For beginners, time-restricted feeding is considered the easiest way to fast: Simply eating dinner at 8 pm, skipping breakfast and eating a healthy lunch at noon is a 16-hour fast.
2. Drink plenty of water.
There is an interesting relationship between hunger and thirst. Studies indicate thirst can be confused with hunger, and people may eat when they are actually thirsty.  Drinking plenty of water can help a person feel full, which could decrease the intense desire to eat. In addition, drinking plenty of water can help flush toxins out of the body via the kidneys.
Note: avoid consuming beverages with artificial ingredients while fasting. Water is the best option, but tea and coffee (minus the sweeteners and honey) are suitable for fasts.
3. Get adequate rest.
Getting enough sleep is a key component to a successful fast: studies on sleep duration note sleep deprivation had a significant effect on the production of the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Less sleep increases the production of ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite and reduces leptin production, which helps curb the appetite. 
Note: When on longer fasts that last several days or more, limit the performance of strenuous activities. When a person doesn’t eat over an extended period, much of the body’s energy will shift from digesting food to healing the body from within via detoxification and autophagy. However, for intermittent fasts, high-intensity exercise of 30 minutes or less may help increase fat-burning and weight loss.
4. Eat a full, healthy meal when breaking the fast.
When breaking the fast, eating a full, healthy meal that is gentle on the digestive system is key. Eating a small meal could cause the body to believe it is in “starvation mode.” As a result, the metabolism could slow down, prompting the body to cling to all the calories it receives. This might lead to weight gain over time. By eating until full, the body will realize it doesn’t have to hold on to every calorie received, allowing it to shed weight. Eating slowly will allow you to get fuller faster and help the digestive system get reaccustomed to eating again.
When breaking a fast, the body needs nutrients, which is key to completing a successful fast. Here are some of the best and worst to consume when ending a fast:
Best Foods to Eat After a Fast
Worst Foods to Eat After a Fast
Green, leafy veggies
High fat foods
Apple cider vinegar
Energy drinks, sodas, artificially sweetened drinks
Supplements can also be used in fasts as well. The following supplements are often used during longer fasts:
The Fasting Trio can be used as support during fasting:
Fastonic consists of fizzing tablets that add hydrogen molecules to your water, helping to neutralize free radicals that are released during a fast. It also helps to reduce oxidative stress.
TrueCarbonCleanse™ supports the body’s natural ability to remove various toxins typically found in heavy metals, chemicals, air, water, and plastics. Toxins that are released in the colon are prevented from being reabsorbed back into the body via a process called retoxification.
TrueCarbonCleanse™ contains the following all-natural products that attach to toxins and remove them from the body:
- Cleanoptilite™️ (Clinoptilolite - Zeolite Crystals)
- Humates (humic and fulvic acids)
- Highly activated charcoal
Cytodetox can be used before, during, or after a fast to help the body eliminate toxins that have accumulated in the body over time. This all-natural product is touted as a safe and effective way to detoxify the body at a cellular level while reducing any uncomfortable symptoms some may experience while fasting.
During longer fasts of several days or more, the body may start to lose electrolytes. E-lyte helps to replenish electrolyte levels in the body for optimal hydration.
This all-natural product contains the following:
- Sodium, which helps contract the muscles.
- Potassium, which helps relax the muscles.
- Magnesium, which plays a role in over 300 enzymatic processes.
E-lyte contains no sugar or artificial ingredients, making it safe to consume while fasting.
Fasting has been used for centuries to heal the body mentally, physically, and spiritually. While fasting may be a challenge initially, it could be a great way to improve health. Before attempting a fast, contact your physician if you are taking any medication or have specific health issues.
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