THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF FASTING
The Health Benefits of Fasting
July 28, 2018
At its heart, Appreciation Inquiry is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the strengths-filled, opportunity-rich world around them. Appreciative Inquiry is not so much a shift in the methods and models of organizational change, but a fundamental shift in the overall perspective taken throughout the entire change process to ‘see’ the wholeness of the human system and to “inquire” into that system’s strengths, possibilities, and successes (Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry, 2018). Appreciative Inquiry is a term that I became enlightened to in a Liberal Studies course during the matriculation of my collegiate tenure at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Becoming aware of this liberal concept allowed me to approach the topic of the health benefits of fasting by providing both biological reference and connotation, with that simply of my own appreciative sentiments that stem from my personal experience with fasting. I believe merging the two perspectives offer a more balanced insight into the choice topic.
If I had to offer my appreciative thoughts towards the health benefits of fasting, I would choose to expound upon the spiritual and physical benefits that I have personally experienced, and benefits in which I would use to encourage others to consider when deciding whether or not they should fast. As a believer in the Christian faith, a compass of spiritual guidance and direction that I frequent most often is The Bible. Specifically relating to this topic, there is a scripture that states in one of the Gospels, as there are four total, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, King James Version). This scripture was used about Jesus responding to the concern of his disciples as to why they could not cast out a demon out of a young child. In the contextual frame of what happened, ultimately it was their unbelief in their spiritual abilities that prevented them from doing what they had the propensity to do. However, Jesus informed them that the spiritual bondage that encapsulated the child could only be released off his life by a level of discipline reflected in the form of prayer and fasting. What am I suggesting? I personally believe that fasting frees you from the spiritual bondage that is designed to stop your progression in life, as well as, ultimately defeat you. I know this, because I have personally struggled with being free from challenges that were not done away with by taking natural measures. When I subjected my spiritual being to a level of discipline that did not naturally feel good, from refraining to eat, I literally felt my inner, spiritual being freed. One may ask, what does this have to do with the “health” aspect of fasting. According to our course text, the “fight-or-fight” hormones are secreted by the adrenal medulla. The adrenal medulla is the central portion of an adrenal gland, controlled by nerve signals; secretes the fight-or-flight hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. The epinephrine and norepinephrine prepare the body for action by raising blood pressure, breathing rate, heart rate, and metabolic rate Simon, Dickey, Hogan, Reece (2016). Many, including myself, have experienced what poor health FEELS like because of what we cope with internally from life’s challenges, hardships, and transitions. Often, what we mentally endure reflects and manifests itself in our physical health, in the form of stress induced ailments and complications such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart palpitations and more highlighted in our text. When you fast for spiritual reasons, you in turn address your issues at the root, and consequently, obliterate physical health issues that may have been a reflection of an inward issue. The physical health benefit of fasting, and perhaps one of the most commonly known benefits, is that of weight loss. According to the United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, health benefits related to weight loss include improvement in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides. Our bodies need cholesterol to work properly, but too much cholesterol in your blood raises your risk of coronary artery disease. As it relates to triglycerides, elevated levels may be a risk factor for liver disease, diabetes, and kidney disease (Wedro, 2018).
In conclusion, there are both spiritual and physical health benefits to fasting. I would certainly encourage every reader of this scholarly document to research what benefits would be most productively yielding to them predicated on their goals. There are different types of fasting that were not explored within this research paper due to the specifics that needed to be addressed, however, I believe there is a system that is successful for everyone. While fasting may seem like a daunting task, overall, its benefits outweigh the reservations you may have, and will cause you to want to share it with others. Happy fasting!
Top of Form
Benjamin Wedro, F. (2018). Triglyceride Level: How to Lower High Triglycerides. online MedicineNet. Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/triglyceride_test/article.htm# Accessed 26 Jul. 2018.
Campbell, N., Reece, J. and Simon, E. (2007). Essential biology. 6th ed. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings, p.Chapter 25.
The Appreciative Inquiry Commons. (2018). Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry – The Appreciative Inquiry Commons. online Available at: https://appreciativeinquiry.champlain.edu/learn/appreciative-inquiry-introduction/ Accessed 27 Jul. 2018.