Written by Andrea Paran
When we talk about fasting we often relate it to religion, but today this intermittent approach to eating is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for people to improve their health. We decided to explore fasting and find out just what those health benefits are.
Fasting in the past
Fasting has been around since the ancient times, it is one of the oldest healing methods used by humans and is practiced by many cultures around the world. In ancient Egypt, ancient India and ancient Greece fasting was used not only for preventative health reasons and but also spirituality.
Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras was a known devotee of fasting, and it is reported that he routinely fasted for 40 days! He believed that it increased his creativity and mental awareness. While Hippocrates of Cos, who is widely considered the father of modern medicine, believed that fasting had many health benefits for humans including assisting in the recovery from disease.
During the fourteenth century St Catherine of Siena was known for her long periods of fasting, while Paracelsus - a Renaissance doctor who is often referred to as the father of toxicology, called it the ‘physician within’.
Animals fast too
In the wild, animals occasionally experience phases of food deprivation such as during migration, hibernation, molting and mating. During these times of fasting, there are many positive effects on their bodies, including becoming insulin resistant which helps to preserve the glucose stores in their body.
Studies have found that organisms from single-celled yeasts through to mice, age more slowly and develop a longer life expectancy compared to those which are eating consistently. And through these studies scientists have discovered that when the body is fasting a process known as autophagy occurs, which is when the cells recycle any damaged or deteriorated parts and utilises them as fuel. It is believed that this process evolved as a natural way to survive a famine.
Fasting for religious and spiritual purposes has been practiced around the world for thousands of years and it is still prevalent today. Its role is associated with penitence, self-control, cleansing and purification and it is believed that Buddha, Jesus Christ and the prophet Muhammed all considered fasting to be healing. Nowadays the practice has established itself in many different religions and cultures.
Modern day fasting
Today we are inundated with food, it can be found everywhere, on street corners, at fast food outlets, in shopping centers, restaurants, and our homes. It’s fast, cheap, and as accessible as the touch of a button! However more and more people are beginning to discover the benefits to regular fasting, and it is increasingly becoming a popular way to reenergise our body.
Research is constantly developing about the benefits of fasting on the human body. Some scientists believe that our bodies go into an ‘emergency mode’ where it conserves energy, repairs damaged cells and improves mental clarity and focus.
While others claim that intermittent fasting could help protect against cancer, diabetes and disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, however there is no scientific evidence as yet.
Juice fasting/cleansing allows the digestive system to rest as the fibre is removed from the fruit and vegetables. As energy is conserved through digestion, our bodies are able to begin to heal and repair from the inside out. During a juice fast the body receives a physiological rest whilst receiving an abundance of plant nutrients. Many benefits can be experienced including revitalisation of the skins natural glow, strengthening of the immune system, toxin and waste removal from the liver and kidneys along with increased energy and loss of excess weight.
If you are interested in trying a fast, why not supplement your body with some cold pressed juice
? Consuming fresh juice will provide your body with healthy vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants while you kick start new healthy habits and give your body a chance to repair itself!
Have a look at our raw cold pressed juice cleanses
for everything you need to nourish your body and gain clarity in mind. They are the perfect way to assist your fast while you carry on with your busy day!