Benefits of Fasting – By Health Ambition

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.

Fight cancer by fasting

With cancer poised to become the number one killer in North America and traditional therapies not cutting the mustard for long-term success, it may be time to rethink the war on cancer. We have been focused on killing it conventionally at all costs, even when the collateral damage is significant and often accelerates the demise of a weakened immune system.

So instead of an all out attack on a weakened immune system, how about choosing a method that allows the immune system to regenerate and heal itself with its infinite wisdom?

Feasting vs fasting

The irony of the state of nutrition in North America is that most people are overfed and undernourished. We tend to overeat and this constant feasting puts a continual strain on our digestive system and organs that are responsible for breaking down this often questionable food. This puts undue stress on our immune system, of which 80% lies in the gut.

With this constant feasting our digestive and immune systems are chewing up a large part of our available energy to undertake this arduous task. This means less energy is available to the body to detoxify and to repair cells, tissues, and organs.

So what happens when we fast?

When the body is not directing its energy towards digestion, it uses that extra power to clean our internal abode. When fasting (whether it is just water or liquids), the body starts to use stored fat as a source of energy. In the beginning, it will rid itself of diseased tissues, excess nutrients, and accumulated wastes and toxins. This process creates an environment for the body to begin healing by repairing and regenerating different areas of the body, including the digestive and immune system.

Fasting and its effects on cancer

A study by researchers at the University of Southern California showed that extended fasting not only protects against immune system damage, but also induces immune system regeneration.

In a clinical trial involving patients who were receiving chemotherapy, scientists found that when patients didn’t eat for an extended period of time, their white blood cell count went down. This induces changes that trigger stem cell based regeneration of new immune system cells, so cycles of fasting basically help generate a new immune system.

Another study conducted on the effects of fasting on cancer patients has shown that those who included fasting in their therapy had fewer side effects from chemotherapy and it slowed down the growth of tumors and even eliminated the threat of cancer in some patients. According to Research Professor Valter Longo, University of Southern California:

“What we are seeing is that the cancer cell tries to compensate the lack of all these things missing in the blood after fasting. It may be trying to replace them, but it can’t. The cell is, in fact, committing cellular suicide”.

The researchers also stated that fasting essentially “…flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create new white blood cells and begin regenerating the entire immune system. Not only that, but they found that prolonged fasting also reduces the enzyme PKA, which is linked to a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumor growth.

In response to criticism that fasting could cause issues in cancer patients, Dr. Longo stated “…there is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial. Thus far the great majority have reported doing very well and only a few have reported some side effects including fainting and a temporary increase in liver markers.”

It’s important to note there are several types of fasting, including no food or drink, just water, and just liquids. There are also different types of fasting that can be as little as 16 hours and as much as 30 or more days.

One of the more popular and safer fasting rituals is green juicing, which is a great way to give your digestive system a rest while it nourishes and detoxifies your system with beneficial, regenerating nutrients. Doing this type of therapy over a period of 3 days at least once a month can accelerate the repair of a damaged immune system, and help the body heal from cancer and its conventional treatments like chemotherapy.

If you are new to these types of fasting, consult a knowledgeable holistic health coach or naturopath on how to approach it so it works best for you. In addition to that, understand the complete picture of what causes cancer and how to nourish and detoxify your body to eliminate it by reading Naturally Avoid and Eliminate Cancer. For when you aren’t fasting, check out these Foods that Kill Cancer.

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About the author:
Derek Henry, B.Kin, is a highly revered holistic health coach and world renowned natural health blogger and educator who created Healing the Body to help people understand the fundamental principles to exceptional health so they can overcome their own health challenges.

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