Many of the admonitions in the Bible produce not only spiritual health, but physical health as well. For example, Jesus tells us not to worry, but instead to trust God. If we obey this command, we grow closer to God.
But also, as medical science has taught us in recent years, if we obey this command not to worry, but to instead put our trust in God, we are much healthier than people who choose to worry. This is because worry is stress and stress is enormously harmful to our health. In fact, the role of stress as a contributor to major disease and illness is growing the more we research it.
Another admonition we see in the Bible, that of fasting, is one that produces health benefits as well as spiritual. We know that fasting is a time to go without food so that you can grow closer to God through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit moving in you during this time of humility.
But did you know that fasting is also really good for your health? Once again, God's commandments benefit us on many levels.
Fasting leads to weight loss, which of course is good for most people because most people are overweight. But fasting also boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, gives your digestive system a chance to relax and repair, promotes detoxification and can even help fight addiction.
It's important to remember to drink plenty of water while fasting so you don't get dehyrated, which can lead to problems such as migraine headaches. Pregnant women and some people with health issues like heart arrhythmias and kidney problems might be advised not to fast.
There are many ways to fast. You can simply go without any food at all for days at a time. That's pretty tough.
Then there are people who simply restrict their calories every day and only eat certain healthy food. The "Daniel Fast" is like that. It's very popular among Christians these days and harkens back to the Old Testament prophet Daniel, who only ate vegetables and the like.
The "Daniel Fast" involves eating only food in its natural state, such as fresh vegetables and fruit. Some fasts consist of going without food for one or two days a week and eating regularly the other days.
Then there's what's known as intermittent fasting, which means you go without food for 18 hours every day and only eat during a six hour window. For instance, one might eat only between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 pm.
This type of intermittent fasting is arguably the easiest type of fasting to stick with. The health benefits are numerous. Although the above example of eating only between 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. might raise the ire of those who promote breakfast eating as a path to weight loss and good health, one could always choose to eat between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and still eat breakfast.
Believe it or not, it takes about six to eight hours for your body to burn all the sugar out of your system after you eat. It's only then that the body switches into fat-burning mode. If you eat so often that your body is always in sugar-burning mode, you never have a chance to burn-off that unhealthy fat.
As if the idea of intermittent fasting isn't convincing enough, the good news is scientists have conducted many studies on the results of intermittent fasting, and they reveal positive health outcomes. These include increased insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, which translates into a slowing of aging and disease.
Also, intermittent fasting has been shown to mimic exercise, in that it causes the body to resist stress, disease, and aging by triggering a cellular stress response in which our bodies are strengthened in a manner that increases our capacity to cope with all kinds of stressors it encounters.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting has proven to reduce oxidative stress, which means the number of oxidative radicals in the cell are fewer, therefore preventing oxidative damage to the cells, which is linked to aging and disease.
On a personal note, I have been intermittent fasting every day for three weeks and l love it! I have more energy and mental clarity, I've lost weight and sleep better. I choose to eat only between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I was told you can eat "anything you want" during your six hours of eating, but there are certain foods I just won't eat, no matter what, such as sugar, gluten, processed foods, and dairy.
I am a huge proponent of healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avacados and nuts, so I eat plenty of those healthy fats during my eating hours, as well as vegetables, of course, and some berries.
If you are curious about whether intermittent fasting is right for you, there's one way to find out....try it! Just try it for a few days. It will get easier as time progresses, you start experiencing the positive results in both your physical health and hopefully your spiritual health as well.