Fasting is usually considered a denial or deprivation of food. But do you know exactly what fasting is? Why it carries a lot of importance in our traditions?
Here is a perfect blog that will help you know everything about fasting, from what it is, how to keep it, how to end it, and much more.
What is Fasting?
Fasting Is The First Principle Of Medicine
It would be wrong to define fasting as a complete deprivation of food. Fasting can be regarded as cleansing the system with full awareness of food, breath, thoughts, and all sensory experiences. Fasting is when you avoid all the things that can harm your digestive system and wisely choose your diet according to your own body.
Fasting will bring health and happiness to your mind and body. According to Ayurveda, fasting is about eating a cleaner, lighter, and more appropriate diet according to your body. A lack of knowledge about fasting can disturb your mind and body. Thus it is necessary to have appropriate knowledge that will help you to grow better in life.
Why is fasting important?
Following a proper fasting process will regulate the Agni that is responsible for proper digestion. Proper fasting leaves your body with enormous benefits. Let us have a look at the benefits of Fasting:
1. Promotes Better Health
Several studies show that fasting can help to decrease the level of inflammation and hence promotes better health. While acute inflammation is a common process in the body, chronic inflammation can negatively impact our health.
Few studies believe fasting could decrease the several makers of inflammation and can be used to treat inflammatory conditions such as sclerosis.
2. Improves Blood Pressure
There are around 31% of deaths happen due to heart disease. Switching to a diet and lifestyle can help you immensely reduce heart problems’ risk. Incorporating fasting into your diet is the best thing you can do for your heart health.
Try to keep alternate fasting; it is effective to reduce cholesterol and to lower blood pressure, and triglycerides.
3. Prevents Neurodegenerative disorders
One would be astonished to know that fasting has a powerful impact on brain health. Fasting protects the brain’s health and also enhances cognitive functions. As fasting helps to relieve inflammation, thus aiding in preventing neurodegenerative disorders.
Particular studies on Alzheimer’s also say that fasting can help to control the situation of Alzheimer’s.
4. Boosts Metabolism
When fasting, you are controlling your body from taking unnecessary calories. Thus, it will help you to lose weight over time. A study proves that short-term fasting improves metabolism that helps in weight loss.
Any study shows that fasting helps reduce fat, especially belly fat, compared to calorie restriction.
5. Increases Muscle Strength
HGH(Human Growth Hormone) is a protein hormone responsible for weight loss, muscle strength, and increased metabolism. A study shows that fasting for 24 hours can help in increasing the level of HGH Levels.
It also helps maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day.
Types of Fasting
There are different fasting methods; choose the one that can fit your lifestyle. You can always experiment with different types of fasting and see what works for you.
It involves drinking only water for a set amount of time.
It entails drinking only fruits or vegetable juice for a period of time.
Intake is completely restricted for a few hours, and a normal diet is resumed.
It is fasting, where certain processed foods are restricted from a diet for a particular time.
It is fasting, where calories are restricted for a few days every week.
For effective fasting, follow these:
1. Consider The Doshas
One should keep short and regular fasting according to Ayurveda. You can fast once a week, once a month, or during the junction of the season. One must not keep extended fasting as it will weaken your digestion and create a disconnection between your mind and body. Sometimes you may enter into a problem that will take months to recover.
You can start your fast on fruits and vegetables that are easy to digest or on Khichari, which will allow your digestive system to rest and help you detox. There are three Doshas you must consider:
Fasting For Vata- When you have Vata imbalance, you are predominated by light, cold, dry, rough, clear, and subtle air elements. Due to these conditions, one should never water fast or keep fast for more than two days. You can enjoy warming teas with ginger and salt or a fennel tea.
Fasting For Pitta- If you are a Pitta dominant and healthy, then you can fast on juices of fruits and vegetables. A pitta should not keep fast alone on the water. Also, if you get irritable on fasting, it is better to fast on Khichari or fennel tea.
Fasting For Kapha- If you are Kapha dominant and healthy, you can keep fast more regularly. Keep fast on hot water, cranberry juice, lemon, and honey. It is good for Kaphas to keep fast once a week.
2. Choosing The Best Time
It is important to choose an appropriate time to fast. For example, if you wake up tired and dull with a coating on your tongue, it is a good time to fast for your body. Also, if you notice any indigestion, then you can consider fasting. Try to be on water fasting until your digestive system gets restored.
Also, if you are feeling heavy and fatigued, consider fasting to restore your energy. Look for spiritual reasons to keep fast for your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
3. Eating Mindfully
A fast gets affected by what you eat in pre and post-fasting. It is important to eat mindfully in both conditions. What you eat pre-fast will substantially impact your metabolic events; thus, choose your pre-fast meal wisely.
The food should be fresh, light, hot, and comfortable for the body. Avoid heavy and oil-based meals for pre and post-fasting. According to Ayurveda, one can consume a rice-based porridge after fasting. It is the best way to keep your body light and healthy after prolonged fasting.
4. Pay Attention To What Your Body Says
According to Ayurveda, a fast should make you feel the following:
- The proper expelling of urine, stools, and flatulence.
- Ease in the respiratory tract.
- Immense hunger and thirst.
- Absence of weakness in mind and body.
You must understand what your body is indicating and work according to it. If you can feel the above in your body, then your body is comfortable with the fast and the way you are observing the fast.
How To End The Fast
How to start the fast is equally important as how to end the fast. Usually, people ignore how to end the fast. If you are on water fasting, make sure you take a light, liquid cereal meal for breakfast. Choose a diet that is easy to digest for lunch. Do not stress your digestion system otherwise, and you will end up being worse than being good to yourself. Watch what you eat even after fasting.
When Not To Fast
If you are falling under the following conditions, then do not fast:
- If you are going through any medical conditions that do not allow fasting.
- If you are too young, elderly, weak, or pregnant.
- Avoid fasting during menstruation.
- If you are underweight or undernourished.
- If you are breastfeeding.
General Tips For A Successful Fasting
- Choose the length of your fast, and you should not feel weakness in your mind or body.
- A tea of cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds will work wonders for your digestion system.
- You can also consume Triphala, which aids in the detoxification of the body.
- Sometimes you may feel headaches during fasting, but that is a good sign as your body is purifying; it goes off soon. But if the headache continues, you can discontinue your fast.
- You may feel weak, but you will be more energetic on the other day due to body cleansing.
- Keep your body time to rest and lessen your physical activities on the day of fasting.
The Bottom Line
Fasting is not only for your body but for your soul.
If you consider adding fasting to your daily routine, it is important to know your unique strengths and challenges. Once you start understanding your body based on what fast is good for you, you will benefit enormously. With time, you will understand when to fast and for how long you can fast.
Hope now you know that fasting is not about refraining from food but understanding what your body needs and always keeping you mentally and physically at peace. Fasting will help you to remove all the toxins by clearing all the blocked channels with us. Maintain your health and vitality by following the correct fasting process with amazing tips. Try to plan your fast, and your body and mind will work accordingly.