Fasting for Mental Health: A Viable Option?
We live in a day and age where mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are growing at alarming rates. Fasting for mental health is a winning combination! Let’s further explore…
According to the CDC:
- Between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of American adults aged 20 and over had depression in any 2 week period.1
- Women were almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression (10.4% and 5.5% respectively).1
- Nearly 80% of adults with depression and anxiety said it affected their work, home and/or social life.1
It’s not just adults who deal with depression and anxiety.
Children aged 3-17 are being affected as well. In another report by the CDC:
- 8% of children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADHD)2
- 3% have anxiety2
- 2.1% are diagnosed as having depression2
Why are so many people of all ages struggling with depression and anxiety? I believe these problems are just a symptom: your body is trying to tell you something! Something is wrong and it needs to be addressed. Here is where fasting for mental health comes into play.
Unfortunately, our society loves to focus on symptoms. Instead of trying to find the root cause of the problem, the doctor will simply prescribe medicines that actually suppress those symptoms. In other words, they offer a short term fix instead of a long term solution.
This is a tremendous mistake by our medical profession. Instead of actually helping people, they’d rather prescribe antidepressants and other medications that do nothing to actually treat what’s causing these health issues in the first place. However, fasting for mental health may be beneficial.
We have become a pill popping society. If something ails us, we’re told to take a pill, and take it again when the symptoms return. The numbers don’t lie: the use of antidepressants has increased 400% since 2005, and more than 60% of Americans have taken antidepressants for two years of more.3
This is absolutely unacceptable.
Instead of reaching for a medication first, it’s time to get to the root cause of the issue. One way to do that is by fixing the cell. Remember: If you don’t detox the cell, you will never get well.
Fasting for Mental Health: A Link Between Food and Depression?
There are many possible reasons for depression and anxiety, but one potential cause that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the food we eat. For example, studies indicate there may be a link between gluten and depression:
- Gluten allergies may cause malabsorption, which is the inability to properly absorb nutrients. As a result, brain functions may be compromised.
- A study published by Ailmentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics believes gluten might affect the amount of tryptophan and serotonin in the body, which gives feelings of happiness.4
- The same study discovered that gluten ingestion was associated with higher depression symptoms in test subjects compared to subjects taking a placebo.4
Are you suffering from depression and anxiety? Take a good look at the foods you eat.
The following foods contain gluten:
|Sauces and gravies||Traditional soy sauce|
|Noodles||Egg noodles, udon soba, chow mein, ramen|
|Pasta||Couscous, dumplings, raviolis, gnocchi|
|Crackers||Graham crackers, pretzels, goldfish|
|Cereal and granola||Corn flakes|
|Breads and pastries||Croissants, pita, naan, bagels, flatbreads, cornbread,
potato bread, muffins, donuts, rolls
|Baked Goods||Pie crust, cakes, cookies, brownies|
|Breakfast foods||Pancakes, crepes, biscuits, waffles, french toast|
|Breading and coating mixes||Breadcrumbs|
|Beer and malt beverages||Fermented with wheat and barley|
Knowing the many sources of gluten is the first step in removing this potentially harmful ingredient from you diet. Doing so could be key in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as other mental health issues.
This is where fasting for mental health comes into play.
Fasting for Mental Health: A Powerful Combination
Before I tell people to fast, it’s important that I explain why they should do it. Many of the foods we eat today are loaded with sugars, preservatives, food colorings, and other additives like gluten as described above. In addition to being a significant factor of health issues such as obesity and autoimmune disorders, these ingredients are making us sick in ways people never imagined just 30 years ago.
How many people know fasting is the oldest health modality known to man? It’s done by every religious practice and is discussed even in early writing history. Fasting doesn’t just heal someone physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well.
When we intermittent fast, we aren’t eating for 14 hours or more. This means we aren’t eating foods that could be making us sick in the first place, and giving our bodies the opportunity to heal itself naturally from the inside out.
Eating harmful ingredients like gluten affects our bodies’ ability to produce tryptophan and serotonin. Instead of producing these “feel good” chemicals, they are replaced with “bad” chemicals that could increase levels of depression and anxiety and other mental health issues.
In addition to removing toxins, fasting allows the body to eliminate bad cells from the body through the process of autophagy. Autophagy means the body will always eat the bad cells and tissues for energy before using the good ones.
Bad cells are not able to adapt to using fat for energy, so they begin to die off and become food for the body. This is why fasting and mental health is such a powerful combination.
Unlike many traditional medicines, which suppresses symptoms of anxiety and depression, fasting goes directly to the source, which means attacking those bad cells that may be linked to mental health issues. This is the foundation of healthy living and Cellular Healing and Detox.
There are many studies that tout the benefits of fasting on our mental health:
- A study on aging men found that those on a Fasting and Calorie Restriction (FCR) dietary regimen saw improvement in mood states and nutritional status.5
- Studies on middle aged rats found that intermittent fasting combined with Ayurvedic herbs reduced anxiety via anti-inflammatory pathways.7
In 2014, $14.51 billion was spent on antidepressants, with $16.80 billion expected to be sold by 2020. Unlike medicine, fasting costs nothing, and doesn’t have the harmful side effects that many medicines have.
Many people are hesitant to try intermittent fasting for mental health, because they are not used to eating for an extended period of time. However, those feelings of doubt are quickly diminished when they learn of the amazing health benefits.
Give intermittent fasting for mental health a try. Your body will thank you!
1Prevalence of Depression Among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2013–2016.https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db303.htm
2Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
3Addiction to Antidepressants. https://www.addictioncenter.com/stimulants/antidepressants/
4Peters SL, e. (2018). Randomised clinical trial: gluten may cause depression in subjects with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity – an exploratory clinical study. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24689456 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
5Hussin NM, e. (2018). Efficacy of fasting and calorie restriction (FCR) on mood and depression among ageing men. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24097021 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
6Towers, A., Oelschlager, M., Patel, J., Gainey, S., McCusker, R. and Freund, G. (2018). Acute fasting inhibits central caspase-1 activity reducing anxiety-like behavior and increasing novel object and object location recognition.
7Singh, H., Kaur, T., Manchanda, S. and Kaur, G. (2018). Intermittent fasting combined with supplementation with Ayurvedic herbs reduces anxiety in middle aged female rats by anti-inflammatory pathways.