The Physical Effects of Fasting

Whatever our forefathers and ancestors did have a logical reasoning behind it. And, fasting is one of them. Fasting is well-known to bring a trigger for the healing process in the body. There are several research coming out today that is telling us that fasting can do far more to your body than you can imagine. In this article learn all about physical effects of fasting and how to fast to reap its maximum benefits:

What is Fasting and How it Helps?

The dictionary definition for fasting is basically an absence of food. We consume food to give nourishment to the cells in our body. Now what happens when you don’t eat food and where do you get energy from? Your body stores glucose inside the muscle cells as small glycogen reserves. In addition to this, the liver also stores extra glucose as fat cells in your body. This means that you can go into periods of fasting because you have backup reserves of glucose that are waiting to be utilized.

Moreover, your body requires around 1200 calories of energy to digest and break down food. When you don’t eat, all that energy can be diverted to other parts of the body that need them the most. For instance, notice that when you are fasting, you have a renewed phase of energy and a clear state of thinking.

Fasting is a Great Way to Detox

All that toxins that are stored along with the fat cells get released when you refrain from eating. It is an effective cleansing program that assists your body to get rid of old sludge and excess toxins accumulated in your fat tissues over the years. The Liver is able to detoxify effectively by converting the fat soluble toxins to a water soluble state. As a result, the toxins get released out through sweat, urine and stools.

Fasting also gives the much-needed rest to your gut and digestive organs. Let’s face it, they need a break too.

Fasting Affects the Brain

When you fast more than 24-hours, the brain releases a protein called BDNF – Brain derived Neurotrophic Factor. This protein plays a major role in Neurogenesis or growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, learning and memory. This will help the brain forge new connections and synapses.

How Often Should You Fast?

A one to two day fast fortnightly is good for the body. Since we are exposed to a whole lot of environmental toxins, a prolonged fasting period will make us more sick. This is because as you fast, your liver detoxifies the body by converting the fat soluble toxins to a chemical state called metabolites. These metabolites tend to be more reactive than original toxins and require amino acids to mop them up and be excreted out.

Ultimately how often you fast depends on your age, weight and body type. With fasting you can refrain from eating 24 hours or between your meals as in Intermittent Fasting. For example, you can have a sumptuous breakfast early in the morning, followed by Lunch in the afternoon and fast till breakfast the next day.  

How Should you Fast?

You can engage in complete cessation of food, have only juices, have only water, eat fruits and vegetables only or engage in light eating. You need to find out a fasting regimen that works for your body type. Also keep in mind that if you suffer from any health conditions, you need to be cautious. Here are some important pointers on how you should fast:

1. Stay Hydrated

It is important to have water throughout the day when you are fasting. This will help to detoxify and remove waste from your body. You can also have calorie-free drinks like herbal teas and juices as well.

2. High Fibre, Generous Protein and Healthy Fats

Amino acids are essential for the liver to mop up those toxins and remove it from the body. So, if you are engaging in light eating, make sure that your diet comes only from the above three important nutrient group. In order to reap maximum benefits of your fasting regimen, it is vital to include these nutrients.  Keep your carbohydrates consumption as minimal as possible so that you can induce your body to use your glycogen and fat stores instead.

3. Rest and Relax

Avoid strenuous activities during fasting. Light exercises like Yoga with low-intensity sessions, Pranayama and meditation or walking can still be done. If you are doing intermittent fasting, you can engage in high-intensity exercises but again take care not to go overboard.

4. Juice Fast

If you are doing a juice fast, include naturally blended juices without any added sugars or other additives. It is vital to include juices rich in anti-oxidants, beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E. A potent juice that is very helpful in supporting the liver detoxification process is Carrot, Celery and Apple Juice. Include 60% carrot, 20% Celery and 20% apple blended together. You can also choose protein drinks to stimulate detoxification. Avoid Caffeinated drinks, chewing gums or mints.

5. Include Herbs and Spices

God made natural herbs only to help mankind to speed up the healing process. Season your food with herbs and spices like Ginger, Cumin, Coriander Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Ghee and more. This will beat the hunger pangs and make your light food flavourful.

6. Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Queen and Dinner like a Pauper

If you are someone who just cannot keep away from food for a whole day, this is the best way to indulge in intermittent fasting. Your heaviest meals will be during the day time when your metabolism is at its peak. Dinner should just constitute of juices, porridge, fruits, salads. At times you can even skip dinner making it an even more potent fast.

7. Choosing the Best Time

If you wake up in the morning feeling tired, dull or feeling heavy, it is best to indulge in a fast and rejuvenate your body. Or if you have a white coating on your tongue signalling an overgrowth of fungus, whenever you notice any type of indigestion issues like gas, bloating or burning, it is an ideal time to fast. In addition you can also fast for spiritual reasons at the prescribed times.

8. Breaking the Fast

When you end the fast, it is important not to over-indulge and feast. When you are on juice fast for example, you can break it with small amount of hot porridge, fruit followed by easy to digest lunch. Similarly break your fast gradually to give your gut ample time to cope up without stressing it too much. It is vital to take the same amount of time in order to prepare, fast and break the fast.
Fasting has tremendous effects on your body when done the right way. It can prevent the onset of diseases and also help to heal the body naturally. Each individual has unique needs and unique body composition, so choose the right fasting regimen that works for you and fast your way to good health!