Fasting is the act of temporarily abstaining from eating. It is an ancient method of allowing the body to reboot and cleanse itself.
The type of benefits you derive from fasting depend largely on the type of fast and the individual undertaking the fast.
There are numerous types of fasts that one can follow. There are dry fasts where you refrain from consuming liquids, fruit fasts where only have fruit, water fasts where you only take water and intermittent fasting where you consume nothing for a short period of time.
It is important that you consult a physician before undertaking a fast. Fasting is not advisable for people with pre-existing medical conditions and pregnant women or nursing mothers.
Let’s take a closer look at all the health benefits that come with fasting.
Rejuvenation and Healing
13th century Persian poet Rumi said, ‘Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.’
The body heals itself due to slower metabolic rate as the energy reserved for digestion is free to be redirected towards repairs. This leads to increased blood circulation and research has also revealed that it improves the regenerative ability of stem cells.
Improved Brain Function
As blood circulation improves, there is increased clarity and sharper memory recall. Fasting also increases the production of a protein called BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor. Source
The regenerative capacity of the neurons increases with the production of BDNF. It also has an effect on the endorphins released similar to what happens after an exercise session. This leads to mental alertness and a sense of euphoria and well-being.
According to Brad Pilon’s Introduction to Intermittent Fasting, when you refrain from eating the free radical damage is reduced and cancerous cells are starved. This allows your body to focus on the health of the normal cells.
One of the primary reasons why immunity is boosted is the lowered plasma viscosity which occurs because there is less fat, sugar and protein to be carried in the bloodstream. There is also increased access to nutrients in the blood which enables healthy function of the immune system.
When you don’t eat the body detoxes and the kidneys, liver and skin are able to flush out toxins with ease. This is a visible benefit that can especially be observed in a liquid fast. The production of collagen and anti-aging hormones is also increased during a fast. Acne also gets cleared faster as the blood circulation improves.
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