Benefits of Fasting

healthy foodIn over-fed America, fasting may seem a far-fetched idea. Why would anyone in their right mind want to starve themselves? The reasons are many and may surprise you. It is also a practice that has been practiced for thousands of years, and was often prescribed by the ancient physician, Hippocrates. A revolutionary physician known as Paracelsus, during the Middle Ages stated, “Fasting is the greatest remedy – the physician within.”

What is Fasting?

First of all, fasting has nothing to do with starving yourself. In its most basic form, fasting is abstaining from food and liquids other than water. There are different kinds of fasting, but the one thing they have in common is the exclusion of selected foods or liquids for a specific period of time.

In today’s modern world, the definition of fasting has been expanded to include different varieties of modified fasting. Modified fasting permits the addition of certain foods such as fruit juice or broth, or other healthy food. Technically, these are actually “diets.” They are sometimes called “detox diets,” “cleansing diets,” or even “fasting diets.” There are many shades of grey when it comes to fasting, cleansing and a regular diet.

In his book Fasting Can Save Your Life by Herbert Shelton, he states that fasting is 1695650382_989846bf18_zabstaining from food when a person has enough nutritional reserves to provide nourishment to vital organs. Starvation begins when a person’s reserves are exhausted and vital organs begin to suffer damage.

The Benefits of Fasting

Over the centuries, fasting has been encouraged as a way of healing many health problems, as well as providing mental benefits. The benefits of fasting are:

  • Allows for detoxification and cleansing of the body
  • Cleanses and heals “stuck” patterns of emotions
  • Rests the digestive system
  • Promotes mental clarity
  • Provides an increasing energy level and a feeling of physical lightness
  • Enhances spiritual connections and promotes inner peace

Many call fasting a “miracle cure” because it can be used to treat most any ailment, among them, arthritis, digestive disorders, allergies, cardiovascular disease, asthma and skin disorders.

The body becomes overworked with the constant influx of food, which takes energy to process. When we fast, that energy is turned to other processes in the body, such as healing. While fasting, the body does housecleaning and rids itself of toxins, repairs cells, and produces new healthy cells.

Doctor Gabriel Cousens, a doctor of psychiatry, family therapist and doctor of holistic medicine probably sums it up best. He speaks about observations he made during a study on fasting. He observed that after four days, the participants’ concentration and creative thinking appeared to improve, insomnia stopped, depression and anxiety lifted, and the mind became more calm and the spirit more joyful. He believed that the act of fasting allows the body to rid the brain of harmful toxins that inevitably leads to clearer thought processes.

The clearing of toxins from the body and the energy made available during fasting
allows the body to renew and heal itself.

Even a short, one day fast can be beneficial, but two or three days is more effective. You might try an apple fast over the weekend. Eat 3-4 apples each day and drink 2 quarts of water. During your fast, you may experience flu-like symptoms, as when you have the flu, your body is working to heal itself.

The body truly has the ability to heal itself when provided the opportunity. Your body can be its own internal medicine doctor through holistic medicine and integrative medicine practices. Achieving health and wellness takes work, but the benefits are priceless.

If you would like to learn more about holistic and integrative medicine, contact Dr. Jorge Bordenave at Miami Integrative Medicine and learn what a difference alternative treatments can make to your health and life.

Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing


Going Vegetarian

veggieThere is a lot of information floating around lately about the health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet. Living in any large area such as downtown Miami, fresh fruit and vegetables are easily available. Talk to Dr. Bordenave and see if going vegetarian is right for you.

Fabulous Fiber

It almost goes without saying that everyone knows that eating a healthy diet is paramount to health and wellness. Although eating a healthy diet doesn’t always translate into living disease free because outside forces such as environment and genetics also play a part. In addition, as we age, joints begin to creak and energy levels drop. However, eating a healthy diet can slow the effects of old age and provide a lot of benefits throughout your life.

oatmeal and blueberriesThe Magic of Fiber

If there was a magic ingredient easily found in many foods that is not only inexpensive, tasty, can help you lose weight, avoid dangerous diseases and live longer, would you want to use it every day? Of course you would. However, there is such an ingredient and most of us choose to ignore it.

The magic ingredient is fiber, and 80% of us make the mistake of not getting the recommended amount of fiber each day.

New Research

New research published in The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) in December, reports on a study of 23,168 people who were monitored for their consumption of fiber. Of those studied, 80% took in far less than the recommended amount. Most of the men in the study consumed an average of less than half the amount required to keep a healthy heart.

Those who ate the least amount of fiber had a much-increased rate of risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors included chronic inflammation, obesity and a group of disorders called metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is described as a group of medical disorders, that when they occur together, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by double and quintuples it for diabetes. There are studies that estimate that 25% of the American population suffers from this.

This group of disorders includes an increased blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and excess fat around the belly. Any one of these symptoms may increase your chances of heart disease or diabetes however, having them all together increases your risk significantly more.

Benefits of Fiberfiber foods

Something that most everyone knows about fiber is that it is good for the digestive system and helps to avoid constipation and diarrhea by keeping food in the intestines moving along in a normal fashion.

There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Either one is good for your digestive health. Research is growing that fiber helps control heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes (by controlling blood glucose levels), lowers cholesterol, helps control diverticular diseases, gallstones and kidney stones. All of these medical problems can be helped greatly by including the recommended amount of fiber in your diet. It can also help you lose or maintain weight by helping you feel full and it will contribute to your overall feeling of wellness.

Fiber Recommendations

The AJM study showed that most people get less than half the recommended daily amount of fiber each day. Here is what you should aim for on a daily basis:

  • Men aged 19 to 50                        38 grams
  • Men aged over 50                         30 grams
  • Women aged 19 to 50                  25 grams
  • Women aged over 50                   21 grams
  • Children age 1 to 3                       19 grams
  • Children age 4 to 8                       25 grams
  • Girls age 9 to 13                           26 grams
  • Girls age 14 to 18                         29 grams
  • Boys age 9 to 13                          31 grams
  • Boys age 14 to 18                        31 grams

fruit saladMeeting the Requirements

Perhaps part of the problem with getting enough fiber is translating grams of fiber into the food items we eat. You can find an excellent chart here. The information here helps translate grams of fiber into measurements that make more sense:

  • Applesauce                          2/3 cup                     3.6 grams
  • Baked Beans                        1 cup                       16 grams
  • Pinto Beans                          1 cup                       18.8 grams
  • Whole Wheat Bread             2 slices                    6 grams
  • Broccoli                             ¾ cup cooked            7 grams
  • Carrots                              ½ cup cooked            3.4 grams
  • Noodles whole wheat       1 cup                          5.7 grams
  • Peach                               1 medium                   2.3 grams

These are just a few examples of the information you will find. It can significantly improve your intake of fiber when you know how much of what will help you meet your daily requirements. Also, check the nutrition information on canned and boxed foods for fiber content. Getting enough fiber in your diet is important whether you follow modern medicine, holistic medicine or integrative medicine. Contact us at Miami Integrative Medicine and talk to Dr. Bordenave about a healthy diet that is best for you.


Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing





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