benefits of fastingWith start of Ramadan approaching on Saturday, I thought it’d be apt to put up a guide to the benefits of fasting. Whether you’re religious or not, fasting is something that has permeated every culture, religion, and history.

And for good reason. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it for religious reasons or health reasons, fasting can be a way to rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul.

Enjoy these 5 benefits and if you’re currently fasting or will be in the near future, drop a comment. I’d love to hear what your reasons were for your decision.

1. Retune your digestive system

Not many people know this but fasting can be a way for you to give your digestive system a tune up. According to Dr. Naomi Neufeld, an endocrinologist at UCLA, “You re-tune the body, suppress insulin secretion, reduce the taste for sugar, so sugar becomes something you’re less fond of taking.”

What happens is that the body eventually uses up the stored sugar (glycogen) so that less insultin is needed to help the body digest food. And that gives your pancreas a rest.

2. Reduce your intake of free radicals

Mark Mattson, a scientist with the National Institute on Aging, has reported that fasting can reduce your intake of free radicals, which can cause cancer. In fact, according to Mattson, “These free radicals will attack proteins, DNA, the nucleus of cells, the membranes of cells. They can damage all those different molecules in cells.”

Even just reducing your calorie intake can have the same effects as a fast. In a study amongst rats and mice, it was noted that those who were fed very little and restricted in their food intake had a reduction in disease compared to those who were fed normal daily diets.

3. Speed up your journey to self-discovery

We are all creatures of habit. And eating, just like smoking and sleeping, is a habit. What happens during a fast is that by taking away such an essential part of your daily routine, you mess up your whole schedule. This sounds bad but it’s not. It’s really a time to reflect on your routines and give you a pause to think about how you want your life to move forward.

By fasting, you become more conscious of yourself and you can take the time usually spent eating to meditate, journal, or do any other form of reflection.

4. Increase your gratitude

How could you not be grateful to break your fast? And after each day when you do break fast, it’s a celebration. A celebration for a completed day of fasting, reflection, and persistence. So rejoice and celebrate your success! Show gratitude to yourself and others.

And when you break your fast, you will be very very happy to taste food again. And contrary to some beliefs, you won’t binge on food. In fact you will be more conscious of what you allow into your body and feel gratitude for the food you receive.

5. Launch yourself into your ideal life

Sounds like a pretty big benefit for something as simple as fasting. But it’s true. When you begin your fast you can take this time to break old patterns, examine your current situation, and use it as the starting point for a whole new life.

What really makes this possible is that by fasting you are exhibiting control over yourself and your situation. And controlling your eating habits may be one of the hardest things to do. For each day you complete a successful fast, you condition your mind into to believe it can and will do anything. You are training your mind to be successful. And after days of a successful fasting your mind will be neurologically conditioned for success.

So the next time you set a goal for yourself, it’ll be easier to attain!

There are tons more reasons why fasting can be good for you and before you begin a fast, check out some resources for the safest and best way to do so.