Fasting has been practiced for eons as a spiritual or religious practice that cleanses and detoxifies the mind and body. It involves avoiding all food and most beverages for a set period of time, which may be anywhere from three to thirty days or more.
This is the most extreme type of fasting, entailing the elimination of both food and water from the diet. Dry fasting has deep spiritual routes and may otherwise be known as Hebrew, Black and Absolute fasting.
Juice fasting is by far the most popular method of fasting, and incorporates only the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. This ensures the body is sustained with adequate nutrition whilst giving the digestive tract a deserved break from solid food matter.
This form of liquid fasting is the oldest and simplest type of fasting that allows only for water consumption. Water fasts are technically the most therapeutic as with them the body detoxifies more rapidly. It is not a fast that is recommended for beginners.
Otherwise known as selective fasting, partial fasting may include a small amount of food, which is generally restricted by food type. Detox diets and rice fasts are good examples of partial fasts.
Whilst the first few days are tough, a phenomenal amount of healing can take place in the body when fasting. Build-up waste is eliminated from the body, as it cleanses itself from:
The body is then able to retain increased amount of nutrients and oxygen, which enhances cell efficiency thus further encouraging the healing process.
Fasting also gives the digestive system a well-earned break from breaking down foods, a process which itself requires an abundant amount of energy. The energy saved from digestion can then be put into healing operations, allowing the blood, cells, intestine and other organs to recover from a list of potential ailments. As a result, fasting strengthens the immune system to function at an optimum level, rejuvenating the body and promoting a state of true health.
Fasting also effectively:
Whilst there are many benefits of fasting, there are some hazards to be aware of. Some of these include:
When one fasts too long or often, a state of weakness or depletion may occur. This can lower the strength of a person’s immune system and allow for illness or disease to develop. Whilst fasting gives the body a well-earned break, it still requires long-term nourishment (that can only be provided by food) in order to function once it has used it stores.
Fasting for weight loss
Fasting should be used to increase overall vitality levels and not for the sole purpose of weight loss. Individuals do naturally lose weight on a fast but it is generally a result of water and muscle-mass loss, rather than the loss of fat itself. Also, sluggish individuals that retain water around the legs and hips particularly often do poorly with fasting.
Fasting when unwell
Science has demonstrated fasting to be beneficial to some diseases that have normally resulted from clogged, toxic organs (such as those of the gastrointestinal tract). Fasting should be avoided however if:
Fasting when pregnant or lactating
It is highly recommended those who are pregnant or lactating refrain from fasting.
Fasting and Ketosis
Fasting increases the risk of harmful Ketones forming in the body (which occurs when fat is used as energy instead of glucose). Increased ketone numbers boosts the risk or kidney failure, gout and kidney stones, and may also cause bad breath and nausea.
If you are interested in finding out more information on fasting, please speak to a professional nutritionist or naturopath for more information.