What is fasting?
To say it simple is the period when you do not take any food.
But can you take drinks during fasting time?
Here starts the differentiation between hundreds of different methods right away.
When you follow the news on health blogs, lifestyle, or even religious sites you come across different methods of how you should fast and what are the benefits related to it.
The fact is that there is little solid scientific research on this topic and the documents I could find were not very convincing.
Most of these documents contain the terms: “maybe”, “could be” “it promotes” and so on.
Hardly any can back up these statements by measurements and numbers.
This made me doubt on the science behind.
Can I conclude that it does not work?
No, even the opposite is the fact.
Fasting works for nearly everybody only you should personalize the method to your situation and personal health.
Because of its strong individual connection, it makes it hard to study in a Western scientific way with all the clear rules and regulations and the need to copy the same test at a different times with other people.
In other words, it is questionable if Western science is the right method to study fasting as it has and a physical and a mental element.
Now we understand that it is not an easy task to collect proof of its effectiveness we should look at the ways people apply it right now in the most general fashion.
Let we first look at fasting in a historical perspective.
Historical we see a long tradition in all religions for a period of fasting every year.
Religions offer ideas for fasting as being one with the poor, learn from suffering, clean the body, purify the soul and so many more reasons.
Religion did not have exclusive rights to fasting and healthcare workers have always used the method to purify the body and heal illness.
But the truth of its effectiveness comes from a totally different source with a much lesser noble backing.
During wartime, many people suffer from malnutrition and during feminine, many people die of starvation.
The weak die because of natural selection and the strong show a great resilience for the lack of food and liquids.
People can last a long time without food but lesser time without liquids.
Let us go back one step further in time to the pre-historic era when the human being was still developing.
Before we could eat food, we had to collect it.
To collect food we had to walk, run, and search for it.
Sometimes for days until we finally got something to eat and drink.
Our body and mind were conditioned to survive times of enough and not enough food and drink.
This system is still in our body.
Now we live in a time of abundance and our natural reflexes are suppressed.
The survival system of is still deep inside our bodily system and we can wake it up and use it for our benefit.
Before you start fasting ask yourself for the reason of doing it.
This is the mental part of all fasting which is considered an important part of the benefits.
If you are a religious person you can look which periods your religion advises.
Religions have determined specific periods and ways how to do it and you can follow those directions.
To get maximum health benefits it becomes a more complicated.
To understand the health benefits, we should first dive into the way fasting works.
The first word that comes in mind is depletion of the system.
When we withhold food from our bodies, we disturb an ongoing system of demand and supply.
To repair or grown cells our body needs proteins, vitamins minerals and so on.
All these elements are in our food resources and in our body storage.
When you stop giving the supply to the body it will turn toward the internal storage which we have.
Our body opens storages which are normally closed when there is enough external supply.
During fasting, the needed food element but also the less desired particles are being freed and made ready for use by the different parts of the body or expelled.
The most important elements of need are amino acids, fat, glycogen, vitamins and minerals, and defense mechanisms.
During fasting, the body becomes more alert, or call it awake, for dangers from the outside and the pollutions on the inside.
Fasting makes the body think that it must be prepared for the danger of attack and it will stimulate the hormonal and blood defense system to be more active.
We activate our immune system.
This is the number one benefit of fasting; we activate our body’s defenses in a natural way.
Cells that are confronted with a fasting period start to reorganize their interior for what is needed and not needed.
They will consider the storage of desperately needed materials such as amino acids and glucose as a prime factor and clean up their space by throwing out what is not needed for their functioning.
With other words fasting helps to clean the body cell by cell.
Fasting stimulates the activation and passivate the muscles and brain.
During fasting, the body starts to realize that it should be careful with its energy and do not waste too much.
Tension in cells due to stress consume much energy.
This tension must be reduced, and our body starts to do so step by step during a fasting period.
Most people are not only stressed in their body but also in their mind.
Their behavior is action directed and they move more muscle than needed.
During fasting the body brings down the not necessary movements and actions by reducing the mental energy and starts a conserving program in the brain to calm down and relax.
We can conclude that fasting helps people to reduce stress in the body and brain.
The awareness of venerability while fasting keeps you away from taking risks and avoid danger.
During longer periods of fasting the brain gets depleted of glucose and must conserve energy for vital functions.
The effect is clear as the brain only is focused on what is needed.
Most of these vital functions are directed to survival and primary tasks for the body.
Our brain starts a basic program of thousands of years old that tells us how to survive and find food that is needed to prologue the life of this body.
When we look at the experience of people who took long fasting periods, we see a change in personality and thinking which often last the rest of their life.
Fasting makes people less extreme and more reaching out for compromises and balancing in situations of tension.
This information gives a short inside into the results and expectations of fasting in general.
With this information, you can decide if fasting is the right tool for you and now we have to find out what is the right approach for you to take.
My first suggestion is to start with short periods of fasting to see how your body and mind react to the experience.
You should monitor yourself as objective as possible.
At this moment there are several companies offering fasting methods that range from hours to longer periods in a day.
Not taking food for a few hours such as 4-6 hours is not fasting but meal extension periods.
Real fasting start with short periods such as 12 hours on a day.
If that is successful and it feels a benefit to your body and soul, it is possible to extend with 4 to 6 hours each time.
Before you start keep in mind that the first fight is not with your body but with the mind which demands you to take food.
People with strong cravings are pone to feel extremely anxious during this time.
Your first and most important step is to overcome the eagerness and desire for any kind of food during this period.
A prime question on any kind of fasting is if we can take drinks such as water or tea during this time.
The answer is that it is advised not to do that when the weather allows you to do so and you are in no danger of dehydration.
In other words, be aware when you take your fasting periods as mid-summertime or mid-wintertime is not advice for starters.
When living in extreme heat or cold it can be extremely dangerous to stay away from hydration as cells may fall into the suicide trap and you create the opposite effect of what you want.
Water is part of a cellular competitive system inside our body.
Each cell needs hydration and a specific amount of liquid to survive and often cells start to compete for that.
If that happens, we create a start of an autoimmune disease, an illness that destroys our own body system from inside.
This is the main reason why you should be cautious and build up your own fasting experience and system step by step.
To most people a one day a week or per month fasting period, that is 24 hours, with only drinking water and no other products, seems to have a positive effect.
For more experienced people I recommend a 3 to the maximum 5-day period at least once a year.
Longer periods should only be taken when under medical control and among other people who are able to take care of you.
You should not take this kind of risk alone and surely not when new to fasting.
Longer fasting periods give more change and these changes can be radical to the body and mind.
In the case of people with obesity, I must state a strong warning in reference to free coming toxins during fasting.
It is very possible that people with some form of obesity can fall seriously ill during a fasting period and if they prologue over a healthy limit it can become life-threatening.
Many wars have proven that fasting shows life extension benefits but at the same time, we should be aware not to take this information for granted as being applicable to all individuals.
During wars, many weak people die and only the strong survive which makes it look like a benefit.
In conclusion, fasting can be healthy and has life saving and age prolonging results when done properly and with care.
It is safe and healthy to do it for most people and advised when living in a hectic stressed environment to cool down, relax, and level all that is going on around you.