Fasting is an important part of Hindu culture. Not only it detoxifies souls as believed in some cultures but it detoxifies your body too.
Fasting is not about staving your body, here are the Health benefits and tips on what care should be taken while fasting.
1. Fasting Helps Weight Loss
Fasting and starving are too different things. If done safely it is good way to lose weight as many studies have shown that intermittent fasting – fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours – allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting.
Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of sugar. Many athletes now use fasting as means to hitting low body fat percentages for competitions.
2. Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, allowing you to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better than if you didn’t fast. A study showed that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood.
3. Fasting helps Speeds Up The Metabolism
If your digestion is poor, this can effect your ability to metabolise food and burn fat. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.
4. Fasting Promotes Longevity
The less you eat the longer you will live, interesting right? Yes Studies have shown the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets. However, we don’t need to live amongst a foreign community to reap the benefits of fasting. One of the primary effects of ageing is a slower metabolism, the younger your body is, the faster and more efficient your metabolism. The less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system.
5. Fasting Improves Hunger
Just think about this, can you actually experience real hunger if you eat a meal every 3-4 hours? Of course you can’t. In fact, to experience the true nature of hunger, this would take anything from 12 to even 24 hours.
Fasting helps to regulate the hormones in your body so that you experience what true hunger is. We know that obese individuals do not receive the correct signals to let them know they are full due excessive eating patterns.
Think of fasting as a reset button: the longer you fast, the more your body can regulate itself to release the correct hormones, so that you can experience what real hunger is. Not to mention, when your hormones are working correctly, you get full quicker.
6. Fasting Improves Your Eating Patterns
Fasting can be a helpful practice for those who suffer with binge eating disorders, and for those who find it difficult to establish a correct eating pattern due to work and other priorities.
With intermittent fasting going all afternoon without a meal is okay and it can allow you to eat at a set time that fits your lifestyle. Also, for anyone who wants to prevent binge eating, you can establish a set time in where you allow yourself to eat your daily amount of calories in one sitting, and then not eat till the following day.
7. Fasting Contributes To Self-Enlightenment
Fasting has helped many people feel more connected to life during the practices reading, meditation, yoga and martial arts etc. With no food in the digestive system, this makes room for more energy in the body – the digestive is one of the most energy absorbing systems in the body.
Fasting for self-enlightenment, allows us to feel better both consciously and physically. With a lighter body and a clearer mind we become more aware and grateful for the things around us.
8. Fasting Helps Clear The Skin And Prevent Acne
Fasting can help clear the skin because with the body temporarily freed from digestion, it’s able to focus its regenerative energies on other systems.
Not eating anything for just one day has shown to help the body clean up the toxins and regulate the functioning of other organs of the body like liver, kidneys and other parts.
How to prepare for a One day fast?
Those who are experienced in fasting do not need any external advice, as they have studied the reactions of their own body during the fasting period. A one-day fast is pretty simple for them. But for beginners, a little more care is required.
Beginners should choose a day that is stress free, with relatively less activities planned. Do not consider any heavy work or excessive travel during that day. Light activities, like reading, slow yoga movements, working on your computer, walking in the woods, meditation, watching television, driving short distances, etc., are acceptable. But avoid stressful activities, like heavy exercises, going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, running long distances, etc., as these consume a lot of calories and will make you unnecessarily hungry.
A normal human body can go for weeks without food. Hence, a one-day fast is relatively easy to do. Once one starts doing it, one will experience great health benefits. Those with serious medical conditions can also fast under the supervision of an expert. If one has a serious illness, it’s important to consult a physician first before attempting to fast.
How to do a One-day (24-hour) Fast?
In a one-day fast, one must drink only water for 24 hours. No solid food or other liquids that contain nutrition (like fruit juice, milk, etc.) are allowed. Simple pure mineral water is the best. One can also use boiled and cooled water. Do not add anything in the water during boiling. One may drink about 1 ½ liters to 3 liters of plain water in one full day, according to ones capacity. There is no harm in drinking even more, if need be.
The best time to start the fast is during early morning. After getting up from bed and brushing the teeth, drink about two glasses of water. This will also help with bowel movements. The rest of the day, one can drink water any time. There is no restriction on the quantity of water to drink each time or the number of times to consume water. Continue this for a whole day, till the next day morning.
Body reactions during a One-day (24-Hour) fast
During the one day fast, one will notice a few reactions in the body, which is considered normal. As a habit, the body is used to consuming food many times a day. When there is sudden lack of food intake, one may feel weakness, dizziness, nausea, etc. There may be also a drop in blood pressure and slight headaches. One need not get frightened by these reactions. These are quite normal during a one-day fast. Those who fast regularly won’t even feel these symptoms. But beginners should just take rest or lie down whenever these symptoms become intense.
One may even feel a sudden bout of hunger. Just take one or two glasses of water to dilute the gastric secretions. Then lie down and take rest. The hunger should go away in a short time.
How to break a One-day (24-Hour)fast?
Learning how to break a fast is very important. During the fasting period, there is hardly any digestive activity. One should be gentle on the stomach when breaking the fast. Do not overload the stomach. The best way to break a fast is with lime juice or orange juice.Half a spoon of honey may also be added to the juice. If needed, even fruits can be taken, as they are easy to digest. Boiled vegetables are also fine. Use little or no spice with vegetables as it can irritate the linings of the stomach.
The second meal of the day can be normal.
Benefits of a One-day (24-Hour) fast
- A one-day fast (once every week) will give tremendous health benefits. Our digestive system works without any rest, day and night. A fast will give the much needed rest to the entire digestive system to repair and heal itself. The human body has self healing abilities. Even animals instinctively take to fasting when they are sick. Animals are guided by their natural instincts, while as humans we tend to ignore them, and thus aggravate our sickness.
- It gives improved energy and vigor.
- It removes many mental blocks and gives clarity of mind.
- It eliminates toxins from the body and can go a long way to prevent future illnesses.
- It can give slight improvements in the eye sight, though this effect is seen more during long term fasts.
- Fasting can improve immunity and has anti-aging benefits.
- It gives an overall sense of well being.
- Fasting is the easiest way to lose weight. Those who do intermittent one day water fasts can benefit more by integrating yoga into their lifestyle. See articles – Obesity and Yoga Management & Pranayama for Weight Loss.
- One-day fasts have been followed, for thousands of years, for their spiritual benefits. Hindus follow the fast on ‘Pradosham’ days, which come on the 13th day of the lunar cycle (‘Triyodashi’). It is said to remove sins or bad karma, which limits our life energies. ‘Ekadashi’ fasting (on the 11th day of lunar cycle) is done by worshippers of Vishnu. Some fast on Saturdays to alleviate the problems due to Saturn in their planetary chart, while some fast on Tuesdays to remove problems due to afflicted Mars. Fasting is an ancient spiritual practice known to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and almost all known religious faiths throughout the world. Fasting gives inner strength and confidence. It makes one feel that one is the spirit and is not limited to the body alone.
Reference : lifehack ,yogicwayoflife
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