Fasting: Are There Health Benefits?

Fasting: Are There Health Benefits?

Fasting has become increasingly popular as a means of improving health and wellbeing. While some critics claim that fasting starves the body and may not provide any significant health benefits, many natural healing practitioners, including chiropractors, recommend fasting as a way to cleanse the body and promote optimal function. So, what’s the truth about fasting, and are there any real health benefits?

For centuries, fasting has been used for both religious and therapeutic reasons and is well-documented in Biblical accounts. It involves the voluntary abstinence from all substances, except pure water, for a certain period. While most healthy individuals can tolerate a one to three-day fast on their own, fasts of a longer duration should take place with the supervision of a trained health care professional to ensure that the fast is carried out correctly.

At Thrive Wellness Chiropractic, we believe that fasting has several health benefits, including:

  • Providing the digestive system with a rest from its daily activities, just as we need to take a vacation from our jobs
  • Cleansing the body by eliminating harmful toxins
  • Allowing the body a period of rest for meditation and spiritual development
  • Introducing a period of transition (i.e., weight loss, overcoming addictions, shift from meat eating to vegetarian diet, etc.) to the body to gear up for it

It’s important to note that fasting is not advised for everyone. Pregnant or nursing women, those with a life-threatening illness (such as cancer or AIDS), and those with diabetes or liver disease should avoid fasting. Individuals on prescription medications should also check with their doctors prior to initiating a fast.

Studies conducted by Mark P. Mattson at the U.S. National Institute on Aging on mice concluded that fasting has beneficial effects on the aging process as well. Mattson’s research found that mice that fasted every other day had extended lifespans and showed improvements in factors involved in diabetes and nerve damage in the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Apparently, the cells of the body respond to fasting by increasing their ability to handle even more stress, responding with an attitude of “that which does not kill us makes us stronger!”

If you’re interested in learning more about fasting and whether it’s right for you, schedule a chiropractic checkup with Thrive Wellness Chiropractic. Our trained professionals can answer your questions and provide guidance on what to eat before and after your fast. Don’t jump into a “fad fast” without the proper guidance – take the time to talk to a professional and ensure that your fast is carried out safely and effectively.