Fasting may be defined as a period of complete abstinence from all types of food or just specific food. Contrary to perception that fasting is akin to subjecting the body to austere measures, it may turn out to be a ‘good treat’ for the body. What is perhaps a rare phenomenon with humans is rather second nature to animals, who instinctively avoid food to ease pain, discomfort or disease.
Many are wary of fasting fearing unhealthy outcomes. According to A. J. Carlson, Professor of Physiology, University of Chicago, a healthy person can survive without food for 50-75 days, of course only in the absence of health problems or emotional stress. The rationale is each pound of human fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Even one pound of superfluous or extra fat is enough to provide the required calories for a full day of strenuous physical exertion.
Phenomenal benefits occur when fasting is done following the advice of a specialist. During the initial days of a fast, usually the toughest phase, large quantities of waste flood the blood stream, ready to be flushed out. The body throws out waste through every pore, perceptibly as a thick coat on the tongue and a foul breath emanating from the mouth.
As the fast extends, the cleaning process is perfected, cleansing the body off fat, diseased cells, and mucus. When people undertake extended fasts, even toxins accumulated in the cells are removed. Diseased cells, dead cells, thickened coating of mucus on the intestinal wall, waste from - blood stream, liver, spleen, and kidney make an exit from the body. The body holds on to important minerals and vitamins throwing out toxins and old tissues. When the toxic load of the body is lessened, the efficiency of each cell is enhanced. This promotes healing. Thus during a fast, the body is on a ‘conserve energy’ and ‘healing’ mode.
Why do people feel more energetic after a fast? In addition, why do they experience less hunger?
Not many of us may know that the body requires abundant energy to digest food. Fasting enables rest for the digestive system, and this saved energy goes into self-healing and repairing operations. Cleansing and detoxification in the intestines, blood and cells heals the body from many ailments. Fasting thus, invigorates the immune system to function at its best and helps promote physical and emotional health, by rejuvenating the body.
Fasting is especially beneficial in the following situations:-
• Finding relief from a variety of health disorders may no doubt begin my making lifestyle changes. Supervised fasting for a stipulated period helps patients make those required changes in their life that will positively influence their health.
• Fasting is a blessing to overcome addictions - to caffeine, nicotine, drugs, smoking and alcohol. Fasting helps lower withdrawal symptoms, which commonly deter people from overcoming addictions.
• Fasting helps lower cholesterol.
• Fasting works wonders in alleviating disorders of the gastrointestinal system like constipation, bloating, and gastritis.
• A supervised fasting program is a boon to diabetics to make crucial lifestyle and diet changes, sacrosanct to effective treatment of the condition.
• Fasting improves mental alertness - when toxins are cleared out of the lymphatic system and blood stream, it improves mental clarity. Further, eating less results in energy conservation, which can be used by the brain for thinking tasks.
“Fasting is simply a process of deep physiological rest. This rest period helps you rebuild functioning power and recover from the energy dissipation caused by hectic daily schedules and abusive living habits.” - Frank Sabatino, D.C., Ph.D.