For several years now, for no real reason other than it is a day that I do not work in the clinic, I have fasted, on Good Friday. I am now beginning to discover the health benefits of fasting, and would like to share them with you.
Every religion has references to fasting, we have probably all heard of Ramadan, the Muslim religious observance which includes fasting, as part of the ritual, but were you aware of the references to fasting in the Bible? In Matthew 6 v 16, Jesus says “When you fast”. Let’s take a look at that again. “When” not “If” but when, so Jesus was saying when, like I might say “When you lift, bend your knees” I know that my clients will lift, so it not if, but when. So early Christians were expected to include fasting in their lives.So is there any benefit to your health, in fasting?
Well studies are now showing that there are many benefits both physical and mental to going without food for a sustained time. Let’s see why:
This TED talk is by Mark Mattson. He is the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Ageing. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University. Mattson is one of the foremost researchers in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) or ALS. In this video he explains how fasting, boosts brain power and therefore protects us from these diseases.
In this video Mattson explains how pathways in the nervous tissue, called synapses are improved when there are ketones in the body. Ketones are the product of body fat breakdown, which happens when we fast.
Researchers from the University of Southern California in LA say that fasting for a prolonged period of time, for 2-4 consecutive days, helps to promote immune system regeneration and protects against immune system damage.
Over time, the body’s immune cells become worn out and this lowers their functioning levels. It was thought in the past that there was not a lot that could be done, other than stem cell treatment, but it has been observed, in mice and humans, that when mammals fast, the number of white blood cells decrease, and the result is that the body then “recycles” the old immune cells and triggers the production of new cells to replace them. So periodic fasting actually trips some method of regeneration in the body, to stimulate blood and immune cells generation.
It is also extremely useful in cancer sufferers, when the immune system is ravaged by treatment. Fasting would encourage a whole new immune system to be generated.I think if any of my close friends or family were diagnosed with cancer this would be my first line of treatment, rather than the poison burning and scarring that our health service offers in the way of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. One of my friends on social media treated herself for many years using diet and a change in mental attitude to beat the diagnosis she had been given. Should I ask her to do a guest blog on it?
Whilst researching for this post, I came across Biblical references to lifespans in the Old Testament. Pre flood lifespans were recorded as 900+years, Adam lived till he was 930 (Genesis 5:5) but six generations later, Abraham died at only 175. What happened in those intervening years to affect the life expectancy so much? Well that will be anlother blog I think. It is now 36 hours since I last ate, so I think it is time for Break-Fast! Have a lovely Easter everybody.
Easter Blessings to you all!