As interest continues to grow in an old tradition found in many religions, fasting has been found to have many health benefits. Many of these benefits are science backed.
We wanted to share with you a simple and direct look at some of the benefits of fasting.
By, Helen Sanders of Heath Ambition
The Benefits of Fasting: Is Cutting Out Food Completely Really a Healthy Option?
Fasting is usually considered a religious practice, but did you know that you can actually do your body a lot of good by cutting out food for a day or two? You’d be amazed by all the benefits of fasting, and it is an underused method of weight loss, body cleansing, and detoxing that you should consider trying at least once a month. After a good fast, you’ll be amazed by how much better you’ll feel!
Keep in mind that fasting doesn’t mean starving yourself, but it does mean taking a day or two to cut out all food from your diet. You don’t want to go too long without food, but you can fast safely for up to 48 hours. Your body won’t go into starvation mode during that time, and you can obtain all the fasting benefits just by eliminating food for a short amount of time.
Physical Benefits of Fasting
There are many physical benefits of fasting:
Detoxification — Most of the toxins in your body come from the food you eat, so cutting out food can help to reduce toxin levels in your body. You will be fasting on a liquid diet of water and juice, so your body will flush itself out. One of the benefits of fasting for 48 hours is you’ll find that your body is so much cleaner and free of toxins.
Immunity Boost — Your body has to treat certain foods as invading pathogens, and your immune system is constantly under attack by the germs and bacteria in the food you eat. If you cut food for a day or two, it will give your immune system time to build itself up. You can give your immune system a break, and your immunity will be greatly boosted thanks to the occasional fast.
Digestive Rest — Your digestive system has to work very hard to process all of the food you eat, and you may find that it will start slowing down if you put too much food into your body. By taking a day or two to fast, you’ll give your digestive system a rest. When you start eating again, it will be able to pick up and start working full speed once again.
Weight Loss — Your body has to burn energy to survive, and it turns to fat if there isn’t enough blood sugar to burn. Seeing as you will be consuming very few calories while fasting, your body will have to burn fat. If you need 2000 calories per day to function properly, fasting for 2 days will require your body to burn 4000 calories to keep working. It will also spark the fat burning, and when you come off the fast your body will be more easily able to burn fat rather than just glucose.
Hypertension Reduction — When you have a lot of cholesterol and fat in your body, your arteries are no doubt clogged. This can increase your risk of heart disease, but it will definitely raise your blood pressure. Your body will have to burn the fat to function during your fast, so it will help to clear out your arteries. The production of blood pressure-raising hormones is also reduced during the fast, so you won’t have to worry about your blood pressure getting out of control.
Diet Reboot — Most people eat a lot of foods that they shouldn’t, foods like pizza, artificial snacks, candies, baked goods, and soda. All of these things will do your body harm, but you just can’t help but eat them because your body craves them. With a good fast, you’ll hit the reboot button on your diet. When you finish the fast, you can form good eating habits — habits that don’t include such unhealthy foods.
Addiction Breaking — Many people have used fasting along with a healthy regimen to quit drinking, smoking, or overeating, and it has been proven to be a very effective solution. It is similar to hitting the reset button on your cravings, and it will help you to break addictions that you have.
Mental Benefits of Fasting
Many people that fast regularly will tell you that they feel a lot better after a good fast, and their minds are clearer, their thoughts more cohesive, and their emotions are more stable. You may find that cleansing your body via fasting will help to cleanse your mind as well, and you can be a lot clearer in mind thanks to a good fast every once in a while.
You need to remember that fasting can cause problems if you fast for too long. Keep the fast shorter than 48 hours, as your body will start to shut down if you fast for longer. Drink a lot of liquid, and avoid eating too much immediately after your fast. Give your body time to readjust to solid foods, as it’s been getting nothing but liquid for the last two days.
Fasting can cause side effects, such as headaches, diarrhea, dehydration, and heartburn. Those who have existing heart conditions should avoid fasting, and the same goes for pregnant women, mothers that are nursing, those kidney or liver problems, or those who are suffering from malnourishment.