A recent study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that fasting can lower a person’s risk for coronary heart disease as well as diabetes and have a positive impact on blood cholesterol levels. In this study a group of 200 volunteers participated at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in the trial. The trial involved testing performed on the subjects while fasting and while consuming a normal daily diet.

This latest study confirms findings from an earlier one that found fasting to reduce your risk for coronary heart disease. This follow up and expanded study shows fasting is helpful with other factors that contribute to heart disease such as reducing the following:

Fasting Helps to Reduce Coronary Heart Disease Factors

  • Triglycerides
  • Weight
  • Blood sugar levels

And although opinions vary on the health benefits of the fast, the evidence continues to mount in favor of fasting for health benefits. The idea of fasting is nothing new and in fact, dates back centuries. Practiced by many religious faithful, fasting has shown to improve health for years.

Fasting for weight loss

This may seem obvious, but fasting allows your body to burn fat and lose weight due to two main factors.

According to the Intermountain Health Care study, during a fast, your body will begin to respond to the stress of reduced or drastically changed eating by releasing more cholesterol, which your body makes use of to burn fat.

It has also been found that HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels are elevated during and after a fasting period. This increased HGH level will protect your lean muscle while helping you to lose unwanted fat.

3 Types of Fasting

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways you can fast, but it covers the range of methods most used by people looking to get healthy,

  1. The full fast is as the name says, a full fast in which only liquids are consumed, sometimes only water, for the fasters specified amount of time.
  2. A partial fast, is again as the name suggests and can be executed in various ways. With the partial fast you can eat at specified times of the day only, or one time a day, or any variation.
  3. A Daniel Fast or juice fast is when you eat only fruits and vegetables and drinking water or fruit juices for the specified fast period. This fast promises some of the best and long lasting results for your health. Many people have lost enormous amounts of weight and turned around their failing health by doing an extended Daniel Fast or juice fast.

How to Fast

As with any lifestyle change, having a plan is key to success in fasting. The more details you can have taken care of before starting, the better chance you have of having a positive fasting experience.

Goal Setting – What do you want to accomplish by fasting? Lose weight, be healthier, feel better, have more energy? Write it down and put it in a place you’ll see frequently during your fast.

Fast Duration – Are you going to fast for a day, week, month, more? Depending on the type of fast you are doing and your goals, set a period of time that will challenge you yet not be overwhelming.

What are you going to eat/drink during the fast? – Other than a full fast, knowing exactly what you’re going to eat and when is very important. Try to purchase as much of the food before starting as possible to avoid the temptation to stop simply due to running out.

High Quality Foods- Stick to eating the healthiest, all natural, organic foods you can find. That means real foods such as fresh, raw and organic fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds are good to eat during this cleansing time.

Water – It is vital to drink pure water during your fast to assist your body with the detox and cleansing process that will naturally occur when you fast.

Example foods to eat during a fast

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Carrots
  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Oranges
  • Lemons

 

Sources: latimes.com, eurekalert.org, intermountainhealthcare.org