There’s a certain overindulgent joy in being able to eat what we want, when we want. So unsurprisingly, any kind of dietary restriction isn’t exactly at the top of our list. But it seems that fasting actually comes with its own set of incredible health benefits that range from improving our overall mental wellbeing to reducing innumerable physical health risks.
As Ramadan is right around the corner we did a little investigating and found five ways that fasting is actually good for you.
Improves brain function
Though most of us associate a lack of food with a lack of energy and thus no brain power—a study conducted in 2013 actually proved that the reality is quite the opposite. The study found that fasting actually leads to better learning, memory, and overall cognitive power.
It reduces inflammation
A study conducted in 2011 confirmed that fasting, in comparison to having a high fat diet, significantly reduces inflammation. Not all inflammation is bad though, since it’s just essentially the body’s response to harm, but for those suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases or those looking to prevent them, fasting is by far the way to go.
Slows brain aging
Aside from preventing physical diseases, fasting has also been proven to help prevent age-related mental diseases like Alzheimer’s. Fasting increases brain-derived neurotropic factor levels—which is essentially the level your brain develops new neurons—the higher your levels are, the lesser chance you have of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Detoxes and cleanses the body
Even when we don’t eat the body still needs a source of energy. So when food isn’t available the body turns to its reserves of fats in to energy. A study conducted by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment found that once these fat reserves have been flushed out, so will the harmful substances stored within it—making it a great way to cleanse the body of all kinds of toxins.
Normalizes blood pressure
Multiple studies have proven that fasting has positive effects on blood pressure.