From an alimentary point of view, fasting means not eating and not drinking anything at all. Not eating anything and drinking just water is also considered fasting. However, some experts question this statement, as they claim that fasting in a proper way means that one shouldn’t eat or drink anything.
When the body is deprived of food, there will be a systemic cleaning, except vital tissues.
Fasting is an important part of many religions and some experts believe that fasting can do wonders for people’s health.
How does it work?
From a technical standpoint, the body reacts to fasting after the first 24 hours, but chemically, food shortages determine the use of carbohydrates reserves as an energy source.
Due to lack of energy from food, the body will use its own resources (function called autolysis). Autolysis requires the fat deposits in the body to produce energy. The liver is responsible for converting fat into a chemical substance called ketone (the substance that results from the metabolism of acetic acid and beta-hydroxybutyric acid) and then it distributes these organisms throughout the body via the bloodstream.
When fat is used this way, free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and are used by the liver as an energy source. The more a person eats less, the more the body pushes these fatty deposits and creates more ketones (accumulation referred to in ketosis’ case).
The starvation issue only arises when the body will be forced to use as vital tissue to survive.
Fear related to muscle fibers decrease due to protein catabolism is unjustified. Even after a long fast, the number of muscle fibers remains the same. Although size and strength of healthy cells can be reduced, they are not affected.
Fasting is an alimentary therapeutic method practiced in specialized clinics in several countries around the world. There are many renowned clinics in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Britain, Russia, USA, Japan, and China.
Patients are assisted by doctors, and the program is rigorous. The duration varies according to the disease, between three to five weeks, even 40 days for cancer patients. In clinics around Germany alone there are between 5,000 and 10,000 patients treated every year.
Dr. Guelpa from France is known worldwide for his success in treating illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, stomach diseases and arthritis through fasting. Physicians E. H. Dewey, Sigmund Meier, and Adolf Muller followed the same path. Many patients were cured of the liver, gall bladder and heart diseases and even some psychiatric disorders.
Over the years, doctors have used various types of fasting: only with water, fruits, fresh juices or rice. All these methods were effective because they have activated the body in order to heal itself. Those who try this therapy for the first time require a minimum preparation, as they may experience dizziness, headaches, and faintness, but all these symptoms will disappear in time. Doctors say that these symptoms are normal and they prove that the person has accumulated a lot of impurities in the body
Personally, I have experienced fasting several times, during which I have to drink only water for 3 days. Other times, I would just eat fruits for 10 days at a time. I have to admit that being a vegan for more than 8 years has helped me considerably during the fasting period. In my case, this experience has given me an energy boost, with an increased physical endurance.
In my opinion, fasting is a good way to start a purification and healing process.
Here are 12 health benefits of fasting one day a week:
Even if you are healthy and have a good digestion, there are stored food residues in your intestines that decay, flooding your blood with toxins. In time, you may experience headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness without a specific cause. If you have these symptoms, maybe it’s time to start a fasting period.
2. Refreshing sleep
I have experienced this benefit to the full during my fasting period. I always woke up energized and eager to work. The explanation is quite simple: in addition to eliminating toxins, the digestive system had nothing to process overnight, hence it rested. The energy that would have been invested in digestion was used in other ways or was simply preserved, thus improving my wellbeing in the morning.
3. Feeling connected to others
It’s rather difficult for me to put this feeling into words. It’s the kind of feeling I started experiencing after a day or two during the fasting period. This connection leads to the next benefit in my list.
4. Kindness to others
Not eating anything or drinking water changes the body’s vibration. You will not resonate with negative behaviors and low vibrations, instead, you will feel the need to appreciate every “thank you”, “excuse me” or “please”. You will be more grateful for things you never thought capable of arousing these feelings.
5. Increased ability to concentrate
I have heard many people say that when they are hungry they cannot be productive, cannot learn effectively, cannot work etc. This is just a wrong impression. It is scientifically proven that when the digestive system works, the brain is slower. Try to remember how you felt after your last big meal. Immediately afterward you became sleepy, you didn’t feel like doing anything, and perhaps you even wanted to sleep.
If you coddle the digestive system, all the energy will be directed to a more efficient functioning of the brain and the immune system. I have managed to fulfill my daily tasks without any discomfort, even with joy and surprise regarding my ability to focus on a specific task extended periods.
6. Increased healing process
Another benefit of fasting is that it stimulates the healing processes of the body. Unlike metabolism and immune system, the digestive system is less strained during the fasting period.
Development of abnormal formations or tumors in the body is slowed down due to the body’s involvement in the autolysis process. In addition, there is a more effective process of replacing damaged cells, because there are fewer mistakes resulting from the RNA / DNA genetic checks.
