Detox, fasting, cleansing. There are many other names you could use but they all refer to a process where you abstain from eating and drinking all or some kinds of foods. You may have come across some of the more well-known benefits of fasting. Weight loss and spiritual/religious observances are a couple of them but there are many more great benefits to fasting.
Here are 7 reasons why a Detox is so good and can help you take better care of yourself.
As fasting gives the body time out from eating and drinking, it allows the body to flush out toxins and nasties that have been built up over long periods of time. Cleansing the digestive system and working really hard to do so means that when you break your fast, you’re likely to do it with food that is good to your body. Honest, clean food that nourishes you rather than processed, unhealthy foods. It’s like spending lots of time and energy to clean your room, you don’t want to undo all the hard work by dumping loads of trash in the middle. Like keeping your room clean by maintaining it, you keep your body clean by maintaining healthy eating habits.
2- Strengthens your Immune System
Scientists at the University of California have researched how fasting encourages the production of new white blood cells, the cells that help us to fight of disease and infections. According to Dr Valter Longer, when the body is starved of food, it saves energy by breaking down immune cells that are damaged which are then replaced by new cells, “essentially regenerating a new immune system.”
3- Improves Brain Function
Fasting is great for the brain. Research has shown that when we fast, neurochemical changes take place in the brain which improve cognitive function, stress resistance and also reduces inflammation. According to Mark Mattson, professor of Neuroscience at The John Hopkins University, fasting twice a week could lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. See below for the full TED talk by Matt on what fasting does for the brain.
4 – Your Skin will Glow!
Fasting can improve the condition of the skin. By not eating, the body can focus its energies on detoxifying other systems particularly via the liver and kidneys. This means that fewer toxins are filtered out through the skin which could in turn treat and prevent acne. Plus, as water consumption is increased during a fast, it helps to hydrate and plump up the skin.
5 – Gives the Digestive System a break
When we eat food all day every day we don’t realise that the body is constantly using a lot of energy to process it all. Even more so if we’re over-indulging as there’ll be more stress on the body to digest all this food. Bloating, tummy aches, feeling sluggish are all signs that we’re putting our digestive systems under too much duress. Fasting is a wonderful way to give your amazing body a rest, kind of like a little vacation so it can relax and re-boot.
6 – Strengthens your Willpower
The biggest challenge that people have with fasting is wanting to give up as soon as their body tells them that it’s hungry. By overcoming these hunger pangs and focussing the mind on the goal, you are actually teaching yourself to overcome your bodily urges and practising a great deal of self-discipline. The sense of achievement gained from completing a fast can be a good way of demonstrating to yourself that you have what it takes to overcome challenges that you set for yourself. Proving to yourself that ‘mind over matter’ is everything when it comes to fasting is an experience that can transform the way you approach all kinds of challenges that you set for yourself be it a fast or something entirely different.
7 – A connection with your Spirituality
There are strong associations between fasting and connecting with spirituality. Often in fasting, your attention is turned inwards to avoid temptations. Without heavy foods taking up space, the body feels lighter which can make it easier to move, do yoga, meditate. A sense of self-worship gained by doing something good for yourself can create a stronger awareness and understanding of the body. Fasting helps you actually hear and listen to what your body is saying to you!
Fasting is a great way to show your body that you love and appreciate it and at Kawai Purapura you have the chance to learn how to prepare, practice and take care of yourself during a fast with our Detox Retreats. Hosted by Louise Darragh-Law from Raw Veda, you’ll be provided with all the knowledge you need to incorporate detoxing into your lifestyle.
Blog post by Rina Deb