Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Healing Fast

 I started a week of Intermittant Fasting yesterday with a 19 hour fast. I have been struggling with some sinus issues of late that has not developed into a full fledged head/chest cold but has not cleared up either.Symptoms periodically include a runny nose, inflammation of the sinus cavities, phlemy throat and pressure around the eyes and cheeks.The plan will be to adjust my usual daily meal frequency to give my body some extra fasted time.Aiming for 19 hour + fasts this week by pushing my eat window back to late afternoon/early evening.

 Fasting and Hormesis

I do find interesting the hormesis aspect of fasting. Hormesis, in layman's terms, is the application of limited stresses to the body which over the long term would be detrimental to wellbeing. Over the short term they make us adaptive and stronger. Exercise is the classic example - we become fitter but over training eventually makes us ill and/or broken. The periodic stresses of exercise have many beneficial outcomes.....

"Exercise is a form of hormesis. It's a stress placed upon the body that increases resistance to a number of other stressors: physical exertion, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, age-related cognitive decline, neurodegenerative disease, etc......."


It is really no different for fasting. Abstaining from food will eventually kill you but periodic fasting will improve health markers and make you metabolically stronger. 

The premise I am experimenting with this week is whether intermittant fasting lets the body focus on healing and repair by diverting metabolism(energy) from digestion(stomach) to areas of the body that needs additional attention. In my case it's my troublesome sinuses.

"The goal is taking in your calories in a shorter time window, or taking a day off eating so your body can do some much needed internal gut cleaning...Healing takes alot of the body’s resources and energies but digestion takes up alot too.(Fasting) helps us rebuild our sick cells and detoxify the body."
                                                                                   M Sisson

Fasting offers improved immune function as well as opportunities for detoxing among other beneficial healing properties.....

"- HEAL a host of minor (and sometimes major) health disorders
 - help you lose weight and keep it off
 -CLEANSE your body of metabolic wastes and toxins
 -improve your skin tone and health, making you look younger
 -stimulate new cell growth, making you feel younger
-STRENGTHEN your immune system and natural defenses
 -IMPROVE glandular health and hormonal balance
 -increase mental clarity
 -enhance your moods, enjoy a more positive outlook
 -give you more energy and enthusiasm
 -enhance your spiritual connection"


Sinus Congestion and Intermittent Fasting

Will escalating my usual IFing regimen improve my sinus congestion and excess mucous? A search of Google seemed to indicate an improvement through fasting based upon many personal ancedotes. The question remains whether improvement was because fasting increased the efficiency of the immune response, fasting limited the consumption of mucous producing foods or if fasting limits/ prevents/heals inflammation within the body. Perhaps a combination of all?

Immune System and fasting

Mucus Producing Foods

Imflammation and Fasting

What about hydration? Regardless of what style of fast you adhere too they all advocate lots of clear fluids, pure juices and teas. Does proper hydration also stimulate a better immune response, alleviate congestion and prevent inflammation? Hydration might be a basic common denominator in all three?

"Poor hydration weakens the body's immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances, which can eventually cause sickness and premature aging...."

"The drainage of mucous from the sinuses can also be impaired by thickening of the mucous secretions, by decrease in hydration (water content) of the mucous brought on by disease, drying medications (antihistamines), and lack of sufficient humidity in the air...."

"Drink lots of water: Remember to keep yourself well hydrated. When inflammation occurs anywhere in our body, our body naturally sends more of our body's water to the point of inflammation to help it heal. Proper hydration is can greatly reduce the pain that comes with inflamed and dehydrated muscles....."

Is that why fasting can be such an effective weapon in one's wellness order of battle? You strengthen, heal and cleanse the body but the very nature of fasting lends itself to sufficient hydration through the consumption of non caloric fluids in lieu of foods. Being properly hydrated in turn facilitates the beneficial effectiveness of strengthening, healing and cleasning. The classic win-win scenario.


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