Fasting is back in vogue, and while it helps with weight loss, it has many benefits that have been largely overlooked. Indeed, it is one of the most powerful, yet most underutilized medical therapies available. Fasting is a natural therapy that rejuvenates and regenerates the body. Plus, it’s totally free! When the human organism is provided with the necessary conditions for its functioning, in particular an appropriate diet, environment, activity and psychology, it is possible for it to maintain optimal health. If these conditions are not met, health will be compromised. Often the best way to facilitate the restoration of health is through therapeutic fasting. It allows the body to create a unique and unparalleled healing physiological response. So what is therapeutic fasting? What are these health benefits? Is it an effective solution to lose weight naturally?
What is therapeutic fasting?
Therapeutic fasting is defined as complete abstinence from all substances, except pure water, in an environment of complete rest. Starvation, even for a few days, while working, exercising, worrying, etc. is not therapeutic fasting. A noisy, very stressful and unfavorable environment will not give the organism the possibility of maximizing self-healing mechanisms. To maximize the benefits of therapeutic fasting, complete rest is essential and stressful situations should be avoided. Eating only certain foods or drinking juices is not therapeutic fasting. The impact as well as the physiological and clinical benefits are different. This is not to say that juice fasting diets or so-called elimination diets do not have positive effects. They are simply not the same as therapeutic fasting. When properly applied and conducted, therapeutic fasting is one of the most powerful tools available to help the body heal itself. When abused or applied inappropriately, it can be harmful.
The benefits of therapeutic fasting
If therapeutic fasting is so recommended, it is because of its many positive effects on the human body.
When the body enters a state of therapeutic fasting, the remaining carbohydrates are depleted. The body will then switch to fat burning. At the same time, the metabolic rate increases instead of decreasing as it does in a state of calorie restriction (low calorie diets). This leads to weight loss.
The release of energy
In fact, up to 50% of our energy is needed to digest food. In no time, this energy is released from the digestive process and can now be used to heal and regenerate. The body knows better than anyone where healing is most needed.
After 24-36 hours, the diseased and weakened cells will, through processes called apoptosis and autophagy, be driven into cell death, dismantled and recycled into new cells. However, there is nothing to worry about because it is a completely natural process. An average human adult loses between 50 and 70 billion cells every day through apoptosis. This rate is greatly increased by therapeutic fasting.
Stem cell regeneration
The next step in the therapeutic fasting process is the significant increase in stem cell production and activation. The number of new stem cells and the level of human growth hormone increase dramatically during days 3 to 5 of the fast, then decrease again thereafter. More recent research has shown that during this period of increased stem cell production, a huge amount of new white blood cells are produced, which strengthens the immune system.
Improving the immune system
Have you ever noticed that when animals get sick, they stop eating? Have you ever wondered why this happens? It is a natural instinct by which animals try to reduce stress on their internal system and focus their energy on fighting infection. So the next time you get sick, resist the temptation to forage for food and focus on fasting instead.
Breaking the fast with fruit can boost your immune system even further by providing your body with a source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and E which are great antioxidants. Fasting also prevents the formation of cancerous cells, regulates the likelihood of inflammation, and helps reduce the occurrence of free radicals in the body that cause damage to cells, DNA, and proteins in the body, thus contributing to the evolution of the disease. Remember, fasting triggers the regeneration of old cells in the body. This rejuvenation of cells results in improved immune function. According to a study, a three-day fast can lead to the regeneration of the entire immune system and the production of totally new white blood cells that have a greater ability to fight disease.
Other Benefits of Therapeutic Fasting
Along with burning fat, losing weight, and boosting the immune system, therapeutic fasting has many other health benefits. It reduces inflammation, rebalances the gut microbiome and hormones, protects the brain against harmful changes associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases. It reduces the risk of cancer and the rate of aging but also regulates cell maintenance and repair processes.
In which cases should therapeutic fasting be avoided?
There are people who are not good candidates for therapeutic fasting. However, there are few conditions that contraindicate its proper use. The biggest contraindication is fear. A lack of understanding of the process of fasting can present serious problems. Extreme weakness caused by various illnesses and associated with muscle atrophy can also interfere with therapeutic fasting. There are also many medications that can complicate the fasting process. Insufficient nutrient stores would also be another potential contraindication to fasting. Certain types of cancer and serious kidney disease may also make an individual a poor candidate for therapeutic fasting. So, seek advice from a specialist before starting therapeutic fasting. Given all these benefits, it seems obvious that therapeutic fasting is a great way to lose weight naturally and stay in good shape. But be careful to respect the conditions required to practice it, at the risk of damaging your health.