Friday, 29 May 2009

The Benefits of Fasting

My fasting episode helped with the development and nurturing of my spiritual journey. However, there are people who follow fasting programs for various reasons, be it dietary, medical or otherwise. There are many benefits of fasting, but first, what exactly is it? Fasting is the abstinence from all edible substances, known as dry fasting. For some groups of people, water is included, whereas others see it as a complete abstinence of food and drink. Let us look at some of the health benefits below:

  • Inflammation is removed from the body, for example, in rheumatoid arthritis. the theory behind this concept is that the body is able to rest and detoxify from the allergens in some foods, such tomato juice, wheat, milk and other dairy products, corn and beef.
  • The body's need for cravings is reduced temporarily, such as that of caffeine, nicotine, sugar and alcohol. In order for the body not to crave for such substances, a healthy diet consisting of fresh organic fruit and vegetables needs to be adopted. It is said for example, that carrots and celery juice help in the craving of nicotine addiction, because they help in cleansing the liver where most of the toxins are stored.
  • The first few days of fasting can sometimes result in skin eruptions and other health ailments due to the elimination of toxins. However, as the fasting process continues over the next few days, a health glow to the skin develops. This is especially so when one is on a water or juice fast.
  • Losing excess water is another benefit of fasting, which helps sufferers of bloating. It is therefore necessary to maintain a healthy diet after fasting because just as there can be weight loss, there can also be weight gain in a given period.
  • Blood pressure is dramatically reduced. This is according to a study as reported by the Abhor Clinical Nutrition Updates. The study was conducted on 174 participants who were given water and fruit over a given period. It was concluded that 89% of the participants lost weight and their blood pressure was reduced. However, after the study, a vegan diet was maintained to stabilize blood pressure.
  • According to Alan Goldhamer, D.C founder of TrueNorth Health Center in California , he states that fasting can dramatically reduce uterine fibroid tumours in cases were surgery is necessary to actually to the point where surgery is no longer needed.
Nowadays, the regimental perception of fasting is moving towards more flexible programs. In "A Complete Idiots Guide to Fasting" by Eve Adamson and Linda Horning, they look at programs, such as the Bi-Weekly16-hour fast, the Weekly 36-hour Fast, the Lunar Two-Day Fast and the Seasonal Three Day Fast. Fasting retreats are ideal for people who really need the motivation of a supervised program. If you want to experience the health benefits of fasting in idyllic surroundings, then contact the Directory of World Fasting Retreats for example, raw food fasting in Greece, Lose Weight Retreats in South Africa and many programs across the globe.

Whether you want to try fasting for a spiritual breakthrough or a fasting detox please seek advice from medical or natural health practitioners and do your own research. The physical, emotional, mental and spiritual make-up of each individual is different, so what would work for one, may not work for another.

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