Fasting - Instructions and Health Benefits

Fasting - Instructions and Health Benefits

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Fast has a long tradition, based on health, religious and ethical motives. For centuries, fasting took place in churches and monasteries, but the health aspects were often neglected.

Fasting originally meant refraining from solid foods and luxury foods for a limited period of time, providing adequate hydration and regularly emptying the intestines. Fasting is internal purification of the body, but also of the mind. Relaxation exercises, walks in the fresh air, reading a good book - all of these support the cleaning process and lead to a good body feeling. In the Christian tradition, fasting begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days. For many people today, Ash Wednesday is still the right day to start a fasting cure, although the type of fasting has changed over the centuries.

A wide variety of fasting types exist today. These not only aim to avoid solid food, but are, for example, restricted to certain foods.

How fasting is determined by yourself or by the doctor treating you. What is important are the so-called relief days, which lead the body to the actual fast, the colon cleansing and the days during which the organism can slowly get used to the normal, solid diet again.


Fasting relieves the metabolism, purifies and cleanses the entire organism. Superfluous metabolic products are broken down, allowing the body to recover. For many, fasting has a pleasant side effect - one or two pounds falls off.

Physiological processes

Fasting serves to normalize the digestive juices. This reduces the acidity of the gastric juice, the bile juice increases initially, then decreases in the course, semolina and mucus are released. The intestine is emptied and cleaned at the beginning of the fasting days. This has a positive effect on the villi, which are then better able to pass on nutrients.

Elimination is also boosted. Tissue slag is released, stored substances, often felt by so-called myogeloses, are dissolved. Weight loss is actually just a side effect. In the foreground is a change of mind of the body, which stimulates the self-healing powers and in this way not only the organism recovers, but also soul and spirit benefit from it.

Who shouldn't fast

Not everyone is suitable for fasting. If there are marked weaknesses and / or cardiovascular or kidney diseases, you should not fast. Fasting is also contraindicated in severe diseases such as cancer, acute infectious diseases and in patients with a psychiatric history or eating disorders. Children, adolescents, pregnant women and nursing mothers should also not fast. If you are not quite sure, consult your doctor before you start fasting. In the case of existing diseases, inpatient therapeutic fasting can be carried out in a suitable clinic.


Fasting is best when there is time, rest and some leisure. The duration of the fast is individual - five days, one week, two weeks.

Traditional fasting does not allow solid food. Black tea, coffee, alcohol and nicotine are prohibited in any fasting cure. Adequate hydration is very important. Still water or herbal tea and at least 2.5 liters of it are drunk throughout the day. Only in this way can metabolic products really be excreted.

A bowel cleansing with certain salts such as Glauber's salt, Epsom salt or passage salt is used to prepare for fasting, the latter being the mildest of the three. Hildegard von Bingen recommends a special ginger spice for emptying the intestine and with other forms of fasting, the enema is more the method of choice.

On two or three days before the actual fasting cure, these are the so-called relief days, only light meals are eaten to slowly prepare the body. Fasting is ended by the so-called fasting break, usually in the form of an apple. This is chewed very slowly and consciously. After that, several days of development are important, on which the body can get used to normal food very slowly and gently.

How fasting is determined by yourself or by the doctor treating you. Usually the feeling of hunger subsides after a few days. If you feel weak, a teaspoon of honey in tea can help.

The most varied fasting variations

In the past, fasting was simply defined - no solid food, lots of fluids and no stimulants. This traditional type of fasting still exists, of course, but a variety of fasting variations have been added. Some known species are described in more detail in the following lines.

Fasting according to Buchinger

Fasting according to Buchinger - or also called therapeutic fasting - is probably the best known way. Here, solid food is consistently avoided. The body is switched to a low flame, the fat deposits are on the collar.

It starts with two relief days, on which only vegetables, fruit and rice are eaten and tea or still water is drunk. The first real day of fasting begins with a bowel movement, immediately after getting up. The colon cleansing salt is available in the pharmacy. If the digestion does not work properly during fasting, it is stimulated every two days with the help of enemas or laxative teas.

On the fasting days, a large cup of tea of ​​your choice is drunk in the morning (herbal tea, base tea or a special fasting tea). A yeast-free vegetable broth or a glass of fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water is the meal for lunch or dinner, depending on your taste. You have to drink enough throughout the day. In case of dizziness or weakness, the tea can be enriched with a little honey, as already mentioned above.

