Rejuvenating power of spring

Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes a season of renewal and new beginnings. As the days get longer and the weather gets milder, we naturally feel the desire to revamp our lifestyles, both physically and spiritually. Spring is the perfect time to embark on a journey of rejuvenation and embrace new beginnings. One powerful way to achieve this is through the practice of fasting.



Fasting is more than just about controlling our food intake, but also about tapping into the symbolic power that food and drink hold in our lives. Many religious traditions embrace fasting as a way to reflect, purify, and grow spiritually. For example, Christians observe Lent, a period of fasting and self-reflection leading up to Easter. Likewise, Muslims partake in the holy month of Ramadan, where fasting and intense spiritual devotion take center stage. Thus, fasting gives an opportunity to cleanse not only our bodies but also our minds and souls.

But what exactly is fasting, and how does it differ from starvation? Fasting is a deliberate choice to limit or abstain from food and drink for a specific period of time, practiced for religious, spiritual, or health reasons. It's important to note that fasting is not the same as starving yourself, which can be harmful and detrimental to your health.

The health benefits of fasting

Beyond its spiritual significance, fasting has been scientifically proven to offer numerous health benefits. It can aid in weight loss, slow down the signs of aging, and improve your overall well-being. Fasting also has a positive impact on your nervous and endocrine systems, helping your body adapt to changes. It can sharpen your brain function, boost your metabolism, and even protect against certain diseases and injuries.

What are the different types of fasting?

There are different types of fasting, such as Intermittent Fasting (IF), Prolonged Fasting (PF), and Alternate Day Fasting (ADF). Each type has its own unique benefits and effects on your cellular processes and diseases. For instance, IF involves fasting for 16 to 48 hours (mostly either one to two weekly fasting days or part day fasts, like the 16:8 fast) , while PF lasts for two or more days with at least a week between cycles.

Research has also shown that modified diets during fasting periods can have a positive impact on your health. Take, for example, the traditional Mediterranean diet followed by Greek Orthodox Christians in Crete. During fasting, they consume more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains, while reducing their intake of meat, dairy, and eggs. This shift towards a plant-based diet lowers the risk of heart problems, obesity, and certain cancers.

What happens to your body when fasting?

But let's dive deeper into what happens inside your body during fasting and how it contributes to cellular renewal. Have you ever wondered how your body maintains itself, even at the microscopic level? Enter autophagy, a fascinating process that plays a crucial role in keeping your cells healthy and vibrant.

Autophagy, derived from the Greek words meaning "self-eating," is essentially your body's way of cleaning house. It's a natural process where cells remove and recycle damaged or unnecessary components to keep everything running smoothly. Think of it as a cellular spring cleaning!

Autophagy isn't just a cool party trick your cells can do; it's essential for your overall health and disease prevention. When autophagy is disrupted, toxic substances can build up, cellular function is impaired, and you become more susceptible to various health issues.

As we age, our body's autophagy machinery may become less efficient, leading to a decline in cellular quality control. This decline has been linked to age-related diseases and the overall aging process itself. However, by understanding and supporting autophagy, we can potentially promote healthy aging and longevity.

The good news is that you can naturally boost autophagy through simple lifestyle choices. Intermittent fasting, exercise, and maintaining a balanced diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients can all support this cellular renewal process. By doing so, you can keep your cellular cleanup crew in top shape, promoting vitality and a sense of well-being.

The benefits of fasting: Is it suitable for everyone?

To summarise, fasting holds many health benefits including: 

  • reduced risk of certain cancers
  • reduced risk of heart disease
  • enhanced brain functions
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • increased longevity and disease prevention 

Is fasting suitable for everybody? Well, it can be safe and beneficial for many people, but there are certain groups who should avoid it:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women. Fasting during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can deprive both the mother and the baby of essential nutrients needed for growth and development.
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions. People with diabetes, eating disorders, or other medical conditions that require regular and consistent food intake should consult with a healthcare professional before fasting.
  • Children and adolescents. Fasting may interfere with normal growth and development in children and adolescents and should be avoided without medical supervision.
  • Those with a history of disordered eating. Fasting may trigger or exacerbate disordered eating behaviours and should be approached with caution in individuals with a history of eating disorders.
  • People on certain medications. Some medications may require food intake to be taken properly, and fasting may interfere with their effectiveness or safety.

Perimenopausal women and fasting

Another group which should be supervised by healthcare professional during fasting are perimenopausal women. This is due to:

  • Hormonal imbalances. Fasting can further disrupt hormonal balance in women already experiencing fluctuations during perimenopause. This may exacerbate symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, and fatigue.
  • Bone health. Perimenopausal women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis due to declining estrogen levels. Prolonged or severe fasting may further exacerbate this risk by depriving the body of essential nutrients needed for bone health, such as calcium and vitamin D.
  • Metabolic changes. Perimenopause is often associated with changes in metabolism and weight gain. Fasting may affect metabolism differently in perimenopausal women compared to younger individuals, potentially leading to metabolic issues or further weight gain.
  • Blood sugar regulation. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels are common during perimenopause, and fasting may exacerbate these fluctuations, leading to symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, and irritability.

Before embarking on a fasting regimen, individuals should consult with a healthcare professional, especially if they have underlying medical conditions or concerns about how fasting may affect their health. By understanding the potential risks and considerations associated with fasting, individuals can make informed decisions about whether fasting is right for them and how to approach it safely and effectively.

If you're curious about integrating fasting into your lifestyle or want to learn more about supporting autophagy, don't hesitate to reach out to me. 

I will help you to embark on this journey of rejuvenation and to unlock the transformative power of fasting, and cellular renewal in your life. Embrace this season of renewal and discover a healthier, more vibrant you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
London, Greater London, E2
Written by Urszula Lipinska, DipION, mBANT, rCNHC
London, Greater London, E2

I'm Ula, a registered Nutritional Therapist.
At my practice, I specialize in helping clients uncover the underlying causes of their weight and digestive concerns.
Over the past 8 years, I've dedicated myself to empowering primarily women to both feel and look their best.

Show comments

Find the right nutritionist for you

All nutrition professionals are verified

All nutrition professionals are verified