Many of us have heard of this word from our religious friends. It is their way of acknowledging God more than physical provision and sometimes to ask God to do big things in their life, a financial breakthrough, a healed disease or a spiritual revival. Nevertheless, the word fasting does ring a religious bell for most of us.
However, fasting is more than religion and it is certainly just not to starve yourself out for a period of time. It does have a lot of benefits, and doing it right may prove helpful for your body in the long run.
What is fasting?
By definition, fasting is where a person abstain from eating and drinking for a period of time. Generally done for religious reasons, there are different variations that are done and some is because of one’s capability to fast with respect to their health condition.
Different Types of Fasting
There are different strokes for different folks. Here are some of the most common types of fasting done all over the globe:
- Religious Fasts – The purpose of this fast is more than to benefit the body, but is mostly due to a specific reason within religious boundaries. One particular example of this fast is the Daniel Fast that was modeled from the Bible. It covers 21 days of eating only fruits, vegetables and grains for 21 days. Another one is the Ramadan where Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown.
- Medical Fasts – Medical or diagnostic fasts are taken by patients who are going to be under laboratory tests. One very good example of this fast is the glucose tolerance test that measures sugar in the body in order to determine if a person has diabetes or hypoglycemia.
- Juice Fasts – This type of fast involves only drinking liquids that are “juiced” from fruits or vegetables. It lasts between a day or 2 weeks depending on your plan. It does need a lot of planning in order to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you need in the selection of fruits and vegetables that you will include during your fast.
- Water Fast – A water fast, as the name imply is a type of water only diet that has shown success in normalizing blood pressure, according to a 2002 publication of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Though effective, it must be medically supervised and you should definitely consult a doctor if you want to do this for a prolonged period of time.
Benefits of Fasting
- Fasting helps you live longer – whether you believe this or not, fasting may make you live longer. One important factor that we need to consider is that our digestive system also needs some rest from eating. Having your guts rest for a time may help your digestive system recover and thus your metabolism is more efficient.
- Fasting helps you lose weight – Sounds obvious, but there’s more to fasting than just not eating. When the body does not get food during your fast, what it does is to get the energy it needs from the glucose stored in your muscles and liver. Then after some time, it will burn fat as a source of energy, which can result in weight loss.
- Fasting improves your brain power – When you fast, your brain produces a protein called BDNF or brain derived neurotrophic factor. What this protein does is that it activates brain stem cells and converts into new neurons. It protects your brain cells from the changes that commonly happens with Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons diseases.
- Fasting boosts your immune system – One primal instinct of the animals when sick is that they stop eating. Many attribute this to sickness, however the wisdom in this is that they do not let the body stress out and instead lets it focus on fighting the infection. Fasting regulates inflammation and starve off cancer cell formation
Is fasting for you?
There is indeed a lot of benefits to fasting.
However, it is always best to consult the experts if you are planning to do this for a prolonged period of time.
About The Author
Manuel is a guy who loves books. He enjoys reading and does it whenever he can. If he’s not reading, he spends time with his family and also ministers to teenagers in a local church. He does public speaking and talks about issues concerning the youth and young professionals. An Oleia topical oil user and content contributor.