There are many religions all over the world which regularly fast as part of their dogma, from the Native Americans to Buddhist Monks to Mormons. In the society we live in today, especially in North America, most have adequate nutrition and resources, so that very few people go hungry. What most people don’t realize is that, for those without serious medical conditions, it is actually beneficial to your body and digestive system to take periodic breaks from your regular diet. But, before you attempt a fast for the first time, make sure you consult your doctor in order to figure out what will work best for you.
Your body uses mass amounts of energy when digesting food. When the body is fasting, this energy is used in other ways, such as for self-healing and self-repair. In the fasting state, the body will burn away dead cells, damaged tissues, and fatty deposits, and any other unnecessary waste that has accumulated in your body over time. Fasting also allows your digestive organs to rest, as well as helps to cleanse and detoxify your intestines, blood and cells. Most people feel quite energized during and after a period of fasting, and studies have shown that regular fasting can even help extend your life, as well as aid in mental and emotional stability. Regular fasting has also been found to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It has even been proven to help with weight loss and increase your life span.
Other benefits of fasting? Mental clarity, safe weight loss, balanced nervous system, improved energy level, increased sensory perception, sleep improvement, organ revitalization, clearer skin, increased flexibility and movement and improved respiration. There are even more! When it comes to fasting, it is always best to start off small and work your way up to the lengthier time periods. You can start with abstaining from food for one day, then to a weekly fast, and eventually work your way up to the longer stretches, such as an 8-21 day time period.
There are many different types of fasts, such as the water fast, where you are only allowed to drink water for a given period of time. There are also juice fasts, where, through the use of a juicer, you make your own diluted vegetable and fruit juices to sustain you. The more extreme methods are where you are not even permitted water, though these rarely go past four days, with most people giving in to the body’s natural need for hydration. Do not start out with one of these. Try a juice fast or water fast first. When fasting for the first time, you should be aware that your mood will likely not be as chipper as normal and, though fasting for a day helps your system, to reap the full benefits of a fast a longer period of time is often needed. Though, it has been proven that those who fast weekly, over time, still can reap many benefits. Remember, start slow, and don’t go overboard!