Fasting can be stimulating not only for the body, and the regeneration of cells, but for the regeneration of cells in the mind. For centuries religious fasts have been occurring to bring one closer with the divine, and to increase spiritual awareness. Today, fasting occurs mainly in traditional eastern medicine and traditional practices. What are the benefits for the mind of fasting? Are there techniques that we can apply while fasting to increase mental awareness or brain function?
There are three types of fasting: dry fasting, juice fasting, and modified fasting. Dry fasting is when the individual refrains from all food and drink throughout the fasting period. Juice fasting allows the individual to consume water, as well as pure vegetable and fruit juices that contain no modified sugars. Modified fasting often involves water and juices, as well as small quantities of herbal teas or steamed vegetables. The most common type of fasting that restores mental alertness is juice fasting, as the body is still gaining valuable nutritional requirements.
Mental alertness is said to increase with the practice of fasting. Fasting has been shown to stabilize mental functions, and decrease nervousness within the individual.
Not only can mental health be increased, but fasting can help to cure the body of habits that have been developed such as alcohol, caffeine or bad foods. They release the chemicals from the body, and the brain loses the dependence on these items.
Mental alertness may be increased by the willpower and energy that it requires to abstain from all sources of food and drink during the time while one is fasting.
At the beginning of the fast, energy levels are increased as the carbohydrates and sugars are being drawn from the body. After these have been excreted, the body enters a state of autolysis, in which it refers to its own supply of cells for energy. This increased energy level often gives the individual who is fasting the determination to continue on the fast.
Individuals that fast for religious reasons or otherwise have all reported a peace of mind or tranquility that comes with the fasting. These increased levels of peace have led to studies that have correlated fasting with decreased levels of stress.
There are many benefits to fasting, and these are only a few of the known mental health benefits. Fasting can increase your mental awareness by giving a feeling of strength over the needs of the body, which can lead to stronger immune and belief systems alike.