5 Benefits of Fasting: One Day Fasts and Week Fasts
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.