A fasting diet reduces risk of chronic diseases

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A randomized phase II clinical trial published in the journal Science Translational Medicine February 15, 2017 has highlighted the safety, feasibility and benefits of a ‘fasting’ diet on health by reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other age-related diseases.

The study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in the US evaluated the effects of a ‘fasting-mimicking’ diet (FMD) – low in calories, sugars and protein but high in unsaturated fats – on markers/risk factors associated with aging and age-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease in 100 generally healthy participants. The study group consumed a FMD for 5 consecutive days every month for 3 months. The control subjects were then crossed over to the FMD Group for 3 months. Body weight, BMI, total body fat, trunk fat, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin‐like growth factor 1 (IGF‐1), and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) were significantly reduced, particularly in individuals at risk for diseases, while relative lean body mass (muscle and bone mass) was increased.

Fasting is not just abstaining from intake of food and water. Fasting also means avoiding negative thoughts. A ‘fast’ or ‘vrata’ purifies the mind, body and soul. It facilitates restraining of the senses and advocates a satvik lifestyle i.e. living a life full of satwa with devotion and discipline and avoiding rajsik and tamsik lifestyle.

Our ancestors made it a compulsory practice to observe fasts, which primarily meant abstaining from eating carbohydrates once a week, and during season’s change i.e. during the time of Navratras thereby preventing lifestyle diseases. Fasting helps deplete the stores of sugar in your liver.

Fasting once a day in a week gives the body a much-needed rest and time to catch up on the process of repair and/or cleaning. There is nothing better than fasting once a week to keep your heart healthy…