Fasting is a detoxing for the body and the mind. Many religious believers use fasting to reflect on their behaviour. They re-evaluate their convictions and are encouraged to reconcile complicated relationships through forgiveness.
Science has since shown us the immense benefits that fasting/cleansing, has on both the body and the mind. ‘During the fasting period cells are under mild stress, and they adapt by enhancing their ability to cope with that stress.’- (Mark Mattson, US National Institute of Health)
Although the word stress has negative connotations for most of us, taxing the body and mind has benefits like stressing any muscle to build it.
On a physical level, fasting from food for short periods allows our internal organs to rest. We are encouraged to drink plenty of fresh water during a fast, and this helps to flush out toxins in the body. Mattson also reports that his test group lost 8% of body fat in 8 weeks.
Denying the body of food means there is less energy available for the brain, and so it becomes increasingly difficult as the day wears on to think straight or deal with decisions. This decrease in momentum makes it easier for us to ‘just be’.
This is similar to the state we create when meditating. Slowing down the mind to see our world more clearly, and it engenders a sense of inner peace. It allows us to let go of our ego.
This sense of inner peace has a positive impact on both the body and mind, especially for those who are worriers and struggle with anxiety.
If you are still not sure if fasting is right for your own body and mind, there’s only one way to find out – give it a try!
Here is a short video by Mark Mattson: