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5 Benefits of Fasting: One Day Fasts and Week Fasts

Updated on February 15, 2012

In North America there is a growing interest in water fasting as a means of improving health. A water fast does for the body internally, what a shower does for the body externally. In fact, it does even more. It not only cleanses and detoxifies, it strengthens the immune system, which enhances the bodies ability to heal itself. This is why animals instinctively stop eating when they are wounded.

Fasting allows the body to enter into a resting state. Since it has temporarily ceased from the tasks of food digestion and absorption, it is able to direct this energy toward boosting the immune system. Those that have not practiced fasting in the past, will experience unpleasant side effects initially, as the body removes built up toxins stored in fat cells. However, the benefits of fasting far out weight these temporary side effects.

Here are the 5 benefits to fasting:

Blood cleansing for a clear mind - the brain is fueled by the blood. During a fast, the liver is much more efficient at cleaning the blood of toxins and other unwanted invaders. When the brain receives pure, clean blood, thoughts are clear and concentration is greatly improved. In addition to a clear mind, a detoxified body results in reduction of aches and pains, increased energy, stabilized blood sugar, clear skin, a clean cardiovascular system and healthy teeth and gums.

A healthier liver - A water fast allows the liver to rest which prevents toxicity due to overwork. The typical North American diet, use of home care and personal care products and exposure to toxins from the environment causes the liver to become congested and sluggish. Eventually liver toxicity develops and the liver is no longer able to break down harmful drug-like compounds and other contaminants, which leads to serious health conditions.

Slowing the aging process - For centuries, fasting has been popular in Europe as a way to renew and refresh the body. Recent studies reveal that short fasts may be the most effective physical means of extending human life. Premature aging is associated with high glucose and insulin in the blood, which increases oxidative stress on the body. Fasting has been found to reduce this stress.

A Powerful Immune System - water fasting not only rests the liver, it rests the intestines too. Both are key organs for a healthy immune system. Sixty percent of the immune system lies in the intestine where healthy bacteria resides. One studies showed that a thirty six hour fast significantly increases white blood cell count, increasing the bodies ability to destroy harmful intestinal bacteria.

Abnormal bacteria has been observed in a high percentage of patients with auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Chohn’s disease. Short fasts, combined with a plant based diet and the removal of allergy forming foods has been effective at reversing auto-immune diseases. Research also shows that fasting is effective at alleviating, chemical poisoning, atherosclerosis, diabetes, leaky gut and pancreatitis.

Weight Loss - When the body does not receive it’s minimum daily need for energy from food, it begins to burn stored fat cells. There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat. Most individuals who fast will lose a pound of fat per day while fasting.

What to expect during a water fast.

A healthy fast can last from one to ten days. Short regular fast are more beneficial to your health than long occasional fasts. Short fasts from one to three days will have unpleasant side effects for those who are new to fasting. Headaches and tiredness are common symptoms experienced as the body starts the detoxifying process. It is important to drink eight, 8 ounce glasses of pure water daily in order to flush the toxins from the body. Without proper hydration the body will not be able to effectively burn excess fat during a fast.

It is important to avoid strenuous exercise during a fast. Most people can safely fast with out any complications. People with diabetes, cancer and other serious health conditions should consult with their physician before beginning a fast.

When breaking a fast it is important to exercise self-control. Avoid eating a large plate of heavy food after an extended fast. The fast should be broken gently with fruit, vegetables and soups.

To experience the full benefits of water fasting, avoid processed refined and junk foods between fasts and consume a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very useful information

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Jen,

      I have corrected that mistype.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You said:

      "It is important to drink 8 ounces of pure water daily in order to flush the toxins from the body."

      Only eight ounces of water per day?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've been doing 3 to 5 day fasts on and off for years now. When I first started, the first day I had all the hunger pains (my body saying oi, where's my food). The second day gave me really bad breath and headaches but very little in the way of hunger pains. The third day was soooo worth waiting for. I felt on top off the world and it felt like someone had just given me a happy pill. I was so energized and lighter on my feet. Everyone asked if I had lost weight (4lb in fact)and I felt great.

