The term “fasting” conjures up different meanings to different people. To some, it holds a spiritual significance whether they be Jews, Christians, Hindus or Muslims. To others, it is done on a purely physical level, the main benefit being that of healing, where the body is allowed to rest and rehabilitate, thereby flushing out toxic wastes which have been allowed to accumulate. In fact, fasting has often been called the single greatest natural healing therapy. If you are doing it for both reasons, then the benefits are multiple..
In order to maximise the health benefits, below are some pointers for otherwise healthy folks. Bear in mind that, in the context of medical conditions like diabetes, kidney or heart failure, advice from your care-giver is important for the relevant dietary modifications.
- Before commencing the fast, consume slow digesting foods including fibre-containing foods, rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, wholemeal bread,capati,naan,etc. (they are also called complex carbohydrates).
- When breaking the fast , dates are an excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium to replace that lost during fasting.
- Try to drink as much water or fruit juices as possible in the hours before commencing the fast so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.This helps to prevent dizziness in the afternoon due to low blood pressure as a result of dehydration.
- When about to start the fast, one should minimise fast-digesting foods, like those that contain sugar, white flour, etc (called refined carbohydrates). This may cause ‘rebound hypoglycemia’ and cause a feeling of hunger and giddiness a few hours after.
- Avoid excessive fried and fatty foods which will create indigestion and ‘wind’.
- Don’t take too much tea or coffee when commencing the fast. They make you pass more urine, taking with it valuable mineral salts (that your body would need during the day) in addition to causing dehydration.
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