Spring is here. It’s the time of the year when I tell people it’s good to do a juice cleanse. But then some of them will ask: is there any scientific evidence that a juice cleanse is effective? They may also ask me what actually happens to the body when we practice intermittent fasting.
They ask, because newspapers, journals, doctors and nutritionists have told them that there is no evidence that fasting is good for health. They have been told that the body already detoxes naturally through the digestive system.
But if that was the case, why has science linked so many diseases to bad diets, sugary drinks and eating too much? That’s because when the body is overloaded with calories, fats and sugars, it is not able to detox properly on its own and this leads to disease. And that’s the simple reason why so many people not only feel better during a juice fast but are also able to heal many chronic problems. But what is the science behind it?
In recent years there has actually been quite a few scientific studies confirming what yogis and healers have said for thousands of years: fasting is very healthy for both body and mind.
Compiled from dozens of scientific studies, here are, in a nutshell, 12 of the amazing changes taking place in the body during fasting:
- Cellular repair. Studies have shown that fasting induces cellular repair, such as removing waste material from cells.
- Genetic change. There are beneficial changes in several genes related to protection of disease and longevity.
- Hormonal change. Fasting induces hormonal changes which facilitates weight loss.
- Weight loss. In a 2014 study on intermittent fasting it was shown that people lost about 3-8% of their weight over 24 weeks. That’s a lot!
- Loss of belly fat. In the same study it was shown that people lost a lot of belly fat, too. The harmful kind of fat in the abdominal cavity which leads to disease.
- Reduces insulin resistance. This lowers blood sugar levels and protect you against type 2 diabetes.
- Kidney protection. One study in rats showed that intermittent fasting protected against kidney damage, one of the main problems for those with diabetes.
- Reduces inflammation. Studies have shown that fasting reduces oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Healthy for the heart. Fasting and caloric restriction in general reduces blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammatory markers.
- Metabolizes dysfunctional proteins. When we fast, the body breaks down dysfunctional proteins inside the cells, which makes us both feel and look better: we literally change and cleanse from deep within the cells.
- Improves brain health. Fasting improves various metabolic functions that are good for brain health.
- Increases lifespan. In one study on rats that fasted every other day, they lived 83% longer than those rats who did not.
It’s spring! It’s time to cleanse! It’s time to show that the sceptics are wrong: fasting works. Not only does fasting make us feel and look better, now you can also tell your friends that it is scientifically the right thing to do.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramesh is the Director of the Prama Wellness Center where lifestyle is considered our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and is a certified yoga detox theraphist from the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra:The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).