Fast When You are Under the Weather

From the March 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times, here is Dr. Fuhrman’s seventh secret to longevity:

Viral infections such as colds and influenza can be seen as life-extension opportunities. These viruses help the body with internal housecleaning and create an excitation of the body’s powers of elimination. Viral infections are opportunities for the body to reduce cellular debris and cellular congestion. In that sense, they can be seen as having anti-aging benefits.

As we produce mucus and develop a fever, we expunge not just virions and dead cells, but other cellular debris and cellular toxins. The body has the innate intelligence and power to heal itself from within, if not hampered. We assist this renewal by thorough rest, which includes not eating much or not eating at all.

We naturally lose our appetite when we are ill. This is Nature’s way of telling us when we are not equipped to digest food efficiently. The loss of appetite when we catch a virus has been labeled “the anoxia of infection,” and the loss of desire to eat when sick should be heeded. Fasting when ill speeds recovery, reduces mucus production, and activates the immune system’s defenses to rapidly and dramatically eliminate the viral load.

Periodic fasting has been shown to increase life span in all species of animals, and this has been seen even when the caloric intake over time was not lowered. When you are sick is the perfect opportunity to partake in a short fast. Stay home, drink pure water, rest. and fast; you can turn the illness into a longevity opportunity.

Here's more from this DiseaseProof miniseries:

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K's mom - February 26, 2007 12:41 PM

Hi, I've been a silent reader of your blog for a long time now and love your philosophy. I have to say this particular post is not something I agree with and I'd appreciate if you would throw some more light on your statement: the loss of desire to eat when sick should be heeded.
Doesn't that weaken your body and reduce its fighting power? Recently, my toddler, who rarely gets sick, was down with a severe bout of viral congestion and ear infection. I usually don't administer any medication - (Tylenol), and I heed to his body signals, and let his hunger be the guide. But over the course of the next two days, he'd lost all his strength and was so weak that he would slump at every given chance. We forcefed him and it was only after that that he started to at least remain active through the rest of the sickness. The congestion lasted several more days, but it seemed like he had the strength to fight back only with food in his system. Which is what brings me to question your point of view...

Shuying - July 9, 2009 11:45 AM

Hi Dr Fuhrman, finally, a doctor that's saying the right thing. I am so happy to discover your blog! I'm a firm believer on the positive effects of fasting, having gone thru 2 short fasts (3-4days) before. When I read this I just went "YES EXACTLY! What took so long for a doctor to say this?!"

I hate it that I have to visit a doctor because I would need to produce a medical certificate at work, when all I really want is to fast and stay at home and rest (I throw the medicine away, despite my parent's nagging to pop a pill whenever im unwell). I wished the people ard me were as enlightened as you!

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