The idea of fasting might well be thousands of years old and is also incorporated in many religions, like fasting before Easter or in Ramadan. There are lots of different ways to fast. When fully fasting, participants drink only water, in other forms they may drink lots of infusions and juice or they only eat potatoes. Fasting periods can range from a few days to weeks. All forms offer tremendous health benefits, like weight loss and detoxification among others. We want to introduce you here to intermittent fasting, which is easy to incorporate in your daily life:
What is it?
Intermittent fasting means that phases of not-eating alternate with phases of normal eating. This rhythm can change within hours or days.
For whom suitable?
In general, fasting is a great preventative measure for healthy people. But also people with diseases like rheumatoid diseases, skin diseases, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, high blood pressure, overweight and chronic pains can benefit form it.
If you suffer a severe chronic condition, talk to your treating physician before starting to fast. It is not suitable if you are underweight, battle cancer, AIDS or another severe infection!
How do I benefit?
The effects of fasting were lately researched in many scientific studies. They show that fasting relieves the digestive system, which also supports the immune systems recovery that is largely located in our bowel. Stored toxins, residues of proteins and metabolic end products are increasingly eliminated. This way the skin clears and connective tissues strengthen. Our sleep and ability to concentrate improve. Intermittent fasting also reduces the risk for typical civilisation diseases like cardio vascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes type 2 and lipometabolic disorder (high cholesterol levels). The nervous system benefits as well, because short-term fasting stimulates the production of protective proteins and enzymes. And of course fasting facilitates weight loss!
If you don’t have the time and motivation for a 3-week fast, intermittent fasting might be right for you. The eating periods are shortened and the non-eating periods prolonged. In eating phases you can eat as much as you like. But don’t overeat!
- 12h fast: The easiest form. You only eat within 12 hours of the day, e.g. between 7 am and 7 pm. This type of fasting you can conduct for a longer period of time.
- 14–16h fast: The period of eating is shortened to 10 or 8 hours. You only eat between 8am and 6pm or 10am and 6pm. Choose times that fit in your daily life.
- 5:2 fast: You choose 2 days of fasting a week, during which you only drink liquids for 24h. For example, your last meal is Tuesday at 6pm and your first meal on Wednesday is 6pm. This version is suitable as a cure for 4 to 8 weeks.
- Alternate fast: Here you eat one day and fast the next, then you eat, you fast,… This requires more discipline and also should be conducted as a cure. Health benefits will occur quicker in this version, especially weight loss.
No matter how long your fasting periods are, it is always important to hydrate properly. Try to drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water or herb infusions a day. If you feel dizzy or experience extreme hunger during fasting periods, eat some fruit. After all, you can try again tomorrow!