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What are the pros and cons of fasting?

Q: What are the pros and cons of fasting? Does it help in reducing cholesterol?

A:Fasting is the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water in an environment of total rest. There has been much contention in the scientific field about whether or not fasting is beneficial to ones health. When properly done, fasting is a safe and effective means of maximizing the body’s self-healing capacities. The body rids itself of the toxins that have built up in our fat stores throughout the years. The body heals itself and repairs all the damaged organs during a fast. And finally there is good evidence to show that regulated fasting contributes to longer life. Fasting is the worlds most ancient and natural healing mechanism. It triggers a truly wondrous cleansing process that reaches right down to each and every cell and tissue in the body. Within 24 hours of curtailing food intake, enzymes stop entering the stomach and travel instead into the intestines and into the bloodstream, where they circulate and gobble up all sorts of waste matter including dead and damaged cells, unwelcome microbes, metabolic wastes and pollutants. All organs and glands get a much-needed and well-deserved rest, during which their tissues are purified and rejuvenated and their functions balanced and regulated. Most fasters also experience a new vibrancy of their skin and clarity of mind and body. The benefits of fasting on health do not stop there but are instrumental in alleviating a number of physical diseases including those of the digestive system such as chronic stomach ache, inflammation of the colon, liver diseases, indigestion and conditions such as obesity, arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, asthma and many other maladies. In conclusion, it seems that there are many reasons to consider fasting as a benefit to ones health. But fasting should have its regulations too; not simply the disorderly skipping of meals, that is bound to harm health and stamina rather than improving them. Many doctors warn against fasting for extended periods of time without supervision. The idea of depriving a body of what society has come to view as so essential to our survival in order to heal continues to be a topic of controversy. If fasting is overused, it may create depletion and weakness, lower resistance and allow diseases to begin. Certain people are not good candidates for fasting. Others may enjoy fasting so much that they overindulge in it and take it beyond the limits of normal elimination, resulting in protein and other nutritional deficits, reduced immunity and loss of energy. While fasting allows the organs, tissues and cells to rest, the body needs the nourishment provided by food to function after it has used its stores. Malnourished people should definitely not fast nor should some overweight people who are undernourished. Others who should not fast include people with fatigue resulting from nutrient deficiency, those with chronic degenerative disease of the muscles or bones, those who are underweight, pregnant or lactating women, people who have weak hearts as well as those with reduced immunity such as cancer patients.

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