Among some health and wellness practitioners there is a growing movement that encourages fasting as a method of releasing toxins from the body and also for weight loss. Where do toxins come from?
- Food which is not safe for consumption
- Water that is not treated or contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals example mercury and lead
- Drink prepared from unsafe water
- Poor air quality both indoor and outdoor
- Substance abuse such as alcohol
- By-products of pharmaceuticals
- Illicit drugs
- Some skin and hair products for external use
Fasting is when we voluntarily abstain fully or partially from food or drink for a period of time. During fasting, the digestive system is rested and the body utilizes stored fat for energy to ensure that the vital organs have a source of energy.
Fasting for several days could result in adverse effects on the body. Weight loss can be a desired effect from short and periodic fasting. If the body is deprived of food and drink for a long time, the muscles will breakdown to supply the energy needed to sustain life. Prolonged fasting or starvation is dangerous and even life threatening.
There are other reasons why people fast such as:
- Religious practices or religious holidays
- Medical requirements for blood investigations or as preparation for surgery
- As a form of political/social protest
- For detoxing the body
Detoxification is the natural or induced process by which toxic substances are eliminated from the body. The main organ that protects the body from harmful build-up of damaging toxins is the liver.
Some benefits to the body after fasting and detox are:
- Resting the stomach and intestines
- Weight loss
- Enhancing the liver’s ability to neutralize existing toxins for elimination
- Increased elimination of denatured toxins via the intestines and kidneys is enhanced
- Boosting circulation and strengthening the immune system
After completing the fasting and detox program, it is an opportunity to embark on a healthy lifestyle. Commit to eating healthy meals with select varieties of natural fruit, vegetables, meats, fish, and beverages.
Ongoing gentle detox can be achieved by:
- Increasing daily consumption of fruits and vegetables of 3-5 servings
- Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water daily
- Drinking herbal teas such as green tea, oolong and dandelion
- Including cereals and brown rice in the meals
There are those activities that help the body to release toxins such as taking hot showers for 5 minutes alternating with a cold shower for 30 seconds. A periodic sauna or mineral bath is also beneficial. Soaking feet in a herbal foot bath is both relaxing and releases toxins.
Fasting and detoxing can be helpful to improve health if done properly and safely. I would however recommend that you be guided by a health and wellness practitioner so as to maximize the benefits. Diabetic persons, children, pregnant, and nursing women should not engage in this practice.
Hello_Docja, MD, Readers Bureau, Contributor
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