      Now I am a hardened faster and I can go 3 days without my body realizing that it hasn't had any food. I still get the bad breath and maybe a light headache but that's all.

      I don't care what the doctors say, I go by how I feel and what my bodies telling me. I would much rather go without food for a few days than to prop up the pharmaceutical company's as the doctor's do by dishing out pills for this n that....

      It's amazing what your body can do if you only give it a chance. Unfortunately, people set themselves up for failure by putting obstacles in the way, like, "Oh, I don't think I can last the day without food".... Pathetic

      GET A GRIP .....

    • profile image

      Shu Pong 

      7 years ago

      I wonder where you got your information to back up your statement that a healthy fast doesn't go for more than 10 days or that short regular fasts are better than longer occasional fasts.

      Joel Fuhrman, MD, in his book, Fasting and Eating for health, disagrees with your statements and has references from hundreds of peer reviewed medical studies on the subject of therapeutic fasting. Where did you get your data to make such statements???

    • profile image

      nick again, 

      7 years ago

      the label does not say to take with food,like most antibiotics,

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      on day two of my water fast,prepared a week with eating the right foods,worried my antibiotics will not be as effective,as i am trying to rid of an infection on my leg...

    • profile image

      Sara Rasikh 

      7 years ago

      I am eleven years old and I live in Pakistan , so I keep lots of fasts

    • profile image

      Charlie S. 

      7 years ago

      Every Tuesday, my wife and I fast..only drinking herbal teas. It's been five weeks now. We have no intention of stopping this practice anytime soon.

      I initially wanted to lose 5 pounds, which I did. (My wife lost 8 lbs, but neither of us were really overweight). Now I do it more as a mental exercise, to control my ego, and to improve my diet.

      I find my diet gradually improving...I crave less sugar now, and desire less meat. I seem to be ravenous for fruits and raw's like a looping biofeedback system. The day after I fast, my body is more sensitive to what I'm putting in it; I feel sick if I eat something excessively greasy.

      It also brings my wife and I closer together...we call each other a lot on Tuesdays, to encourage each other and report how we are feeling.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hey there, thanks for this information. I only came over the idea of fasting today and was dubious for sure, however this has certainly made the benefits clear.

      I am obese and don't let my friends take pictures of me...

      And I hope that fasting will both boost my immune system and help me get to a weight I am comfortable with.

      Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Neil Butterfield 

      7 years ago

      I think fasting is a great idea and it gives the body an idea opportunity to give the body a rest from all the junk we so often fill our bodies with.

    • djbraman profile image


      8 years ago

      I do fasting for spiritual reasons but I am always so thankful for the physical benefits as well, very good hub and informative!

    • profile image

      Faey Szeuw 

      8 years ago

      Great information.

      I am a firm believer in fasting for cleansing purpose.

      It should only be done for a short period of time.

      Just a day or two to clean our palette and detox our system.

      However, I think too many people are abusing it and doing it for the wrong reasons, which can seriously do harm to their body. Weight loss should just be a BONUS because your system is now so clean and working efficiently to process the stuff in your body.

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Kathy.

      Fasts longer than ten days are not advisable. They need to be done under the care of healthcare professional. Diet needs to be extremely healthy in the week previous to the fast. The most beneficial water fast is a short one done regularly.

    • kathyfofathy profile image


      8 years ago

      Although I love food, this seems like a great idea. I have heard of religious practices that extend fasting to 40 days or even longer, what do you think of that?

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment kushiott!

      Good idea!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would like to do this! Would it be okay to place a small slice of unsqueezed lime into the water to nurse throughout the day?

    • edguider profile image


      8 years ago

      Going to give it a shot for the sake of my Immune System, I could use it because I get sick all the time. Great hub BTW

    • lxxy profile image


      8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Thanks for this. I drink coffee most of the day, but perhaps I shall try...I eat once or twice as it is.

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment TVTopTTen!

      Actually the body begins to burn fat cells during a fast. When fat cells are exhausted a person is considered to be starving. This takes many weeks of fasting. At this point the body begins to break down muscle to supply to bodies energy needs.