As a rule, fasting takes place for at least five days, but the fasting cure should be finished after 14 days at the latest.

Fasting according to Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen, the abbess who lived in the Middle Ages and whose life was naturopathy, also dealt with fasting. Health aspects, but also spirituality were important to her. This is how she describes that when fasting is focused on yourself, the mind becomes clear and access to your soul can be found again. Man comes into harmony with himself again.

Fasting according to Hildegard von Bingen is a gentle variant. The relief days consist of fruit and vegetables. The discharge is carried out with so-called mixed ginger powder (ginger, galangal, citron), which is much gentler than the salt variant: in the morning you can let a teaspoon melt in your mouth on an empty stomach. This should be done daily throughout Lent. According to Hildegard von Bingen, this powder only brings the “bad” outside and the good stays in the body. In addition, she recommends an enema with warm water or fennel tea every two days.

Herbal tea and especially fennel tea should be drunk, as this is very basic and has a positive effect on the intestinal flora. Small amounts of spelled coffee are also allowed. A vegetable broth with spelled is eaten once or twice a day. Hildegard von Bingen recommends getting a heart wine (parsley-honey wine) for fasting, which can serve well in fasting crises (weakness, low blood pressure, etc.).

After about five days the fasting break follows - the transition to normal food. This fasting break is carried out by Hildegard von Bingen with a baked apple prepared with honey, cinnamon and sweet almonds. Chewing is important. Each bite is chewed thirty to fifty times and well ingested. The diet for the following days is a light meal with spelled, fruit and vegetables. In the first week, animals are not used.

Base fasting

Base fasting means avoiding foods that are acidically metabolized in the body. Fruit and vegetables, raw or cooked, herbs, mushrooms, seeds and kernels, seedlings, almonds, walnuts, cedar nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios are permitted. For example, breakfast consists of steamed fruit, refined with nuts and seeds. At lunchtime, a colorful salad or various steamed vegetables are served on the table, preferably together with seedlings. Raw vegetables and raw fruit as well as fruit and vegetable juices are only allowed until around 2 p.m. Dinner must be easy to digest, for example in the form of a vegetable soup. Also with this type of fasting, the hydration is important, at least 2.5 liters of still water and / or herbal tea are recommended here.

Colon cleansing, which most people fear, is also recommended here as an enema with lukewarm water.

Basen fasting, as the name suggests, focuses on the basic, as too much acidic food damages the body and a variety of symptoms such as headache, tension, fatigue, but also chronic diseases can develop from it.

Juice fasting

The body is also cleaned of slags during juice fasting. The various juices provide the organism with many vitamins and trace elements. Juice fasting is one of the gentler forms of fasting. The diet consists exclusively of liquids - freshly squeezed juices or organic juices from the health food store or health food store. The menu may be expanded with clear vegetable broth. Make sure you have enough still water or herbal tea. This type of fasting also requires relief days, bowel movements and build-up days.

Juice fasting counteracts acidity and slightly lowers blood pressure, which means that the heart and circulation are relieved. Slags are also flushed out of the body. The difference to other forms of fasting is the "filling" of the body with a lot of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. That really makes you fit.

Mayr fasting

Mayr fasting is also known as a milk and bread cure. The cure traditionally begins with a tea fast, for seven to fourteen days. During this time, solid food is dispensed with, a vegetable broth at lunchtime and otherwise only tea. Then the milk and bread cure begins. This lasts between two and four weeks. The daily morning intake of epsom salt and an abdominal massage ensure regular bowel emptying. For breakfast and also for lunch, stale white flour or spelled rolls are chewed well, together with milk, which is taken in spoons. Only tea is allowed in the evening, also by the spoon.

The gastrointestinal tract largely comes to rest even with this form of fasting. For this reason, for example, whole grain rolls should not be used, as they would stimulate the intestine too much. The Mayr cure is not carried out at home, but in special clinics.

Individual fasting days

Not everyone wants and can fast for days. However, if you still want to relieve your body from time to time, you fast for a day, for example once a week or only once a month. For fasting days, juice fasting or eating fruits and vegetables is recommended. Coffee and luxury foods are avoided on these special days. As with all fasting cures, enough still water or herbal tea is drunk. Provoked bowel movements are not necessary. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


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