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Medicina Funcional Integrativa

Therapeutic fasting: does it cleanse the body and soul?

Therapeutic fasting aims to detoxify the organism and improve general body functions. Does this fast cleanse the soul and body itself?

Fasting means total or partial absence of food. It can be carried out for several reasons, with medical or religious reasons being the most frequent.

In religious terms, fasting is used as a way of purifying the body and consequently the soul. Muslims, for example, literally enforce periods of fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Catholics and Evangelicals end up using abstinence more, which consists of eliminating a specific food, practice or addiction – such as, for example, for Catholics, abstinence from meat on Fridays in Lent.

In medical terms, the most common fasting happens when you are going to do some analysis, exam or surgery that requires the digestive system to be clean and no absorption of nutrients has occurred for several hours.

But there is the so-called “Therapeutic Fasting” which aims to detoxify the body and improve functions in general terms.

What is Therapeutic Fasting?
Therapeutic fasting is a technique widely used in Eastern medicine.

It is a progressive process that occurs in stages, with the most restrictive stage consisting only of liquids of vegetable origin. After the liquid period, normal eating resumes.

In the initial and progressive phase, the first step is to eliminate food of animal origin (dairy products, meat, fish, eggs).

Then the consistency of the food must be less and less solid in order to facilitate the digestive process. The intake of proteins and fats (soy, legumes, butter, olive oil and other oils) is reduced.

The peak of therapeutic fasting lasts for a maximum of 3 days, with only water and fruit juices in a total of 4 to 5 liters per day, to ensure caloric intake. Juices should be drunk every 2 hours, alternating with water.

It is preferable to make juices and not smoothies and normally these diets are encouraged between March and September.

After these 3 days, follow the opposite path, starting to make the consistency of the food more solid (moving first to cooked fruit, for example), then introducing proteins and fats until you are eating your normal diet.

So you can do a maximum of 7 days: 2 days of transition, 3 days of fasting with juices and another 2 days of transition to normal food.

For a lighter detox, taking advantage of a weekend for example, you can do 1 transition day + 1 day of fasting with juices + 1 transition day to normal food.

There are studies that show benefits of therapeutic fasting in various pathologies (for example here, here and here) but this process should always be accompanied by a doctor.

Fasting longer than 3 days does not raise consensus among health professionals and may even be harmful.

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