Fasting is a very efficient way to detox our body and it has plenty of health benefits too. It is not only efficient but a very “cost effective” way too as you cut your consumption of food thus not spending money on it.
I have tried a couple of fasts, read books and watched endless videos and read plenty of blogs about it. Needless to say that I am a big fan and believer of fasting. In this article I would like to introduce you to fasting, to its benefits and a mention a couple of different types of fasts that are not that difficult to do and give you some ideas on how to detox by fasting.
First of all, what is fasting
I live in a Muslim country and at the time of writing of this article, it is the holy month of Ramadan so most people are fasting for the whole month. I think Ramadan is the most widespread or well-known type of fasting in the world but there many other types of fasting too and other religions have strong fasting practices too. In my article I will be focusing on the health aspects of fasting and not the spiritual aspects as my main topic is how to detox by fasting. If you are interested on the spiritual side of fasting, you can find plenty of great contents on the internet.
So what is fasting?
Fasting basically is the abstinence from some or all food and drinks or the reduction of consumption for a period of time. Absolute fasting or dry fasting is a total abstinence from all types of food and liquids (the type of fasting Muslims practice during the Ramadan). Other fasts can be partially restrictive, limiting or intermittent.
Some benefits of fasting
Fasting is observed by many centuries and plenty of health benefits were recorded but science stepped in only recently to back up the claims.
There is a renewed interest on fasting recently and many studies and researches are done to prove the benefits of fasting. Here are some from the long list (backed by science):
Fasting improves health by fighting inflammation
Fasting promotes blood sugar control by (reducing insulin resistance)
Fasting improves brain function and prevent neurogenerative disorders (such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.)
Fasting enhances heart health by improving cholesterol levels, blood pressure and triglycerides
Fasting increases the secretion of Growth Hormone which is essential for weight loss and muscle strength, growth and metabolism
Fasting supports weight loss by limiting calorie consumption and boosts metabolism
Fasting may support cancer prevention and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy (animal studies)
Fasting may delay aging and supports longevity
Side effects and potential risks
When fasting, make sure you are well hydrated and get plenty of rest. If you have any underlying health conditions, it is best to consult with your doctor about tour plan.
Fasting is generally not recommended for the following individuals :
-those who are suffering from diabetes or low blood sugar,
– the adolescence
– underweight or having an eating disorder
– are pregnant or breast feeding
-have uncontrolled migraines
-are taking certain medications (consult your doctor)
Some popular fasting methods
Water fasting- the most efficient way
As the name suggests, water fasting is a period when someone eats no solid food and drinks only water for a given time.
Some people practice water fasting to lose weight, to fight particular health problems or for spiritual reasons.
There is no fixed time for water fasting but the general medical advice suggests anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days maximum. Longer water fasts are recommended to be done under supervision for those who are new to it.
Intermittent fasting (I.F)
Intermittent fasting currently is a popular health trend. Many people are practicing it to lose weight, regain health and detox their body.
Intermittent fasting involves cycles between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time.
There are 3 types of intermittent fasting:
-The 16/8 method:
Following this method you choose an 8 hours eating window and for the remaining 16 hours of the fasting period you are allowed to take only water and unsweetened coffee or tea (no milk added)
This type of intermittent fasting involves fasting for 24 hours, 1-2 times a week. It can be dinner to next day’s dinner (easiest) or from lunch to the next day’s lunch.
Following this method you eat normal for 5 days and you consume only 500-600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days of the week.
Please check out my article on intermittent fasting to understand more about it before you decide to try. (link)
Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)
The University of Chicago has done some studies on Alternate day fasting recently and their study showed great results. The results include weight loss and lowering the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
With ADF you have feed day followed by fast day and repeat. On feed days you can consume whatever you want but on fast days you are restricted to 500-600 calories per day. As I mentioned on feed days you can eat whatever you wish to, however you can have much faster results of you choose to eat wholesome nutritious food instead of sugar loaded junk food.
Please check out of my article on alternate day fasting if you are interested to know more or thinking of trying it out.
Nowadays when most of our illness are caused by overeating it its a great idea to start a kind of fasting practice.
You can try any of the above mentioned fasting to achieve great results depending on your preference. You can try all of them and find out what suits you the best. As long as you practice fasting, your body will thank you and you will be able enjoy the health benefits. There is nothing to lose….only weight :).