HEALTH

Cleansing: A Modern Take On An Ancient Practice

"There is something kind of magical about starvation." Dr. Marc Hellerstein, Professor of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at UC Berkeley

One of the current and intriguing topics in health communities is fasting and juice cleansing. Fasting, in brief, is abstaining for some or all of kinds of food or drink. Fasting is an ancient tradition that is now being respected and praised due to intriguing scientific research. A more recent evolution from the traditional fast is juice cleansing, incorporating large amounts of fruits and vegetables during a fast to keep the body performing optimally while still receiving the benefits of fasting.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged… Everything [is getting] a little younger and it goes back to working much better.” Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute

There are many different things to consider when thinking about how a juice fast may be beneficial. The first part is what you aren’t eating. You’re not eating processed foods, refined sugars, artificial colourings/flavourings, and everything else that falls into that category of foods that negatively impact your health. Those are pretty much the guidelines to the Whole30 diet and the Paleo diet, which both seem to be steadily gaining popularity.

The next important consideration is what you are putting into your body: pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only are you getting the metabolic benefits of fasting, which has been shown to regenerate the entire immune system, and may slow the aging process (Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system), but fresh fruits and vegetable juice is being provided for the body to be absorb immediately. No fiber? No problem. Some nutrients are bound to plant fiber, which are only made available to your body only after your body exerts energy to break the fiber down. Cold pressing fruits and vegetables can free up the majority of these nutrients, and allows your body to effortlessly assimilate the nutrients into your body. (Remember, this is a cleanse, where the body is getting a rest. Otherwise, fiber is vital for health, the more whole fruits and vegetables the better.)

You Are What You Eat (And Drink). The benefit of a juice cleanse is providing vital nutrition that that help the body to rejuvenate itself on a cellular level. Your body uses the nutrients from food to make new cells to replace itself on a regular basis, which means you literally are what you eat and drink. Your intestines, for instance, are cellularly replaced every 2-3 days and taste buds take about 10 days to regenerate. The skin take about 2-4 weeks to replace itself, as does the surface layer of cells in the lungs.  

Beat The Cravings. Cravings can be somewhat of a hurdle for most people. Resisting the urge to eat something sugary or salty can be a daunting task during a juice cleanse. The brightside during those moments of perceived agony? The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more you crave them, and the less you crave things like sugar and salt. Since taste buds replace themselves every 10 days, if you eat salad everyday for that period of time, your taste buds will start to crave things like salad over sugary foods. Over time, you can train your taste buds to become more sensitive to things like sugar and salt by what you eat, so you can use less but still get the same satisfaction from them.

Cleanse to feel better. Cleanse to avoid unhealthy foods (and permanently break bad habits). Nourish yourself with pounds of fruits and vegetables. 

Here’s article that details 10 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting