Fasting is a very old phenomenon. It is presented since time when we were hunters. Our bodies are designed in such a way that we can have regular fasting and it cleanses our bodies by enhancing some bodily functions. It also benefits our mental health in many ways.
Fasting is when you have a set period of time in which you will not have food. Some people fast for 24 hours without water while some may set some period of time for food intake while other may keep it on just water etc. In every religion there are different ways to keep a fast. Now a day’s intermittent fasting is also a term frequently used by the people and the experts. The diet in a fast is almost calorie restricted so that it boosts the body mechanisms and cleanses the body of the toxic waste it contains.
Adaptation is a part of fasting and happens within 12-16 hours of keeping the fast. Till that time our body uses the glycogen which is already stored in the liver for energy. And after that it uses the fat which is stored in the body for energy production. When we are on fasting the cleansing process within the cell also increases. This process is called autophagy. In this process the damaged parts of cell are removed.
Fasting and brain
Fasting has proven to increase the production of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). This factor is associated with memory. It also increases the generation of new nerve cells. Studies which are done on mice have proven that when they were put on intermittent there were improvement in their learning, memory and cognitive functioning.
Studies have also proven that when we do intermittent fasting it will help the brain against age related changes and there is a protection against diseases like Alzheimer’s. Fasting will reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in people.
Fasting also affects mood and anxiety. As we all know that almost everyone these days is affected by mental health disorders. There is a development of anxiety and disorder in both the genders. Intermittent fasting has an effect on mice and has shown to be an antidepressant. Not only this study has shown that nurses who were in depression before fasting and after fasting they were a significant reduction in depression.
Fasting and psychological well being
Fasting has significant effect on cognition and memory. People who keep fasts have control on their food habits. They develop patience for their control over food. This is a part to develop a good psychological well being. It makes a person humble, self sacrificing and attain a good level of maturity. Fasting trains you so that you become more self controlled and self regulatory. It makes us realize our strengths and weaknesses also.
Fasting and spirituality
Fasting not only improves your psychological well being and memory but also gives you purity for your thoughts and improves your character. You want to release from this materialistic world and you want to join yourself with the sacred, god and become spiritual. It tends to give to the clarity of thoughts. It brings you to self actualization. It makes you release your ego also.