Fasting is nothing out of the ordinary amongst we Nigerians. Indeed, we fast for several reasons ranging from religious to cultural to even political reasons. We also engage in different forms of fasting, which include dry fasting, water fasting, fruit fasting, and even white fasting. Some fast to consecrate themselves for a particular cause. Others fast because they are instructed to. Some even consider fasting as punishment to the body. However, have you ever really considered some of the positive ways fasting can affect your health? Well, here are five of them.

1. Fasting can slow down ageing

Ageing has to with gradual changes in your body that leads to a decline in bodily activities. Recent researches have shown that one of the underlying factors of this process is the accumulation of damaged cell over time, and fats and sugars have been found to be key players in the process of cell damage. When these nutrients are too many in your body cells, they overwork them and lead to what’s called oxidative stress, which eventually destroys those cells. Fasting, however, can lower the rate of these cell destruction, and thus slow down ageing.

2. Fasting can improve your brain functions

When you fast, you deprive your body of glucose, which is the major source of energy for many organs, and your body is forced to make use of fat stores. The brain also utilizes glucose, and during fasting periods, it has to find an alternative source of energy. Ketones, which are made from fats, are therefore used as substitutes. Ketones have been proven to be better energy sources for the brain, and this is why the brain functions are improved during fasting. Asides this, some researchers have found fasting to help in inhibiting inflammation of brain cells. This improves brain functions too.

3. Fasting can help you shed unhealthy Weight

If you’ve ever thought about getting rid of some extra weight, you’ve probably thought about fasting. Fasting is indeed an effective way of shedding weight and even maintaining a healthy weight. As earlier stated, when you fast, you deprive your body of calories in form of sugars and fats which compels your body to deploy your fat stores. As a result, you have higher chances of losing unhealthy weight, as long as you don’t go back to consume twice the calories you lost while fasting. 

 

4. Fasting can make your heart healthier.

One of the major reasons behind cardiovascular diseases like myocardial infarction and even heart failures is the build-up of fats in the coronary arteries which supply the heart. When you fast, however, the amount of fat in the blood is regulated and this prevents the clogging up of the coronary arteries by fats. This way, your heart will healthier, and you will have lesser chances of developing heart diseases. 


5. Fasting can have protective Functions

Apart from protecting some specific organs, fasting protects the body as a whole. It does this by inducing a process known as autophagy, which involves the clearing up of debris from cells and the removal of toxic or any potentially harmful material from the body. Researchers also believe that autophagy prevents progression of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer disease, etc.  Consequently, the body is protected.


Now, we see that beyond the religious and cultural significance of fasting, it is beneficial to your health. So, the next time there's a Ramadan fast or your pastor declares a fast, I hope you remember that fasting is not just about punishing your body, but is also a rewarding activity.