LivingDoes fasting have any health benefits?

Does fasting have any health benefits?

ayunarAccording toresearchers from the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center, in Utah, United States,fastingNot onlyreduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but also causesmajor positive changes in cholesterol levelsof a person. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, which is held in New Orleans, USA.

In 2007, a study conducted with Mormons, whose religious teachings include fasting for 24 hours on the first Sunday of each month, found that these people had a 39% lower risk of coronary artery disease, one of the leading causes of death. both men and women, who did not fast. Now, the same team of scientists who conducted that research has confirmed the benefits with two studies on the effects of fasting in more than 200 individuals, both Intermountain Center patients and healthy volunteers.

Some of the participants had to fast – drinking only water – for a period of 24 hours and then eat a normal diet for the next 24 hours. During that period, the researchers followed a registry of the volunteers that included blood tests and physical measurements to assess cardiac risk factors, metabolic risk markers and other parameters of general health.

The results showed thatDuring the fasting period, the levels of both so-called bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL) increased by 14% and 6% respectively, increasing the total cholesterol level. “Fasting causeshunger and stress. In response,the body releases more cholesterolwhich allows you to use fat as an energy source, instead of glucose, “explains Benjamin Horne, co-author of the research. In turn, thisdecreases the number of adipocytes(fat cells) in the body. “This is important because the fewer fat cells the body has,less likely to have hypercholesterolemia, insulin resistance, or diabetes“, adds the researcher.

Mormon health

According to Dr. Horne, Mormons’ tobacco prohibition is often cited as responsible for their good health. But the scientist decided to analyze whether Mormons’ 24-hour monthly fast could be contributing to those cardiovascular benefits. The 2007 study, carried out with more than 4,500 individuals -90% of whom were Mormons- in addition to the prohibition of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine, took into account the observation of a weekly rest day, attendance at ceremonies religious and donating to charitable organizations, all of which are recognized as factors that can have a cardiovascular impact. The study found that, although the majority of the participants were Mormons, thebenefits of fasting were general, even in those who practiced other religions. And new research, carried out in the general population, confirms that finding.

Dr. Horne, however, stresses that although these results are surprising, they should not be construed as a green light for people to begin fasting regularly. While this finding is confirmed, the expert affirms that the best recommendation to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases is to exercise, eat healthy, reduce alcohol consumption and avoid tobacco.

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