Fasting is one of those controversial health strategies we here at Sandstone Chiropractic run across from time to time. Some chiropractors and other natural healing disciplines suggest occasional fasting is an effective way to cleanse toxins out of the body, thereby improving its overall functioning.
Critics of fasting say it’s an unnecessary move that starves the body. They insist the time periods between eating and healthy sleeping habits are adequate to give the digestive system the rest it needs.
So, which camp should we believe?
Fasting has been practiced for centuries, for both therapeutic and religious reasons; it’s even documented in biblical accounts. The practice involves the voluntary abstinence from all substances, except pure water, for a set period of time.
While most healthy individuals can tolerate fasting for one to three days on their own, any longer period of fasting should only be done under the supervision of a trained health care pro to guide you through the process.
Benefits associated with fasting may include:
- Giving your digestive system a kind of vacation from its daily activities, the same type of much-needed rest we occasionally need from our jobs
- Cleansing the body by eliminating harmful toxins
- Treating your body to a period of rest for meditation and spiritual development
- Prepping your body to gear up for a transition, such as weight loss, overcoming addictions or a shift from a meat-eating to a vegetarian diet
We mentioned that fasting isn’t for everyone. Those who should avoid it include pregnant or nursing women; those with cancer, AIDS or other life-threatening illnesses; and those with diabetes or liver disease. Anyone taking prescription medications should check with their doctors before starting a fast.
What the Research Says
Research has uncovered other potential benefits of fasting.
Studies out of the National Institute on Aging found fasting had advantageous effects on the aging process as well as disease treatment and prevention. It was found to have the potential to delay aging while protecting against diabetes, heart disease, cancers and neurodegeneration.
Research presented at the 2014 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions discovered fasting reduced cholesterol levels in prediabetic individuals over extended periods of time.
While not for everyone, fasting has been beneficial for many. If you want to learn more or receive guidance from one of Sandstone Chiropractic’s health care professionals, schedule an appointment at our Magnolia or Montgomery clinic today.