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Tea well-known spiritual benefits of fasting, which involve exchanging what we need to survive for what we need to live for God, include the following identified by religious experts:

Soul Cleansing: Fasting is a great time to remember the spiritual connection we have to our physical bodies. Without the toxins we put in our bodies, we not only give our bodies a break from the digestive process, but we also allow our spirits to be detoxed. Fasting is a faith-move, an expectation we have that God will fill us with His Holy Spirit, just as He promised. Fasting and meditation cleanse the soul and makes it new so we can receive the Holy Spirit and become empowered to live for Christ in a new way.

A new desire for God: When we acknowledge through fasting that we need God to live, and to live more abundantly, we can begin to desire God in a new way. When we realize we need God more than we need food, we get closer to Him, knowing He is the sustainer of all life.

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A deeper praise: We appreciate Him more are able to praise Him as desired. Once we get caught up in our desire for God and our praise for His mighty acts, we won’t have time to be hungry or count down the hours until our fast is over. We’ll be celebrating the whole time!

Hearing from God: With body and soul cleansed to activate the spirit or give it more room, we increase our perception of spiritual things. When we detox the spirit and become consumed with desire and praise for God, we become sensitive to His voice.

A new satisfaction: When you finish your fast, renewed, full of energy, detoxed, with a new desire, a new praise and sensitivity to God’s voice, you’ll find that the absence of food was small in comparison to what you gained. Physical food never fully satisfied; in a few hours, you’ll need to eat again. But when you are fed from doing the work of the Lord, you will find a new satisfaction like you’ve never experienced.

Health benefits of fasting

The health benefits of fasting have become an interesting field of study. It is even being promoted as a means of preventing your risk of chronic disease, as well as helping long life.

Intermittent fasting has been found to give the body more time to effectively digest what you are eating and eliminate waste. Many biological repair processes take place when your body is in the “rest,” not the “digest,” mode, which is why all-day grazing is a bad for you.

A new study

A recent study, published in Nature Communications, demonstrates calorie-restricted diets play a role in aging and health for rhesus monkeys.

Because many anatomical and physiological aspects of rhesus monkeys parallel human beings, it is thought the study’s outcomes may be helpful in understanding the role of calorie restriction on humans.

As would be the case when evaluating the effectiveness of human diet programs, the study noted that a monkey’s age and gender, as well as the type of diet eaten, influenced the research outcomes. There was no one-size-fits-all approach.

The current research re-evaluated data gathered in two previous studies: one conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UMW) in 2009 and the other by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in 2012. The combined research analyzed nearly 200 monkeys, but produced conflicting results.

In the new study, the groups examined the previous body of work with an eye to uncover reasons for the differing outcomes of the reported results. They ultimately agreed that variables such as the age of the monkeys and their food intake were important factors that drove the results.

Scientists offer the following explanations for the differences reported in the earlier studies:

Age: The animals in the two studies had their diets restricted at different ages, and comparative analysis suggests adult primates benefit more from calorie restriction than younger animals do

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Food intake: The monkeys in the controls groups for each study ate different amounts of food, which seems to have contributed to improved survival for the monkeys that ate less

Type of diet: Monkeys in the NIA study were fed naturally sourced foods, while UWM monkeys ate processed foods with higher sugar content, which demonstrated that eating habits affect fat mass and body composition

Sex: Key differences were identified between male and female monkeys related to the relationship between diet, obesity and insulin sensitivity, with females seeming less vulnerable to the adverse effects of obesity than males

The findings suggest that calorie restriction does benefit rhesus monkeys, and following a calorie-restricted diet resulted in fewer health problems.

For example, the monkeys in the UWM study lived significantly longer than the control monkeys: two years longer for calorie-restricted males and nearly six years longer for calorie-restricted females. Notably, these monkeys also evidenced lower rates of cancer and heart disease.

In terms of aging, four of the NIA monkeys that began dieting as adults broke longevity records by living beyond age 40. The typical lifespan for rhesus monkeys is around 30 years.

While it is too early to tell if calorie restriction works the same way in humans, it does seem there are positive effects to be had from limiting your food intake, given the research validation that aging can be targeted by fasting.

“The main take-home is what you eat, and how much you eat, absolutely influences how you age,” said Rozalyn Anderson, UWM associate professor of geriatrics and one of the study authors.

Health Benefits of Fasting

Intermittent fasting provides a number of health benefits listed here experts:

•Gets rid of stubborn weight and sugar cravings by activating your fat-burning mode

•Builds muscle and promotes overall health and wellness

•Enhances brain health and helps prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s

•Reduces oxidative stress and fights aging, diseases like cancer and stress

•Delivers an array of physiologic benefits, including reducing inflammation and lessening free-radical damage

•While the positive effects of intermittent fasting apply to everyone, athletes may benefit even more from limiting their eating to a defined window of time.

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