Whether you want to ward off infection, seek Spiritual connection, need a gut microbe rhythm reset, or help with insulin and blood sugar regulation, digestive rest or fasting may be something to consider.
“Starve a fever.” Rest, fever, and fasting are part of the secret recipe to fight infection. Where does most of the war rage? At least 70 percent in the gut. If the gut is busy digesting food, it struggles to focus on warding off infection.
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. Fasting helps unclog and free up the lymphatic system, which is where we find the other 30 percent of our immune defense.
The state of fasting is a state for spiritual connection. Historically, fasting began as a natural expression of grief. Scripture describes fasting as “afflicting” one’s soul or body (Isaiah 58:3–5). Many people of faith use periods of fasting to provide space for stronger spiritual connection.
Regardless of the path you walk, fasting can be a time to break away from feeding the physical body to connect and fill the void with the Holy and Divine Spirit. Often while we fast, we sleep. We dream. If we are not digesting things of this world—emotions, food, or the energies of those around us—we have the full opportunity to digest the word and world of the Holy and Divine Spirit.
Gut Rhythm Restore
Time-restricted eating, such as most do for eight to twelve hours every night, can restore healthy cycling of the gut microbiota. If that doesn’t work, fasting for an extended period can normalize out-of-sync gut microbe rhythms. It can even reverse some negative effects associated with circadian disruption, such as insulin resistance. This is crucial to control blood sugar and inflammatory factors.
Insulin and Blood Sugar Regulation
There is no one right way to fast. In his book A Complete Guide to Fasting, Jason Fung, MD, explains that barring the intake of food will eventually force the body to go to the fat stores to access that for energy. Insulin gets a break as it is not needed to counter the bolus of sugars coming from the digestive tract. Thus, fasting has been known to reverse type 2 diabetes. Note that while fasting, it is critically important is to keep well hydrated and maintain a natural level of important minerals.
Is Fasting Right for You?
Naturally, one should not fast if pregnant or breastfeeding, nor if they have little fat to sustain themselves. Diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar and be medically supervised to ensure prescribed drug dosage is adjusted as their body’s insulin regulation responds to the fasting. Ask your doctor how long or what type of fasting may be best suited for your desired results.
Manoogian, E., & Panda, S. (2017). Circadian rhythms, time-restricted feeding, and healthy aging. Ageing Research Reviews, 39, 59–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2016.12.006
Kaczmarek, J. L., Thompson, S. V., & Holscher, H. D. (2017). Complex interactions of circadian rhythms, eating behaviors, and the gastrointestinal microbiota and their potential impact on health. Nutrition Reviews, 75(9), 673–682. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nux036