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Yesterday @Olwe2Lesh (Olwethu Leshabane) asked her Instagram followers what they believed the purpose of fasting to be and the overall consensus is that fasting serves as a spiritual, mental, and physical detox/reset.   

January brings with it a strong desire for a spiritual, mental, and physical reset. For varying reasons, people from all walks of life are choosing to reset/detox by taking part in Veganuary (eliminating animal products from their diet), Dry month (eliminating alcohol), or some other form of fasting.         

Today’s #WellnessWednesday blog breaks down the health benefits of detoxing through fasting.

“Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.”  Rumi 

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “fasting has been used therapeutically since at least the 5th century BCE when Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness.”

In the 1800s medical doctor and author of  ‘The True Science of Living’, E.H.Dewey in made the argument that most human illnesses were caused by our diets. 

Great strides were made to better understand the physiological effects of fasting during that latter part of the 19th century through studies that were conducted on both animals and humans. As more became known about the body’s nutritional requirements, different and sophisticated fasting practices were developed to treat and prevent diseases by numerous medical facilities. During that time patients with chronic diseases were prescribed a month or more of drinking water or calorie-free tea, exercise, and enemas.

Nowadays when people think of fasting they think of it in terms of a religious practice most commonly linked to ​​Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Jainism, and Hinduism as a form of devotion and worship. 

THE BENEFITS OF FASTING

Blood Sugar Control – Numerous studies show that fasting can reduce insulin resistance improving one’s blood sugar control. 10 people with type 2 diabetes were placed on a short term intermittent fast and the results were a significantly decreased blood sugar level. Decreasing insulin resistance can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, allowing it to transport glucose from your bloodstream to your cells more efficiently.

Decreases Inflammation – While some inflammation is good for your body as it assists your immune system, research has shown that chronic inflammation can cause heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Fasting significantly decreases the level of inflammation in our bodies. 

Improves Blood Pressure, Triglycerides and Cholesterol Levels – A study of a small group who fasted on alternate days for eight weeks showed reduced levels of  LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides by 25% and 32% respectively.

Boosts Brain Function and Prevents Neurodegenerative Disorders – While most of the studies testing the impact of fasting on our brain function have mostly been done on animals these studies have proved that practising some variation of intermittent fasting over 11 months improved the overall function of the brain and brain structure. 

In October 2021 Olwethu shared her experience and the benefits of the three-day Bone Broth Fast and spoke about how she was no longer experiencing brain fog amongst the other amazing benefits. 

Weight Loss and Metabolic Boost – short-term fasting has been proven to boost one’s metabolism by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which enhances weight loss. 

Increases Growth Hormone Secretion – Human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of protein hormone that is central to many aspects of our health and is one of the key hormones linked to our metabolism, weight loss, and our strength. Several studies have shown that fasting for just 24hrs can significantly increase one’s level of HGH. In fact, one such study was done on a group of men who fasted for two days and increased their HGH production rate by five-fold.  

Delay Aging and Increase Longevity – who needs collagen, botox or plastic surgery when you can just fast? Okay, before we get too excited this study has only been conducted on animals however, the group of rats that fasted every other day showed an 83% lifespan increase!

While these seven health benefits listed above are by no means an exhaustive list they are very compelling. And while we are advocates of fasting, you must consult your healthcare provider should you wish to also start incorporating fasting as a way of detoxing. 

For those of you who may not be able to fast because of personal or health reasons but would like to rid your body of toxins, AoS Shop has a couple of natural tonics such as the Beet Kvaas or Raw Kombucha Vinegar that help your body detox.