Fasting is when an individual abstains from food and or drink or abstains from certain foods for a period of time. Various religious groups fast for a closeness with their maker as well as having some connection and self-discipline.Other individuals also fast for personal reasons.
Islam, Catholics, Anglicans, Charismatic, Methodist, Mormons, Hinduism, Orthodox, Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, Sikhism, among many other religions preach about fasting for many reasons. This period Muslims are fasting, what a good reason to discuss some of the benefits of fasting while creating some awareness and educating all individuals.
Some health benefits of fasting
- Fasting has been described as a good means of cleansing and detoxifying the body. The body does some personal cleaning leading to a form of revitalization and having new energy.
- Some individuals have used fasting to lose weight. I would advise individuals to speak to a nutritionist or a medical doctor who can serve as a guide before embarking on this particular journey. Fasting for losing weight can always backfire because there will always be an issue of sustainability.Moreover to be able to lose weight effectively one needs all the required nutrients and exercise.
- There has been some reported emotional benefits of fasting which have led to mental clarity, flexibility,self-enlightenment as well as allowing people time to self-discover themselves.
- Fasting has also being linked with skin health by clearing the skin and reducing acne and eczema in some people. This is because the body stops the digestive process and concentrates on other processes.
- Addictions like smoking and alcohol can also be controlled during fasting. This helps reduce the risk of some chronic disease hence making the individual healthier.
- With fasting, aside learning how to be self-disciplined when it comes to eating every now and then, the hormones of the body are better regulated. This helps individuals to be able to learn when they are truly hungry and avoid over eating. This is good for regulating ones eating pattern.
- Fasting advocates have used it to treat stress and depression among certain people while they have reported on its ability to treat heart disease, control insulin and arthritis.
- Longer life has also being associated with fasting since some studies have shown mice living longer when fed on a lower calorie diet. Eating healthy is mandatory to reap these benefits. It is always advisable that people who fast are on a nutritionally balanced meal before and after fasting.
Intermittent fasting is popular now and it’s advocates have boasted about it being easier than dieting.
People who should not be fasting/ need counseling before a fast
Despite the myriad of benefits that fasting could give certain individuals, others with some health conditions are not advised to fast. They are admonished to speak to their doctors or a dietitian before fasting. Some of these individuals are pregnant and breastfeeding women, people who are malnourished, children, diabetics, the elderly, people with renal diseases as well as those who plan to fast for a very long time.
Fasting for a longer period has being associated with dehydration, headaches, dizziness, stress, sleep disruption and heartburn. It is good to drink lots of water during fasting.
Happy Ramadan to all Muslims, I hope you reap all the benefits associated with fasting during this period as well.