Following an efficient synthesis of proteins leads to healthy cells, tissues, and organs. This is why animals don’t eat when they are injured and people lose their appetite when suffering from the flu. Hunger sensation is absent during illnesses such as gastritis, tonsillitis, and colds.
During fasting periods body temperature drops. This phenomenon is the direct result of slower metabolism and body functions. As a consequence of low blood sugar and use of glucose reserves found in liver glycogen, basal metabolic rate is reduced in order to preserve as much energy as possible from the body for later use.
7. Protects us from cardiovascular illnesses
Recent studies have shown that fasting reduces the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Scientists have discovered that this type of diet helps lower triglycerides, weight, and glycemia and thus keeping heart diseases away.
8. Improvement of the immune system
The truth is that many people have a poor immune system. This is primarily due to improper nutrition. Big stores are full of food that is soaked with chemicals, designed to make it last longer and look good. If you’re not careful and eat these products, your body will have to devote a lot of energy to eliminate substances to which it’s not accustomed to.
It will take the energy it needs from anywhere possible, but consider that it protects you, it will choose to take the energy assigned to the immune system. This makes you more susceptible to viruses, and the most common effects are the cold outbreaks.
As such, during fasting, there is a redirection of energy normally used by the digestive system, in order to activate the immune system.
The discovery of scientists from the University of South Carolina has been described as “remarkable”, informs Top Sante. According to experts, the immune system can be renewed after only three days of fasting. The starvation the body feels during the 72 hours stimulates cells to produce new white blood cells.
This could help the elderly, whose immune system becomes less efficient, leading to a weaker defense against infections, even the minor ones.
“The good news is that the body is not satisfied just to produce new white blood cells. During fasting, the body discards the old or damaged cells. During each cycle of fasting, this afflux of new white blood cells leads to regeneration of the immune system “, states prof. Valter Longo.
9. Weight loss
If you have a few extra pounds, fasting will help you lose weight. There is nothing to worry about. First cells attacked are those that hurt you. The body will not touch the healthy cells, instead, it will attack the ones you wanted out of your body anyway and it will disintegrate them, thus gaining specific energy requirements.
There are scientifically proven facts that during fasting the body begins to disintegrate diseased cells that harm you. Under the guidance of a Romanian called Valeriu Popa, many people have been cured of cancer by fasting. The same treatment is applied to patients who appeal to Gerson clinics.
10. Slowing down the aging process
Studies have shown that fasting stimulates the secretion of the anti-aging hormone, but also growth hormone. The only way to slow down aging in mammals discovered so far is underfeeding.
11. Extension of life expectancy
Finally, most studies have proven that after fasting periods people feel rejuvenated and have a long life expectancy. In part, this phenomenon is caused by the benefits mentioned above.
A slower metabolic rate, intensive production of proteins, an improved immune system and stimulation of hormone production (growth hormone and anti-aging hormone) are long-term benefits of fasting.
12. Emotional balance
Another effect of fasting is unleashing, the release of negative experiences that are to blame for all kinds of serious illnesses of our body.
Other benefits of fasting include – increased pleasure of eating (food will taste better), fasting often gives a sexual force, also more spare time since you don’t have to waste hours shopping, cooking or eating.
Regardless of the type and duration, therapeutic fasting rarely has contraindications. There are however special cases that need special attention. Therefore, persons who are included in any of the categories below should wait until they are no longer included in those specific categories or until they will receive specialist’s supervision.
It is forbidden to:
- Persons who are not 18 years of age;
- Pregnant women;
- Women during confinement and breastfeeding period;
- People who suffer from eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.);
- People with severe anemia;
- People with a very low vitality, low blood sugar or in recovering;
- People with type I diabetes, insulin dependent;
- Anyone who has suffered a heart attack;
- People who suffer from Porphyria (a genetic metabolic defect);
- People with rare genetic defects that prevent adequate ketosis;
- Those who suffer from mental disorders because they may not get through the stage of detoxification of fasting without proper medical supervision.
- Returning from fasting
- You must be careful when returning to your regular diet after cessation o the fasting period, be cautious and eat progressively, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
- The return period should last about as many days as the fasting period and it should be done slowly. Moreover, try to eat food without salt or sugar, which may not be very appetizing, but it facilitates a gradual transition from fasting to a regular diet.
Fasting cure is a biological treatment, a detoxification, and purification of both body and mind. There seems to be plenty of reasons to consider fasting a benefit to our health.
However, doctors emphasize the importance of medical supervision during prolonged fasting periods. Also, people who are ill should receive the doctor’s approval on food deprivation.
Please share your thoughts and fasting experiences.
“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” ― Hippocrates.