    • TVTopTen profile image


      8 years ago

      I think water fasting can be very beneficial. But be warned, if you are a muscular guy or are into lifting weights for muscle growth, you will lose a lot of mass. Rather you may want to consider a protein shake fast :)

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      The last fast I did was a 21 day juice liquid fast. I hate to fast. I will do a three day water fast because I need it for health reasons.

    • Kelley Eidem profile image

      Kelley Eidem 

      8 years ago from Panama City, FL

      Great hub, Steve.

      The first time I ever fasted I was so toxic that I spent the day in bed sleeping most of the time.

      Then it got easier and easier. Fasting was a major factor in curing my chronic kidney disease.

      The best to you.

      Kelley eidem

      Together we can cure cancer - one person at a time!

    • ocbill profile image


      8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      fasting is a challenge and you are right headaches & feeling weak do come. I just drink more water and eat more vegetables and fruits.

    • gr8info profile image


      8 years ago

      I just managed to do a 24 hour fast yesterday. I can't believe I made it :) It wasn't just the hunger that was difficult, but the weak feeling I got. But I have to say I do feel better and lighter today. I will definitely be doing this again. Thanks for the great hub

    • Shona Venter profile image

      Shona Venter 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Pure, fresh water is essential to life. It's sad to see that so few people consume it these days, instead favouring coffee or soda.

      I will be doing this as well. I know that the initial period will be difficult, but in the end, it is extremely beneficial to the body and mind. Thanks for the info, Stevemark122000.

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment fucsia!

      On a long fast changing your diet to only healthy foods the week before will make the fast easier. Short fasts it's not so necessary.

    • fucsia profile image


      8 years ago

      the theme of fasting is very interesting and certainly fast is useful in many ways. But I think before you do this you must prepare yourself with a healthy diet and light, even for several months, even for a whole year if you have an unhealthy nutrition: indeed fasting eliminate toxins from our body , but if it is too sick, you can feel bad during fasting . I never fasted but regularly I dedicate a day to only few fruits and vegetables and rest and then I feel better!

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment ladyjane1!

      I personally fast 1 day a week and find it very rejuvenating. Fasting one day a week is great for weight loss as long as you don't overeat the following day.

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      This was very informative and I have been interested in fasting for awhile but just haven't done so. Would it be beneficial and maybe easier to fast one day and eat the next as part of a weight control diet? Just wondering. Thanks for the info. Cheers.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I have not done this for a very long time. Perhaps I should

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is a very good hub with interesting and well researched information about the benefits of giving the body a well deserved brake from over eating and prematurely killing ourselves

      Part of the Greek Orthodox religion recommends total fasting on Fridays until sunset. Also enforced by religion is fasting for 6 weeks before Christmas and Easter, as well as August 15 Saint Mary’s day.

      Those periods of fasting correspond to the changing of seasons and are being justified mostly because of health benefits. Most people will only observe part of the fasting period and only certain rules – no meat, no eggs, no dairy products, but yes for fish.

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment gr8info!

      Yes it does get easier when you do it regularly.

      crazybeanrider, you may feel like quitting several time during the fast. Keeping busy makes a fast a lot easier.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 

      8 years ago from Washington MI

      Excellent hb on fasting. I have been wanting to do this, but don't feel toatally commited. I know it would be so beneficial, but I am finding excuses. I enjoyed your hub, it gives me confidance that a water fast can be done. I will keep working towards doing this.

    • gr8info profile image


      8 years ago

      This is really interesting. I have actually been thinking about doing a fast recently, but I'm not sure if I can even make it one day :)

      I'm about a stone overweight and have had A lot of sugar in the past year or two. I think I will really try and give it a go now though. From your hub, it sounds as though it gets easier each time you do one. Thanks for the advice

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Southern California

      Juice fasting is healthy but does not have the same benefits as water fasting because it does not allow the liver and intestines to rest

    • LivingFood profile image


      8 years ago

      I have done a water fast for one day, and it is amazing how good you feel afterwards...but it is hard to do. Juice fasting is much easier...:)


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